We all use them, but nobody really thinks about exactly how it works – we’re talking about language search. A feature that was in its infancy just a few years ago. Meanwhile, we quickly pull the phone and ask Google or Siri with the iPhone. Also, language assistants like Alexa or Google Home provide us with results on demand. How does it look behind the scenes? How should I optimize my website to be found by language assistants? How is Voice Search different from traditional search?
Who uses voice search at all?
Let’s look at who is actively using voice search. First, a distinction must be made between voice search and voice control. The voice control is responsible for tasks on the device. She accepts orders such as “Play Last Christmas by Wham!” Or “Write Message to Mom.” The language search covers the classic informational search, mostly for facts or products. The user asks a question to which the voice assistant provides an answer.
Ok, Google! And what about Siri, Alexa, and Co.?
Voice Search is now much more than just Google. According to Statista, Google is the most widely used search engine in World with a market share of over 90 percent, with a slight upward trend, but there are many more language assistants available for language-based searches. If you take a look at the range of voice speakers and smart speakers, the Amazon Echo comes in first with over 43 percent market share.
Apple’s voice assistant Siri is particularly popular because it can also be used on a smartphone or tablet (unlike the voice assistant from Amazon). In light of Google’s proliferation in World, it’s a bit of a surprise that Siri overtook the Google Assistant in 2018. Incidentally, Google’s competition – Siri, Alexa, and Cortana – has until recently returned entirely to the search engine Bing, in addition to platforms such as Yelp or Tripadvisor. Many are still not satisfied with Siri because it does not provide satisfactory results. Bing delivers partly different, less up-to-date search results than Google. Therefore, there is now the possibility of Google Voice Assistant on the iPhone to use.
A look at the hard facts
According to a study, 28 percent of the population use voice search. It is mainly the 18- to 34-year-olds who make use of Voice Search. Forty-four percent of respondents in the 2018 survey said they were looking for businesses, directions, products, or similar information using voice commands. In the age group of 35- to 54-year-olds, about 26 percent will use digital voice search in 2018. In the age group over 55, there is still 19 percent, who rely on the hunt for language in their search.
Alone at home or on the road – where do users use voice search?
The US agency Stone Temple has, among other things, dealt with the question of when the voice search is used. The extensive survey has shown that almost 60 percent use the voice search alone in the quiet little room, about 50 percent use voice search when they are alone in the office. Equally widespread is the use of friends at home. Only less than 35 percent use voice search on mobile devices in public, such as in buses and trains or in restaurants.
The study by Yext also exposes the nature of the commands and information requested by consumers. The top 5 clearly shows that the range of uses is extensive. Language assistants and voice search functions are used for various queries:
- Play music (40 percent)
- Knowledge questions, eg, “What is the Eiffel Tower height?” (39 percent)
- Weather forecast (38 percent)
- Reminder function (31 percent)
- Call people (29 percent)
Outside of the top 5 use cases, it will be particularly interesting for companies. Almost a third of respondents said that they could find directions to restaurants, shops, and other places. Also, additional information about companies frequently ask the users, many do online shopping via the language search or order food. This knowledge inevitably leads to the question of which contents are suitable for language searches at all.
Which content is suitable for voice search?
There are two main areas to choose from when choosing appropriate content. On the one hand, facts and information are a big topic in language search. Users ask questions such as “How high is the Cologne Cathedral?” Or “How much is a divorce?” Which requires a concrete answer in the form of numbers. For the answer, Google pulls the necessary information from the Featured Snippets or from the Web search.
On the other hand, users like to ask for local information. After all, a third of voice searches take place on the road. The users search by voice command for a financial institution nearby, for the next pizzeria or suitable delivery service. With Google Maps, the searcher can navigate directly to the chosen location.
Especially in the area of local information, it is essential on which platforms you are represented with your information. If you have not created a Yelp or Tripadvisor listing as a retail store or service provider, you simply do not exist for Siri. Or who do not have a Google MyBusiness entry, is found when searching by voice command for the next burger restaurant somewhat wrong than right.
How to optimize your content for voice search
You now know that it is essential to optimize your website for voice search as more and more people use voice search. To rank search results in voice search, factors other than traditional search are important when typing search terms or entire questions on a desktop or mobile device. Which ranking factors that are and how SEO for Voice Search differs from SEO for the current search, we tell you now.
Voice search via smartphone: Mobile-first
Let’s start with the basics: What is essential for the current search, of course, also applies to the language search, namely the optimization of the website for mobile devices. Only those who make their website responsive and receive their users “mobile-friendly,” can appear in the search results on Google above. You can quickly and easily use Google to verify that your page is mobile-friendly.
When searching for a voice, users want to get to a page that loads quickly even when they’re on the go (or you can quickly test it using the Google PageSpeed tool ) and, above all, loads all content. If elements of a web page on the phone can not be loaded or only very slowly, that scares the users as well as Google. So, if the user comes with a link to the page because the voice assistant does not provide a direct answer, the page’s speed must be right, and the content adapts to the display.
There are also aspects such as thumb-friendly mobile optimization. Most smartphone users operate the device with their thumb or forefinger. Therefore, it makes sense not to make buttons too small, to keep appropriate distances, and to allow easy clicking. Of course, it is also advisable to make the website content as clear and understandable as possible. Only then can the user on mobile or tablet without scrolling capture the most essential information.
Lang hits short: Long-tail keywords instead of short tail
Those who optimize for the traditional desktop search usually do this for the short tail. This means that the current search optimizes website content for quick, single keywords. Anyone who uses a PC or laptop to search usually types in one or more individual keywords, not a complete sentence. This is called a short-tail. So users search for the traditional search for “Trump Age” or “Trump Birthday.”
