While there are widely differing estimates by online experts of the popularity of voice search that is in a very nascent stage today, the developments so far have made it very clear that a large part of our involvement with the Internet may well be without the conventional screen, keyboard, and mouse Voice search technology has already demonstrated to us how users can browse websites and access information without actually browsing the websites in a conventional way on desktops and mobiles. The way this new technology is finding acceptance with users and the growing popularity of digital voice assistants of various hues, it is already evident that information search and brand building is more than likely to undergo radical changes, which translate to new challenges and opportunities for SEO practitioners. Voice Search Explained Voice search is simply a method of inputting queries into a digital device to access information Voice search technology allows users instead to speak to a device, which translates the input to a query and generates the information results. Instead of getting the results on the screen, the technology also delivers the results to the users orally While voice search technology has actually been around for a very long time, recent advancements have made it extremely sensitive, accurate, and capable of understanding the context of the query Examples of voice search at work are commonly seen nowadays in digital assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and more.  Users also need to appreciate that while voice search technology can be optimized for specific devices, websites, platforms, and even brands can be optimized well for voice search An outstanding example of this is Amazon Alexa that has the capability of using a voice command to scan through Wikipedia, search the musical inventory of Spotify or even shop on online marketplaces like Amazon. The Effect of Voice Search on SEO Because voice search is natural to human behavior, it takes very little time for human beings to adapt to the technology to obtain a user experience that is vastly superior compared to typing or touching screens Users have already taken to its large numbers, and largely all experts agree that the future of information search will largely be dictated by voice search Even the big daddy of web search, Google is making rapid moves to harness the power of voice search optimization because after all, the essence of SEO is to enable users to find the best quality of information quickly by ranking the sources appropriately. Google Home with its success rate of answering 81% of the queries correctly is already the leader of the pack Even though the user experience is at the forefront of SEO, it needs to be kept in mind that SEO for traditional websites and SEO for voice search are distinctively different Consequently, some factors that affect conventional website searches may not be as relevant in voice search and vice-versa Important Tips on Voice Search SEO Ensure a Quick Loading Time for the Website : Just as in traditional SEO, Google voice searches are positively biased towards websites that load fast and make the information accessible. To ensure that your website performs well on voice search, you should optimize the website for performance on mobile devices by using responsive design and also make sure that the images are optimized and that the files compressed to the maximum Also, take care to enable website caching and improve the response time of the server to improve the page loading speed Virtually all techniques used to speed up the loading time of websites in conventional SEO will come in handy for voice search because, without the website loading, no information can be delivered to users Employ more Naturally Structured Long Tail Keywords: There is a marked difference in the ways users frames their queries when searching for content conventionally compared to when using voice search While traditional queries use only the principal keywords, voice search language is very similar to asking a human being and kept simple as if it were to be processed by kids Therefore, the content of the website should also be structured and written simply even if the subject is complex Stick to long-form content as shorter articles are interpreted to be thin content Make Use of Featured Content Blocks : While shorter answers perform better on SEO , there is no guarantee that Google will be able to identify it and read it back to users A practical way is to use featured snippets or quick answers that are essentially summaries of the web contents The best summaries have a maximum length of 29 words structured logically in lists with bullets, and using H-tags. Focus on Local Search : Current trends of voice search point to it being used more for location-based content; therefore, brands should preferably invest more in the production of local content for effective voice search results Phrases like ‘near me’ have been found to be especially productive Organic Traffic Generation by Voice Search On the face of it, it does not appear that results of voice search directly contribute to Google Analytics reports improving, however, there is no doubt that it does drive more traffic to websites Brands get increased awareness because Google voice search results typically commence with ‘According to…” Moreover, the written output of the search results contains the website links used by Google as resources so users use these links more for accessing additional information. Viewing Voice Search Rankings Even as SEO practitioners realize the vital importance of voice search in boosting brand awareness and increasing conversions, the biggest concern is that as of now there is no way of getting to know the voice search rankings A great deal of research is on and it is quite likely that very soon there will be ways of physically knowing the ranking and verifying whether your SEO efforts are actually working the way you want it to. Conclusion SEO for voice search is no longer an option for SEO practitioners As user search behavior changes, brands have to also gear themselves up to meet the new challenges and even take advantage of the opportunities presented by the new technology

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