What voice search is and how it works ?
Voice Search is a technology that allows users to search just using their voices instead of typing. It works through the ASR system (automatic speech recognition) that transforms voice signal into text. Then Google uses the text as a usual query and proceeds with what it does the best – the search itself.
There are four phases of speech recognition that all queries undergo:
- Filtering the sounds (allocating the voice query from the flow of other sounds)
- Digitizing (turning sound waves into digital data)
- Voice analysis (processing the data)
- Pattern recognition (comparing the query to the samples in the database).
What kind of businesses can benefit from voice search ?
Benu Aggarwal, CEO and founder of Milestone Inc., had an insightful session at SMX West dedicated to voice search optimization. According to her research, more than half of respondents (52,8%) use voice search while driving. The question is, what people usually search for while driving? And the best guess is that they look for local services. That’s one of the reasons local businesses are believed to be the most affected by the voice search emergence.
BrightLocal has also researched the topic (April 2018), having surveyed above 1,000 US-based consumers about their voice search experience. Turns out that among the Top-5 businesses searched by voice are cafes/restaurants, groceries, places with a takeaway option, clothing stores, and hotels. And how often do you think people use voice search to find information on local services? According to the survey, 48% of respondents use it daily.
How to optimize for voice search ?
If you decided that for your business it’s worth to take a shot at voice search rankings, there is a good news for you. Voice SEO doesn’t run counter to general principles of search optimization (for now). It means that most of the things you do for voice search SEO will improve your overall website’s search visibility.
General SEO for voice search
For a voice search optimization, you need a full package of the basic SEO set-ups. The higher a page is ranked (the best is to get into Google TOP-3), the better its chances of becoming a voice search answer. Pay particular attention to:
1.Moving to HTTPS. 70.4% of Google Home result pages are secured with HTTPS (Backlinko).
2.Building up a domain authority. The average Ahrefs Domain Rating of a Google Home result is 76.8. Important: not the Page Authority, but Domain Authority plays a definitive role in the voice search optimization.
3.Indexability and crawlability of your website’s pages. Make sure that Google robot can access all the needed pages
4.PageSpeed. The pages appearing as a voice search result are more than 50% faster than average pages
5.Using Google’s PWA (Progressive web app) platform, which is believed to boost the chances of the website to be cited by a voice assistant
6.Mobile-friendliness. There are many reasons to focus on it, including Google Mobile First indexing and the fact that people perform voice search primarily via smartphones.
7.Using AMP – a part of mobile optimization that deserves a special mention.
8.Using Schema.org markup to mark the content for crawlers. The Schema is a piece of code that marks different content elements of your page. It tells the robot what every part of your content means.
9.Local search optimization. Local businesses are defined to be the first in line to be interested in optimizing for voice search. That’s why local SEO is a crucial part of voice SEO.
10.Having a Google My Business account (which is a part of local SEO) is needed to find your company in Google Maps and other SERP features that often appear as a mobile voice search result.