OK Google, tell me more about voice search

Are you still typing your queries in Google’s search bar? Desperately old-fashioned. Do you use a remote control to find movies on your television? Then you have probably lived under a rock. All right, we admit we may be exaggerating a little, but it’s a fact that you can talk directly to your devices to execute searches, check your mail or play your favorite music. A rapidly growing amount of the searches in search engines are completed using voice search.

In less than a year the number of voice commanded searches using virtual assistants such as GoogleNow, Siri and Cortana has taken a flight. 2 out 5 adults perform a voice search at least once per day. Experts expect that by 2020 half of all searches will be performed using voice search. What does this mean for the SEO strategy of social influencers?

How does it work?

Voice search is a voice recognition technology that allows the user to use his or her voice to give commands. Digital assistants like GoogleNow and Siri recognize the spoken command and execute the desired action. For example, ask Google a spoken question and the search engine provides you an answer.

There are two important reasons for the increased use of voice search. First of all the explosive growth is triggered by the increased accuracy of the technology. Long gone are the times when questions were completely misinterpreted and you would often get hilarious answers. Besides that, the technology is becoming available in more and more languages. These improvements have ensured a system that is incredibly user-friendly; with voice search you can control your devices completely hands free, making it possible to use them while driving your car or when you are busy with – for example – cooking or doing the dishes.

The ability to give voice commands has major consequences for the way we use search engines. First of all, there is a huge difference between a spoken question (Google, how much rain did the Netherlands get last year?) And a typed query (rain Netherlands 2018). In addition, you no longer need to scroll through the search results and open a page to find an answer. Your digital assistant will immediately give an answer to your question. This means you only get one search result and not hundreds or thousands like with a typed search query. 

SEO and voice search

As an influencer, how can you adjust your SEO-strategy and prepare your website or blog for this increase in use of voice search? First of all, it is becoming very important to have conversational keyphrases. Don’t focus on just a single keyword, but on long-tail keyphrases. These are longer and more specific sentences. Because the keyphrase is longer and more specific, the amount of possible results is limited, increasing the chance your content comes up first if your page is optimized. When formulating keyphrases, use natural speech patterns. Humans are curious creatures and we love to ask when, why and what questions, especially when we use voice search. Use these type of questions when you create your long-tail keyphrases. 

Because voice search applications want to be able to answer questions quickly, make sure your pages load as fast as possible. As phones are our favorite devices to get an answer to all our questions, it is also important to ensure that your content is optimized for mobile devices.

Although voice search is still relatively small, the amount of voice-driven commands is growing incredibly fast. It is expected that next year 50 percent of all searches will be conducted using voice search technology. A large proportion (30 percent) of the commands will be given without a screen in sight. That is why it is so important for influencers to position themselves now and prepare for a future where voice commands are the main way to use search engines.