However, this is different from the voice search. Users often use half sentences or full question sets to get a response via voice search. The user holds the smartphone in his hand and asks: “Ok Google, how old is Donald Trump?”, “How often does my car have to inspect?” Or for local searches, for example, “Where can I rent a bicycle in Münster?” Long-tail keywords from two to five related terms are highly relevant to set-driven voice control of search engines. Also, these long-tail keywords are not as competitive as short-tail keywords. The number of possible keyword combinations is significantly higher here.
Find User Questions: How To Create Content That Is Good For Voice Search
Understandably, you want to create exactly the content for your website that users are looking for and that are suitable for voice search. As we already know, the lyrics on your site should not only contain single high-quality keywords but ask the same questions as the users and then answer them. So how do you find out what users are looking for?
Here you have the choice between several options. First, you can do keyword research by using a tool, for example, answerthepublic.com. Use the tool to find out what W-questions people ask about your product or offer: who, how, what, why, when.
Also, it makes sense to look around on question portals on the Internet and in social media, which concerns the own target group. In the social media area, it makes sense to get in touch with the users directly and ask them what they are doing and what they want to know. Also, Google’s autocompleting function can give useful hints to frequently asked questions.
Now you can use this information to create content that answers users’ questions. Especially if you are an expert in your field, you may be surprised how many items you can gather. The visitors to your website often have a lower level of knowledge than you and would like to find out about a topic on your page. The questions and also the answers in your text should be short, clear, and precise so that they are easy to read for both the reader and the search engine. Only in this way does Google identify the answer as a suitable result in the search for a voice.
Who, how, what: Consider relevant questions for voice search in metadata and URL
You should not just put the information you have gathered about user questions in the text on your website that you want to optimize for voice search. From an SEO point of view, the URL, as well as the metadata, are relevant. The title is usually the title tag at the same time. However, it must be formulated in a meaningful way. So you should not go out of your way trying to turn each headline into a question and start each text with an issue, but in the right dosage, this layout has a positive effect on the ranking.
Meta tags and the description are also crucial for search engine optimization. The story is displayed as a snippet in the Google search results and thus, not only provides a critical ranking factor but gives the reader information about whether the website can answer his question. Meta tags, meaningful pages, and a talking URL in the form of a problem (www.example.com/where-can-create -metadata-) help to find your page in the language search.
Noise words are, in most cases, reluctant guests, but in the case of voice search, this is not necessarily true. For real questions to arise and the content to sound like asking a real person a question and answering it, it is advisable, according to YEP’s voice-search guide, to include words like “me,” “for,” “me.” “Or” he “to install. Again, it is emphasized that it is essential to use language simply.
Creating content for voice search: The useful old FAQs
The name suggests: An own subpage with the frequently asked questions, ie, the frequently asked questions of the users, is very well suited for the search for a voice. Creating the content requires a little more time and effort, but you can be rewarded with a better ranking. Also, the chance of Google appearing in Featured Snippets, and thus in voice search, as a good result increases. For online stores, it’s best to work with customer service. The colleagues know which questions customers are most concerned with and why there are no answers on the website.
Become an expert in your field and a contact point for users
If you have many answers to the questions of your customers or users, you can establish your expert status. Become the focal point in your subject area and a luminary in your niche. So you can build a regular clientele if your content is of high quality. If the users can satisfy their thirst for knowledge on the website, the click rate, length of stay, and the bounce rate are positively influenced. If these values are correct, this is also reflected in the Google ranking.
Find the tone and voice of your company
When creating content for voice search, keep in mind that your company always has a consistent voice, but the sound can change depending on the situation. A brand is increasingly in direct contact with customers in social media. Also, by the voice assistant, this is now possible. Therefore, you should think carefully about which tone you want to strike and how your brand should be perceived.
Also, the spoken language has a more straightforward structure than the written word. However, this does not automatically mean that voice search searches are more comfortable and less complicated than traditional search – in the section on long-tail and short-tail keywords, you’ve already learned why.
Do the self-experiment
Last but not least – and so easy: Just test your own page on the phone. Take a moment to check whether your site is mobile-friendly and how voice search works in general – and how not. Find out for yourself what can and can not be found in a language search. You will stumble upon good and less good examples. Check out what the competition is doing and why it might appear in the voice search and your website.
Outlook: What will the future bring with Voice Search?
The language search is gradually coming of age. The statistics show that voice search is well received. The interactions with users are functional, and over time, the impact on online marketing will be felt more and more clearly. It is not a trend or an interesting phenomenon. This can be explained briefly and conclusively with the ever more intensive use of smartphones and mobile devices. At the present time, it is more than sensible to deal with the optimization of your own website, both about the use of mobile devices as well as the voice search.
What is SEO anyway, if there is only one result in Voice Search?
At this point, it is almost philosophical. However, the question arises as to what search engine optimization is and will be in the future, when there is only one result left in voice search with voice assistants, or if only one result is readout. All other hits fall under the table here, because contrary to the popular pursuit, the user does not see ten different effects on the first side of the SERPs, but gets read from Alexa in the living room a result.
We think: it remains exciting! How this develops, the future will show. Users increasingly want direct answers instead of links, and this need is satisfied by the search for language. Marketing expert Neil Patel estimates that by 2020, approximately half of search queries will consist of voice- and image-based searches. If you want to understand the developments of the language search, including a future forecast, you should definitely take a look at his blog article.
However, one thing is sure: it is definitely worthwhile to optimize your own website for voice search. If you consider the following aspects, you are on the right path to rank well in voice search:
- Keep an eye on the user questions
- Create content with appropriate answers
- Operate Local SEO
- mobile-friendly: optimize your site technically and in terms of content for mobile devices