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Just a few years ago voice search was considered a novelty. But the take up of the Amazon Echo since its introduction in 2015, has meant that voice search is fast becoming an important part of your SEO strategy.
Amazon Echo is a cloud-connected speaker with a built-in digital assistant called Alexa. Alexa can be commanded to play music, tell you the weather, answer trivia facts, deliver news and manage your to do list amongst other things.
The Amazon Echo leads the market with a 70.6% share, followed by Google Home, taking 23.8% of the market. Forecasts suggesting that the sale of these types of devices will reach 15.1 million in 2020 and comscore predicts half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
Every time you use Alexa, or any other digital assistant such as Google Home or Apple’s Siri, you’re performing a search.
Most of the queries will be commands or questions. In the past if you had a question you would head to your mobile or computer to visit Google. The search engine would deliver a list of results, where you could visit a website or two and get the answer.
With voice search, the answer is returned almost instantly by Amazon Echo’s Alexa. Which means earning the top-ranking position has just become more valuable than ever.
What SEO efforts impact voice search
It is important to distinguish here that Amazon Echo and Google Home use different indicators to decide what search results will be displayed. That is, Amazon does not use the Google search engine to provide answers to queries.
Amazon’s primary intention is from your keyword search look to serve up a product that results in a sale. Where Google takes into account traditional SEO factors such as click through rate and dwell time.
Either way both voice search options are becoming more advanced and are looking at the intent behind the search query, rather than just the keywords it contains.
As of right now there are only two ways in which you can optimise your SEO strategy for voice search.
- Facts and information – where the user asks a question on what they want to know. Usually this would be something like what colour is the sky, or what was the score in a certain football game. So tying in a business message will not always be appropriate.
- Local search – where the user asks about places near them that provide a certain service or product.
Improving your SEO for voice search rankings
In order to be the result that is spoken through the digital assistant you need to be the feature snippet where Google Home is concerned. This is not an easy thing to do but when achieved if you can mix promotional and information content into your snippet you will have the end user’s full attention.
So how can you achieve this? As well as your continued traditional SEO efforts voice search queries are more conversational. So users will be asking real questions and using natural language instead of keywords. So instead of searching for ‘plumber in Sydney’ it could become ‘recommend someone in Sydney to fix my leaking tap’.
Our top tips to help your voice search results include:
- Use natural language across your site with a conversational tone.
- Look for natural language searches in Google Search Console to get an idea of how people talk about the service you offer.
- Write content that really answers the users question. Get into the Who, What, Where, When and Why to form a clear and helpful page that gives the user exactly the info they are looking for.
- Make sure all of your local listings are correct.
- Practice using voice search yourself to get a better understanding of how people are using voice to find answers. You might not have the Amazon Echo, but your mobile phone may have a voice search option.
- Understand your buyers journey and the questions that arise at each stage of this journey. Tools like Quora, Answer the Public and Reddit can be great for this.
Digital assistants like the Amazon Echo are exponentially growing in popularity, and the artificial intelligence that powers them is growing too. In time Google, Amazon, Apple and others will figure out how to monetise these platforms.
Until that time comes you should be investing time and effort into how to find your way to the top of conversational based search queries. The work you do now could put you ahead of the pack for when voice search becomes the rule rather than the exception.