The Impact Of Voice Search
“Okay Google; Can you tell me some stats on voice search?”
Voice search is one of the most hyped topics in the digital marketing world. With the growth in popularity amongst smartphone users, along with the introduction of Alexa and Google Home, there are plenty of important statistics to know if you’re looking at the impact of voice search. In fact, according to a survey by ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
That is a huge number of people utilising the conversationalist nature of voice search – but how will this impact your marketing strategy? Here, we’re taking a closer look at how we will be optimising our client’s campaigns moving forward and how you can benefit from the technological advancements the future will bring.
The Zero-Result SERP Update
On March 14th, Google began to test what has been referred to as the ‘Zero-Result’ SERP update. This led to one small set of Knowledge Cards being shown in search results, with the option of a ‘Show All’ button. When searching for ‘Time’, Google took into account your location and showed only the ‘time’ in that area. All other results such as ‘Time Magazine’ could only be seen when ‘Show All Results’ was clicked.
The test was initially limited to just a small set of answers, including time, calculator/conversions, date queries and temperature. While MozCast showed that Zero-Result searches were isolated, with just 0.01% of the 10,000 searches tracked daily showing up in this manner, at Absolute Digital Media, we believe that this test is a strong indication of what is to come – and we believe that Voice Search has a very big part to play in this.
The Expansion Of SERPs
Over the past few years, search engine results pages have developed far beyond the 10 organic links and a few paid ads that we have come to be so fond of. In fact, organic results are shrinking, making it more important than ever to ensure that each campaign is evolving with technology. The following features all take up one organic search position:
- Full site-links
- Image Results
- Top Stories
- In-depth Articles
- Carousel Tweets
- Single Tweets
According to Moz, more than half of SERPs had less than 10 organic search results, so the Zero-Results update is one that has definitely been in the works for a long period of time.
Why Are We Turning To Voice Search?
There are a huge number of reasons why voice search is impacting the way that we search for answers to our queries. Humans can actually speak up to 150 words per minute, whereas on average, we can only type 40 words per minute, showing just how convenient voice search is becoming. People can instantly find the answers to their questions, simply by asking the question, whether they are walking, sitting down or driving. This is helping to make searching for content more convenient for the user and in turn, comes hand in hand with mobile first indexing and mobile optimisation as users are relying on their mobile devices more and more every day.
How Are We Adapting Our SEO Methods For Voice Search?
With Google and Facebook AI learning more about conversationalist speech, understanding what people will be talking about, how they will be searching and what they are looking for are the next steps to integrating an effective strategy in light of the growth of voice search. In addition to this, tech giants such as Google and Facebook are moving their content away from third-party software and placing it all in one place. Although this is in part down to the convenience of having all the information in one place, it is also in part down to fast results when using a voice search function.
How Will This Affect SEO Practices?
Although this may not seem too much of a problem in the early stages, the growth of voice search could present challenges to current SEO practices. With elements such as featured snippets and target content having increased importance, it is crucial that we monitor their impact in the early stages and capitalise on this. Below we are looking at some of the other areas that may see significant changes in the coming years, with increased use of voice search functionality.
This will be the key area that can help to push a voice-search orientated search strategy. Taking into account the way people speak and the answers they are looking to find will allow site content (both on page and blog content) to be found quickly and easily. Accuracy is the key here, and all content marketing efforts will need to ensure they are highly informative and closely aligned with user search trends in order to rank. While there are some direct queries which are highly unlikely to ever outrank the specific Knowledge Cards offered by Google such as time and conversion, understanding user intent will provide a number of new opportunities for businesses to push their content marketing efforts.
For example, if people are asking a broader question such as ‘Who Has The Best Pizza’, it will come up with an extensive range of options, because the answer is subjective. Capitalising on these open-ended questions as part of a content marketing campaign, while ensuring all content is written in a conversationalist manner which provides high-quality answers to the questions users are asking, are the key steps to benefiting from voice search. In voice search, context and user intent is everything.
Voice search tends to be very localised, as people are looking for businesses in their area. According to the Internet Trends Report 2016, an estimated 22% of people are searching for local content and information, meaning a strategy incorporating local SEO into voice search is going to be highly beneficial, particularly for smaller businesses. Having Google My Business up-to-date and claimed can help to improve your positioning on SERPs when it comes to voice search, alongside desktop and mobile searches. Businesses are also able to craft content for local SEO which can help to improve prominence with niche, localised keyword searches.
Content strategies will need to mimic how real people talk and what they’re likely to ask verbally. The answers will then need to be represented and answered within the content that is being created for your site.
Although this is not the case with every webpage, it is beginning to be a more prominent feature due to the huge diversity of the English language. As a result, this conversational way of searching is having to be adapted in order to accommodate. With the expansion of voice search, there is likely to be an increased focus into the use of conversational language throughout a marketing campaign as well as an SEO campaign in order to boost results and the overall outcome of SEO efforts.
Structured Data Mark-Up
Structured data markup through schema.org is already exceptionally important for a huge number of sites, and with voice search, this is only going to grow. Structured data markup provides businesses with the opportunity to give devices even more information about their site and content, and when it comes to voice search, this can make it much easier for devices to understand the context of your site more accurately. If they understand your site, the chances of ranking are much higher.
With so many different ways that voice search is impacting the digital marketing landscape, it is certain to have a major effect on the strategies we are producing throughout the future. To find out more about how voice search is set to impact your campaign and what we’re doing to ensure your site is fully optimised for voice search, get in touch with a member of our expert team on 0800 088 6000, today.