Let’s take a look at the growing range of digital assistants and how to optimise for increasingly popular voice searches.
The truth is, voice search is on the rise with no indication of slowing down. Have you optimised your website for voice queries? Your competitors may have already been ahead of the curve and begun optimising their content for digital assistants, and if so, you could be losing out on valuable traffic, leads and sales.
If you haven’t started to optimise for voice search, don’t worry, we’ve put together a refresher that covers the most popular digital assistants and what you can do to make your website voice search ready.
Voice Search and the mobile experience
The way that search operates on mobile was quite the surprise to many webmasters. When the mobile “revolution” occurred, a lot of websites were caught off guard, as marketers and SEOs alike thought that old school websites would rank just as well on mobile as they did on desktop. They learned the hard way that a whole new form of optimisation had to be implemented in order to satisfy mobile platforms.
The same approach can be said for voice search. Many people are opting to ignore it entirely, despite research showing that a whopping 50 percent of all searches will be voice-activated by 2020. With that said, we can assume that even more than half of searches will be done via voice after 2020.
But what are the most popular digital assistants for voice search?
You may already be familiar with the Google Assistant, a smartphone app which is triggered by the “Hey Google?” command. Running directly off of the Google search index, this digital assistant essentially does the Googling for you.
Google Assistant can be further enhanced with Google Actions, which links to other smart devices, such as your home lighting.
Google Home & Google Home Hub
Google Home is a standalone device that makes use of Google Assistant. Rather than downloading the app to your mobile device, Google Home comes with the software already installed.
The Google Home device itself is essentially a small speaker, whilst the Home Hub has a screen which allows for video. Google have already made it clear that Youtube will be playing a big part in the Home Hub, so it’s important to optimise accordingly. This means creating how-to content on both your website, and as video content on Youtube.
In general, the Google Assistant pulls data from Google properties first – maps, YouTube, rich results, knowledge graph, etc., so it’s essential to align with Google assets.
A direct contender with Google Home and Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa links directly to Amazon’s online shopping facilities. In addition to this, it will also answer voice queries, linking with the Bing search engine. This goes to show that Bing is hugely relevant to SEO, particularly when it comes to optimising for voice search.
Anyone with an iPhone knows that Siri is embedded into their device. All you have to do is hold the home button and give Siri a command. Unlike some of its peers, Siri doesn’t respond to voice queries with audible answers. Instead, it returns mobile search results. Siri also remembers your routines across apps and displays helpful suggestions on the lock screen or in search.
You could argue that Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri. It’s no surprise that Cortana gets its information from Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. “Cortana lets you achieve more while doing less.” That’s Microsoft’s boast about its intelligent assistant.
How to optimise for Voice Search
The key to optimising for voice search and digital assistants is that you give your website the best chance of being featured as rich results in Google. It’s not as straightforward as it sounds, however, here are the best practices to put in place in order to aim for those rewarding featured spots:
- Focus on conversational questions
- Optimise for local SEO
- Optimise your page speed
It’s too early to tell if the entire search landscape will change based on digital assistants and voice queries, however it’s a good idea to start changing the way you serve content to accommodate the growing trend, rather than be left behind by your competitors.