I was sitting with my girlfriend in a coffee shop, listening to her vent about a colleague of hers.
“Whatever happens, I am NOT going to call Emily to apologise!”
She continued on for a bit, explaining some unsavoury behaviour behind her current silent treatment.
All of a sudden, my friend gasped.
“Sssshhh!” she whispered to me, and picked up her phone.
Emily was on the line.
She’d heard the entire diatribe and was NOT happy.
Siri had heard, completely out of context, CALL EMILY, and obeyed.
And that was the moment I realised: our phones are smarter than we think, or might want.
Regardless of whether you’re on board with the future of technology or not, voice technology is here and its changing our lives beyond calling our friends.
More relevant to this blog, it’s changing how we search for the information we need, and perform daily tasks.
If that doesn’t convince you, just take a look at these voice search statistics from SEO Tribunal:
· 325 million people are searching through the internet using voice search
· 20% of Google searches are done through voice search with 95% accuracy of answers
· 4 million Amazon Echo devices are sold during one holiday season
· By 2020 50% of searches will be voice searches.
Now that you have a bit more of an understanding of the growing popularity of voice search, let’s explore how Voice Search works, and which businesses can best benefit from Voice Search SEO.
How does Google Voice Search work?
Google Voice Search is a new function that allows you to ask Google to search for something without typing. Other devices and search engines have this functionality, but for the purposes of this post, we're only exploring Google.
Google Voice Search can be used on both desktop and mobile searches, but as people generally use it in a situation where it’s inconvenient to type (like driving or cooking), Voice Search is mostly used on mobile devices.
In some instances, users must use a verbal cue to tell Google to begin searching, which is “OK, Google.” Alternatively, you can just click on the microphone to the right of the search field.
Are voice search queries different from other types of queries?
According to Wordstream, there’s not actually a huge amount of difference between the results displayed for Voice Search and normal search results. I believe this is because Google understands semantics and the general gist of what you’re saying, thanks to an update called Hummingbird.
What this means is that Google understands your implied meaning, even if you’re not using the right spelling or grammar, or you’ve phrased something in a different way.
So if you were to ask, via voice search, “Ok Google, find a café near me” or to type “cafes nears me”, you’d likely get the same results.
Why do people use Voice Search?
Voice Search allows you to use your phone without touching it. The average person can type around 40 words per minute, but can speak around 150 words per minute, allowing for greater specificity with less effort.
It can also be a lot safer, for example, if you’re driving and want to change your play list or need to make a call.
Who is using Voice Search?
Interestingly, it’s millennials who are making the most use of Voice Search, particularly when they’re driving, which makes sense for safety reasons.
Ok, so how can Voice Search SEO help me and my business?
We know that Voice Search is on the rise, but will this matter for your business and website?
It depends on what your business does, and who your customer is.
As we can see above, most people use Voice Search when driving.
But what are they looking for?
Using all of this data, one thing stands out to me here: local businesses can benefit most from Voice Search.
As most people use Voice Search on their mobiles when they’re driving, it makes sense that they’re looking to visit local businesses or find out more information.
How many times have you Google the following businesses in your area?
- Yoga and Pilates Studios
- Service Stations/Car Washes
- Hotels & motels
- The list goes on…
How will Voice Search change SEO?
Have you watched me on IGTV yet?
You might notice that I talk vastly different to how I actually type.
When I’m writing, I have the time to self-censor, and edit things for clarity and for brevity.
But when I’m talking, I use different turns of phrase.
And it’s the same for you too, most likely.
People generally type keywords into Google search in a such a way that is not grammatically correct and is generally done to save time.
So how do we work with Voice Search to optimise our search results?
As SEO Tribunal has illustrated:
More SEO tips for optimising for Voice Search:
- Make sure your website has an SSL certificate. This encrypts user data and makes your website more secure. Google favours secure websites, and will rank your website higher in the SERPs.
- Make a detailed FAQs page answering common questions about your business.
- Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). These are essentially smaller and less elaborate versions of your website that have a faster loading time. Websites with a faster loading time rank higher in the SERPs.