Voice Search: How to Prepare
Every electronics store you walk into is showcasing their latest virtual assistants, artificial intelligence, and smart home devices. What does that mean? Voice search is here to stay, and it has hit the mainstream in a big way.
Voice search is already having a big impact on SEO as we know it. There’s strong evidence that voice search optimization is intricately connected to Google’s featured snippets, which occupy the coveted “position zero” in SERPs.
Rising Voice Search Trends
It’s hard to say exactly how many search queries are voice-based, since Google doesn’t publish that exact information regularly. We do know that the general trend is rising, and soon, voice searches may represent the majority of total searches. According to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report in 2016, voice searches increased more than 35-fold between 2008 and 2016. And predictions by ComScore estimate that more than 50 percent of searches will be voice-based by 2020.
How Voice Search Works?
Performing a voice search on Google is just as simple and quick as doing a typed search. All you have to do is to simply click the microphone icon on the search bar, and then you’re set!
One of the updates that changed Google for the long-term is the Hummingbird update. This update emphasized semantic search, which aims to create more accurate results through understanding the context and the intent of the user’s search inquiry. This shifted the focus to meaningful search queries, which mean, searches that are structured in sentences and phrases.
How to optimize for voice search?
At its core, optimizing for voice search is similar to SEO. One has to:
- Create robust, compelling content that answers your users’ most common questions
- Adopt long-tail keywords optimized for semantic search
- Use Schema to mark up your content and tell search engines what your site’s about
- You must be optimized for mobile
Very importantly, context and relevance are essential when optimizing for voice search. A good strategy that’s already been adopted successfully by many websites is to:
- Create content or a webpage with a headline that asks a common question
- Immediately after the headline, provide a brief answer or definition to the question
- Use the rest of the page to provide further elaborative detail on the topic
Written by Mateen Agha, Associate SEO Director, Bruce Clay MENA.
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