Hey Google, does mobile voice or voice search affect SEO?

Hey Google - How does search change with voice text?

Why type... when you can talk?

Voice Search is taking over! Whether you're searching for restaurants in your neighborhood, building a grocery list, finding the definition of Misodoctakleidist – (Someone who dislikes practicing the piano) or trying to figure out the name of that actor you liked in high school... voice search is changing how we access information.

Some stats about voice search

According to a study done by Google....55% of Teens and 41% of Adults use voice search daily.

Mobile Voice Search Statistics

(Source: Google)

It is said that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 (<- that's right around the corner!). Global sales predictions suggest voice assisted device sales will increase from 5.2 Million in 2018 to 15.1 Million by 2020. 

(Source: Strategy Analytics)

Voice Search growth

Voice search has increased by 35x since it's introduction into the iphone platform in 2008 and it is widely accepted that voice search will account for more than 50% of all search by 2020.

How is voice to text being used ?

Most of us can agree that voice search wins out simply because it is faster than typing alone. It is also convenient for hands free use. (More than once I have shouted out "OK GOOGLE" just to hear my phone chirp to life so I could find it). Really, the end result is the same - No one wants to wait for an answer. With the improvement of speech recognition and accuracy over the last few years,  people are increasingly turning to voice search as a regular means of searching the internet. 

Quick voice text stats

  • For use when Multi tasking - when hands/vision are occupied (ex: driving) 61%
  • Speed of search results versus typing in query 30%
  • Ease of use vs typing. 24%
  • The fun or cool factor22%
  • Avoid menu confusion or searching for UI. 12%
  • Other 1%

(Source: KPCB)

"No one wants to wait 10 seconds for a response. Accuracy, followed by latency, are the two key metrics for a production speech system..."


Another statistic shows that by 2020, 30% of searches will be conducted without any sort of screen at all

30% of search will be done without a screen by 2020&nbsp;

Source (Gartner)

How Does Voice Search change SEO?

The real reason you're here... 

The results are pretty clear - Voice search isn't going anywhere... It's here to stay and we need to understand how it is going to impact our search results when optimizing for the web. With voice search the emphasis is even strong on what we call "long tail keywords". Keywords are words used to identify content on your website. Long tail keywords refer to several of these keywords chained together in a phrase that holds greater specificity to your content.

but this changes with voice search

When searching using voice text, your long tail keyword is going to be even longer and more specific to what the user is looking for. 

Voice search IS different from text search...

When people conduct searches by typing, they usually cut the query to a few keywords. For instance, If you were looking for a new car...You might type in the search

"cars for sale" 

However, when conducting that same query using voice search, your query is bound to be longer and more conversational.  Your voice search might be;

"Hey Google, find a 2015 Chevy Silvarado for sale in Seattle" 

Notice the latter is more conversational and typical of how humans speak. this means you are going to be looking at more conversational, long-tail keywords to boost Search engine optimization.

Voice search and SEO - How to get the most out of it.

Long-tail Keywords and specificity 

  1. When researching Keywords, look to a more natural phrasing that is designed to draw more attention to the features and/or benefits of the specific product you might be selling.
  2. Try to Include as much detail as possible. For example - someone is searching for a new car - the phrase "cars for sale" isn't going to be as helpful as " 2018 Chevy Equinox for sale in Seattle". 

How do we find these keywords?

  1. The most obvious suggestion is to try to find your website through voice text yourself without using the name of your actual website. If you have a website that sells clothes... How would you expect to find the kind of product you are selling if you didn't know about your store.
  2. One article suggests recording the types of calls you get on the phone when people call in and ask questions about your business.

(Schema.org is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond.)

How is voice search being used?

Google has told us that voice searches are 30 times more likely to be action queries than typed searches. (Ex: People asking for directions to nearby locations). However, for actionable items such as the ones demonstrated previously in this article, it is important to consider the changes in your long tail keywords, and the impact it will have when connecting with searchers.

Snippets are more than info bits

Articles about optimizing for snippets have increased by nearly 200% in the last few years. This is largely because google voice assisted devices read snippets from top ranked sites and cite the contributing source. Snippets are treated like the "top" or "best" answer in a forum and it is brought to the top of the page.

Emphasis on mobile optimization

There is really no excuse for a company not to be mobile friendly in this day and age. Google long ago announced that they were going to offer preference to companies with mobile web pages over those without. The truth is that in the long run you will lose more money by not being mobile friendly, than you will spend on migrating to a more mobile friendly set-up. Take google's mobile friendly web test to find out if you need to revise your website.

Structured Data Markup

Structured data markup  is very important because it provides explicit clues to Google about the type of website you have and what kind of information is on it. Ultimately...it makes it easier for search engines to accurately parse your content and understand its context. 

Google Business Pages

Google Business pages are something everyone should be taking advantage of. Take ownership and maintain your free google business page to help increase the odds of showing up when a voice search is conducted. This is a great way to help google find and share some valid facts about your business... and let's be honest - it's made by google so it is going to show up. Google business page allows you to improve your local search results and share hours, location, and classification of your business. It also allows you to share featured posts with "buy now" and "learn more" CTAs.

Voice Search is changing the landscape.

While the above information is just a drop in a very large pond on the topic of Voice search and SEO - What we have seen so far is this

  • Take advantage of Google's free tools like Business pages - Use them and maintain them
  • If you are not already versed in schema and structured data, do yourself a favor and visit schema.org and look through the page
  • Consider Long-tail keywords, more organic and conversational phrase based keyword usage, & focus on specificity of what you are selling.
  • Optimize for snippets.