By now, we are all probably quite confident that voice search is really happening and may very soon become the new norms for online search. The bigger question, is what about SEO for voice search? Will there be such a thing and will it even be possible.
The short answer: very well so.
The long answer: we’ve seen Google and other search engines’s technology advancement over the past few years, and quite obviously artificially intelligence and language sciences have played quite a big role in the tech upgrades. For instance, the launch of Google’s hummingbird algorithm that is designed to understand natural language in terms of semantics much better, the use of schemas to mark-up content so they could be better understood by Google bot. And last but not least, the advancement into artificial intelligence, a.k.a Google’s rankbrain.
Rank Brain, Google’s search AI, is taught to understand language and ‘Natural Language Processing’ (NLP).
To optimize for voice search, let’s first understand the characteristics of voice search:
1 – Voice search queries tend to be much longer and contain more words
2 – The search queries would take form of questions as oppose to statements. For which the ‘intent’ of the search queries would be better understood by search engines.
3 – Search user’s behavior suggest voice search will involve the need for more real-time and accurate results; including location-related results. (Having good business listings and detailed description on Google Maps may be a good idea).
SEO strategies for voice search
Based on the basic characteristics of voice search, here are some ways to start optimizing:
1 – Structured data. This has been around for a long while but hasn’t yet been widely used. Putting in the extra effort to mark-up your website content, makes it more understandable by search engines. What exactly are structured data? It all happens mainly in the code. Think of it as adding comments and remarks to key information such as product price, product name, etc, so that search engines would essentially know that what they are looking at is the price, the name, telephone and so on and so forth.
Example of code with and without microdata mark-up (structured data).
2 – If you haven’t done so, it’s high time to claim Google My Business Listing. In this way, you’re better optimized for location-based SEO factors when voice search hits all time high.
3 – Optimize your website for mobile if you haven’t done so. Or if you have, make sure you get high mobile-friendly scores. As it goes, voice search is only going to go hand-in-hand with mobile devices.
Food for thought: Will voice search perhaps pave the way to a bigger world of IOT (Internet of Things). Would you perhaps be able to do voice search for groceries and smart devices/machines take the order, and automated logistics bring the order to your front-door, all by way of the internet?!