Voice Search Optimisation: the Rise of Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa

Technology consumers are always on the go. With mobile devices glued to our fingertips, we can easily have information anytime, anywhere. What makes accessing information even easier?

“OK Google.”

“Hey Siri.”

That’s right. Virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa have really cemented their place in society. Virtual assistants are continuing to rise in popularity, and trends show that there will definitely be an increase in usage progressing into the future.

These artificial intelligence technologies are helping people in all walks of life, whether it be to manage business accounts, set an alarm, or call your parents. And importantly, answering your questions without typing a thing. As digital marketers, you should always be one step ahead of your competitors, reaching out to your target audience before they do. How do we do that with the rise of virtual assistants?

Increase of AI and virtual assistants

Artificial intelligence technology behind voice search is highly advanced, and according to Google the accuracy is about 95% since 2013. Years later, it’s time to be alert and proactive in understanding the strategies for voice search optimisation. For users, it can be faster than typing and easily accessible from mobile devices. According to Comscore, it’s projected that more than 50% of online searches will be performed with voice search in 2020.

Voice search allows people to multitask. Voice search means that you can get directions or keep working hands free in the car, or if you are busy preparing something for dinner you can still find out tomorrow’s weather forecast. No matter the size of your business, to thrive in the future you have got to be ready for voice search. A Google survey revealed that people mostly search for location information and directions, along with details on deals, sales, personalised tips, information about upcoming events, and customer support. Voice search and AI technology is the way of the future as consumers are becoming more dependent on it.

Keyword research for voice search

Spoken language is very different from written language. The same goes for people’s behaviour while searching for things online. To best optimise for keywords when it comes to voice search, go for long tail keywords. You need to seek out what questions or phrases people are likely to ask, and plan your keywords around how people will speak them aloud. For example, in the case of a typed search, someone might search for ‘digital marketing’, but while using voice search, they might search for ‘best digital marketing site in Canberra’.

For assistance, you may use a helpful SEO tool, a website called Answer the Public. This website allows you to input relevant keywords and it displays the results of the most commonly asked long form questions related to that keyword. The result for your query on digital marketing will be a similar image as below, including frequently asked questions related to the keyword you searched. The lesson here is to optimise your content by writing it like how people speak. To an extent, you can optimise your content by writing it with question phrases, or make sentences include answers to relevant short answers.

Structured data: give the people what they want

Structured data gives the best optimised result by making the content relevant and easy to crawl. This is crucial while creating content both for blogs and working on the backend. One useful technique is to create a sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console, or you may structure data markup as well.

Ensure that you aid your customer at every stage from search to conversion by catering to what they need. Structure your data and content with a conscious effort so that it works well when being delivered aloud. While easily paving the way for your customer, make an effort to gain awareness, interest, evaluation, purchases, customer support and loyalty.

What works well in the digital arena is quality content which gives the people what they are looking for. This can be brought out by including content that provides guides or ‘how to’ information. Intentionally working to maximise navigational information like store locations, customer service information, and transactional information is a good practice. Make sure to include videos, product information, comparisons and product stories. The more (quality) information, the merrier.

The structured data markup enables you to direct Google on what the content is about without changing the appearance. Google bots grasp faster if it includes information on products, places, people, organisations, events, reviews, ‘how to’ content, news articles, and other creative work. Finally, you may test the content in Google Structured Data Testing Tool after structuring it and then submit it in sitemap.

Mobile optimisation

It’s only logical that voice search gets the most hits via mobile devices. Make sure you have a responsive web design that is optimised for mobile, making your website hassle-free for your target users. You can use Google’s mobile friendly testing tool to see how your website is coping. However, even if you perform well in the test, the fight isn’t over. Site speed matters a lot when the users’ attention span is incredibly short. According to research by Backlinko, it was proved that voice search results loads 52% faster than regular pages. It often saves the user from trawling through to find the right answer themselves.

Make your content active by creating actions on the Google app. Identify the needs of voice assistant users and you can develop back and forth conversations with the app or content. Note that you need to use AMP for creating actions in Google app.

Optimise locally

Think of how often Google is asked for the “best brunch near me”. According to a report by Brightlocal, it was found that 58% of users make use of voice search for local businesses. This was especially to search for details on where they need to go. Make your site ready and optimised for local search results. An easy way is to make sure you have a business listing in Google My Business, so your business can be easily found.

Working towards a hands-free future

Voice search continues to be adapted by its users, and as voice search grows in popularity you will gain more insights for increasing traffic. Also ensure that you are constantly updating your website so that it is mobile optimised plus filled with quality content. Stay up to date with changes in Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. You may be looking forward to Google’s plan to add voice query data to its Search Console in the future. So, be prepared and add voice query data to Search Console early to have actionable, personalised insights on how voice search users reach out to your website.

If you are curious about learning more about voice assistants and their benefits for your business, feel free to talk to us and our marketing experts.