Even 10 years ago it was just unthinkable that someday people would become dependent on technology for performing some basic tasks, but today it has turned out to be very accurate. In the US alone 60.5 million people depend on virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and Cortana the newest companion of humans that boast of AI or artificial intelligence. The virtual assistants have become popular because people can speak to it and it can understand human language to assist them in performing tasks. This incredible advancement has been possible because of voice searches that have gained immense popularity. Way back in 2014, Google admitted that 41% adults and 55% teenagers use voice search at least once in a day. According to results available from studies in January 2018, one in five Americans use voice searches.
The growing trend of voice searches has not escaped the attention of online marketers who have understood that it is going to impact SEO but not sure in which way. However, it becomes necessary to understand voice search in as much detail as possible to gauge how it could affect online marketing. It should help to drive more traffic and gain higher visibility during searches as the transition from traditional to voice search gains speed.
Optimize content for voice search
Until now, all on-page optimization measures revolved around traditional text searches but as the popularity of voice search is growing, it becomes imperative that now you have to optimize content for voice searches. Incidentally, you have to know what type of content to optimize for voice search because there are exceptions too. Some kind of content is not suitable for such optimization at all. Google has started advising people on content optimization techniques for Google Assistant. Currently, content like podcasts, recipes, and news are within reach of Google Assistant. The experts at Digital Assets Factory SEO feel that most likely, the categories of content will increase soon, and marketers have to be ready with the know-how of optimization for voice searches.
Focus on structured data
Google is all set to give more thrust to its efforts in handling voice searches more effectively and in the process wants to keep digital marketers abreast about what is happening and how to adapt the changes. Google’s Gary Illyes has advised publishers to pay more attention to structured content that should ease adaption of the new features that Google intends to release during the year. The message is loud and clear that your content has to be compatible with voice searches. The optimization has to complement Google’s efforts in understanding content more efficiently by using the technology to decipher voice searches. Structured data should help to communicate effectively with Google for identifying content whenever someone speaks about it.
Get ready for voice snippets
The way featured snippets function would remain the same, but there is likely to be some changes in its presentation, especially with respect to the language structure. Until now the content structure took into account written text only, but from now, it has to take into account how the content will sound out when someone reads it loudly. Since spoken words can convey more information than written words within a given time span, you have to be convinced how well the snippets sound and whether the content answers the query comprehensively.
Provide suitable information to Google that is just great for working as voice snippets. It is not enough for the content to be pleasing to the ears but it should merely sound tremendous and stokes the right emotions to encourage users to take some affirmative action. Think about how to present information that currently appears in a tabular form or the form of block text.
Stick to easy to read content
You should never tax the patience of readers to find out answers hidden within the content but make it visible forthright. The content should make for interesting reading with the answer appearing on the surface. The answer has to be comprehensive but precise so that viewers get precisely the information they want without having to peel off many layers of content to access it. Now that the shift towards voice searches is gaining pace, easy to read content has become essential. To help voice assistants find out answers quickly, provide a direct response to the question instead of hinting at the answer contained somewhere in the content. This extremely important because some voice assistants try to answer queries to the content directly. It means that the closeness between the opening paragraph of the content and the search query increases the chances of the content appearing in search results.
Over optimization can be bad
You should respect the meaning of the word optimization in the real sense of the term by taking a balanced approach that helps to maintain equilibrium in the optimization measures. As much bad it is to under-optimize content, it is equally wrong to over-optimize it. Maintain a middle of the road approach so that you neither do too much nor too less. The structure of content has to transit from the printed or visual-based approach to a more audio-based approach. You have to think about how the content would sound and appeal when someone reads it out loud.
The answer has to be short yet elaborate enough and contain all required information. If someone wants to create one paragraph short answers, it might sound well but would leave users dissatisfied. That is a typical example of over optimization that would backfire. The site would have multiple short answers with one answer for one specific query and would run into several web pages of low value.
To be ready for voice search for gaining mileage in SEO or any other form of digital marketing, create content that by search engines understand easily and right to hear when someone reads it out loud. Creating quality content by staying natural is the best way to harness the powers of voice search for marketing gains.