Impact of voice search on SEO in 2020



Over the years, digital marketing has evolved and newer technologies are still being added that shift the boundaries of the business. One technology that has caused widespread adoption and brought about a huge difference in digital marketing is Voice Search.


As a consequence, it has affected SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to a great extent and if you want to be ahead of your competitors, you will have to follow best SEO practices. Voice search is all set to disrupt SEO conventions and as a business owner, you will have to stay informed of all the changes and plans accordingly.


Within a short span of time, voice recognition technology has significantly improved and Google claims 95 percent accuracy.


According to Comscore’s media analytics half of all online searches will be made through voice by 2020, Gartner predicts that 30% of the searches will be made on devices without a screen. All this suggests that voice search is set to see an enormous rise in the coming years.


A little history behind Voice Search

It all started in 2010 when IBM’s Watson paved the way for voice technology devices. The powerful question-answer computer system stunned the world with its super-intelligent thinking and a speaking robot that could beat Trivia grandmasters on the quiz show, “Jeopardy”. In 2011, Google launched its Voice Search and Apple launched its first personal assistant, Siri for iPhone 4S.


This was followed by Cortana from Microsoft and Amazon Echo (voice speaker powered by a personal assistant, Alexa). In 2016, Google Assistant was launched along with smart speaker Google Home. Other digital assistants include Alice from Yandex and AliGene from Alibaba.


Impact of voice on SEO


1. Keyword length:

The queries in voice search are longer than three or four keyword searches common to graphical user interfaces(GUI). According to Backlinko, currently, voice search averages 29 words in length.


Therefore, SEO professionals will have to adjust by incorporating long-tail keywords in their SEO practices. An added benefit of including long-tail keyword is the probability of higher conversion.

2. Question words

Voice searches will include more question words such as who, when, where, which and how, that are usually not used in written searches. Professionals need to make sure to deliver concise and relevant answers to voice queries and at the same time differentiate between simple and comprehensive answers.


Queries that have short answers usually won’t generate traffic to a website as Google provides the required answers in the form of featured search snippets.


According to SeoClarity, 20% of voice searches include just 25 keywords such as make, do, can, new, easy, recipes, types, homes, etc. Marketers can include these keywords in their SEO strategies and optimize content and show user intent to a higher degree.


3. Language convenience

With advanced voice recognition systems, voice technology adapts everyday language use which enables users to give commands as if speaking to a human. Additionally, emerging technologies are looking to improve user experience in areas of potential confusion.


4. Local Search

Local search has become increasingly popular with the use of voice technology. Users are likely to search locally three times more when searching by voice.


According to a survey, 58% of consumers use voice search to find local businesses while 46% use voice technology to find information about local businesses daily. Marketers should adapt to this change and optimize for “near me” queries.


5. Ecommerce

Voice search has a significant impact on eCommerce as users are more likely to use voice search to make purchases. According to a survey, 40% of millennials use voice assistants before making online purchases and 62% of owners of voice speakers make a purchase through their virtual assistant. Therefore, you must optimize digital assistants to be at the top of your marketing game.


6. Search Engine Result Pages(SERPs)

Around 75% of voice search results can rank in the first three positions in SERPs. These searches are answered by Rich Answer Boxes.


Featured snippets make up for about 30% of Google queries. Snippets are extracts from any websites and brands are given more value in voice search as well as GUI searches. To be featured in snippets, brands need to be on the first page rather than position zero.


Tips to adapt to voice search

With voice technology impacting SEO significantly, here are a few tips that will help you adapt accordingly.


  • Make sure that your website images are optimized, response time is reduced, files are compressed and the website is fully responsive as Google Voice prioritizes quick-loading websites.

  • Focus on natural language and optimize content with long-tail keywords that reflect popular queries used in voice search

  • To optimize content for featured snippets include identifiable extracts to be featured and use H-Tags and bullet points to make it easier for Google to read your content.

  • Include structured data and schema markup on your website as they give more information about a brand and drive traffic. They also help pages appear in rich snippets and thereby increase chances of being shown first in voice searches.

  • Use Google My Business to provide your brand’s information in local business and improve your chances of appearing in local searches

  • Include high-quality links to increase domain authority and improve search rankings

To wrap up

Given the popularity of the use of voice in searches, its impact on SEO is certain. Businesses will have to adapt to the changes to reap the benefits in years to come.


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