SEO Strategy: Voice Search vs. Text Search
Digital assistants are now familiar sights in homes. From checking the weather to building a shopping list, smart devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home are becoming more commonplace. ComScore projected that 50% of internet searches will be made through voice by 2020. Furthermore, research shows that voice searches are usually motivated by an intent to act, more so than text searches. With this in mind, it is more important than ever to optimise your website for voice search; this includes a different SEO optimisation strategy.
SEO Strategy Optimisation
There are several differences between an SEO strategy for voice search compared to text search. The key difference is the format of queries. Short, incomplete phrases often make up typed queries. However, complete sentences or questions usually make up voice-based queries. When researching keywords, it is important to consider how a phrase differs when spoken out loud, as opposed to typed.
For example, when searching for a bar, you might type “Bars in Liverpool”; however when spoken aloud, you might say “What are some of the best bars in Liverpool?”
It is also worth noting the role of AI in this process. According to Christi Olson, “AI is developing a model based on the conversational language that understands intent and context, builds on previous queries, can contemplate multiple steps and queries, and is oriented toward actions, tasks and transactions”. AI platforms are constantly provided data as the Internet of Things grows. This adds an element of predictability to voice search, as AI uses your contextual data to understand what you want.
SEO executives need to be open-minded in this new approach and focus on understanding what a customer actually means when they are searching. Going against traditional SEO, this could mean focusing on long-tail keywords and full phrases. Websites can be set up to answer the types of questions asked via voice search. The word choice in these questions can give insight into customer intent.
For example, if a customer asks “What does a Smart TV do?”, it is likely they are just curious. However, if they ask “Where can I buy a Smart TV?”, they are more likely to act on this query. If your goal is to sell a product, then SEO should aim to answer the latter of these questions. By providing the answers to action-oriented questions, you are more likely to convert searches to purchases.