Voice search inquiries are becoming more and more common. Especially between the increasing usage of smart speakers in the home. Plus, nearly every smartphone on the market coming standard with some kind of voice assistant. In fact, studies show that two out of every five adults uses voice search at least once per day. In addition, experts estimate that by 2020 nearly half of all searches will be done by microphone rather than keyboard. The rise of voice search is indeed upon us.
Vocal recognition programs are now 95% accurate. With this increase in the accuracy and with roughly 118 million smart speakers operating in homes across the US, it is clear that this technology is here to stay. To stay competitive, it will become increasingly important to consider how voice search systems interact with your website’s SEO.
As with any new technology, knowledge is power. So we are creating a short multi-part primer to help give you the edge in maximizing your SEO potential for voice searches.
Rise of Voice Search
Understanding The Playing Field
While voice assistants and voice searching are becoming more and more commonplace, not all of them are made equal. Currently, the market is dominated by four in particular, those being Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana.
Of these four, Siri and Google Assistant stand out as the most commonly used voice assistants on the market. With each seeing a nearly identical usage rate of 36% of users, while Alexa sits a bit behind at 25% usage, and Cortana bringing up the rear with only 19% of users using it regularly.
Part of this can be contributed to the ubiquity of smartphones. Siri comes standard on every iPhone, while most Androids, as well as Google’s proprietary mobile operating system, use Google Assistant. Alexa’s popularity over Cortana can be attributed to the great success of the Alexa smart speaker, but it still isn’t enough to dethrone the mobile kings.
The Google Home smart speaker is a relative newcomer to the market and has been selling extremely well. It seems likely that Google Assistant may soon overtake Siri in voice assistant usage, and as such much of this series will be dedicated to optimizing your SEO for this particular software. But fear not, Siri and Alexa use many of the same criteria for determining search results. So maximizing your potential with Google Assistant will still be keeping you at the top of the pack for search results with other voice assistants.
What Factors Influence Voice Search SEO?
So, now that you have a working knowledge of voice assistants, what factors affect your chances? Keep these in mind during your marketing. In fact, many of these factors are relatable to having good SEO to begin with. So, optimizing for traditional searches will help with your voice search optimization as well.
The single most important factor for having your website pop up with a voice search is by being in the top three. I am referring to the top three organic results on Google. Also by having SERP features that appear alongside your link, is better. It gives your page an even better chance of showing up.
While being in the top three organic results is nice, there is more you can do. Follow these concrete steps to improve the viability. These steps include:
- Cultivating backlinks from well-trusted websites.
- Improving the load times of your website.
- Establishing a web of links both internally on your site and through external sources like your social media, or a separate blog.
Content is also extremely important. Especially, with the length and readability of your website’s pages having a significant impact on your ranking. The inclusion of relevant keywords in your page titles is another major way to boost your chances of appearing in a voice search query.
Voice search is a relatively new phenomenon. Staying ahead of the game now is your best bet to increasing web traffic in the future. This brief introduction to the topic hopefully helps spark some ideas for your future optimization efforts, but stick around. Our next post will dive into more detail about how to leverage your position as an organic first-page search result to greater success over voice search.