Voice Search & It’s Importance in 2018
In 2016, Google claimed its voice recognition accuracy was at a staggering 92%, up from 75%. This huge improvement is making our life easier as voice recognition is quicker and easier than typing most of the time. It is expected that 2018 will see the growing popularity of voice searches as we are switching from barely using voice-based commands to using them all the time. Therefore, we are here to walk you through its important consequence to the industry and, very importantly, how to optimise for voice search.
How consumers rely on voice search today?
58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last 12 months. They want to use voice search for making reservations, hearing business prices, finding out which products those businesses have. 27% visit the website of a local business after making a voice search. The top 5 industries for voice searches are restaurants / Cafes (51%), grocers (41%), food delivery (35%), clothing stores (32%) and hotels / Bed & Breakfasts (30%) .
Research shows that people feel more comfortable to use voice search at home or in a car due to the high level of privacy.
Why optimize for voice search?
If you are still not yet convinced of the rise of voice search, its positive future outlook will definitely have you to re-think of it. According to Comscore, approximately 20% of all mobile searches are voice searches now, and half of all the searches will be voice-based by 2020.
In the U.S., voice commerce reached $1.8 billion in 2017, and it will considerably rise to $40 billion by the end of 2022. The U.K will also follow this pattern, up from $200 million to $5 billion by 2022.
How to optimize for voice search?
So, voice search is going to stay, and it’s not only a fad. As a marketer, are you ready to embrace this shake-up? A number of articles have been already released in 2018 to mind this trend. We also spent a good chunk of time to evaluate and identify some critical and direct factors of optimizing for voice search.
- Fast Loading Sites
The average voice search result page loads 52% faster. The speed exactly fulfils what people today are requesting, which is to get the enquires answered ASAP. If the website is slow, they will be impatient and simply leave. Therefore, if you want to rank in voice search, make sure your site loads as fast as possible since Google’s voice search algorithm use page loading speed as an important ranking factor. A useful tool: Get your site’s loading speed scored by Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
- HTTP-Secured Websites
It is discovered that HTTPS-based URLs are dominant Google voice search result, accounting for 70.4%. Therefore, HTTPS carry more weight in Google voice search, compared to Google desktop results that only 50% URLs adopted HTTPS.
- Short Voice Search Result
A short but to-the-point answer is welcome! The typical voice search result is only 29 words in length. More examples provided by Google’s Voice Search rater guidelines are shown below. Therefore, displaying unnecessary featured snippets in the SERP can harm the ranking, resulting in less visibility and engagement.
- Your site’s Domain Authority
Domain authority outweighs page authority in voice search. As discovered, the average domain rating of a voice search result can be as high as 76.8 while average page rating is only 21.1. Google seems to play down the influence of backlinks (the links pointing to a page) that a specific page can get. Instead, the overall website’s credibility matters.
- Shareable Page Content
Voice search results can generate a considerable number of social shares. On an average,1199 Facebook shares and 44 Twitter shares are found of a voice search result, while only half of all content on the web gets 2 Facebook shares or even less. So, a piece of the compelling, valuable and insightful story is critical to gain the top ranking of voice search result.
- Easy-To-Understand Content
Google may measure reading level and use it as a voice search ranking factor. The average voice search result is written at a 9th-grade reading level, meaning that the content should be easily understood by 14 to 15 years old. Publishing simple, easy-to-understand content may help with voice search SEO and better rank. So, besides an engaging content, marketers need to take care of the readability of content.
- Longer Content
Now, you have a piece of good and readable content. What you also need more about your content is the length as Google incline to look up for an answer from longer content. We found the average word count of a Google voice search results page to be 2,312 words. It serves as a good indicator for you to create your own one. Do a deep dive on your topic with in-depth research. The more words you have on the content, the higher the chances you get to match the voice search query. Of course, this also helps you to rank better in terms of voice search.
- Less Significant Title Tag
We all know the importance of title tag in the desktop / mobile search. Indeed. However, voice search does not share the same logic. The fact is that only 1.71% of voice search results have the exact keyword in the title tag. The reason is quite straightforward that voice searches are usually quite long that make the exact phrase less likely to fit in the limited space of a title tag. Google would rather crawl the entire page for a good fit for the voice search. A good insight for marketers is to pay more attention to the content that answers voice search queries.
- An FAQ Page
A frequently asked question (FAQ) page is highly suggested to be visible on the site. It is good and ready-to-go information for voice search as the content is already shaped in a question-and-answer format. To start with, you can try to look into what your customers usually ask or get some insights from the salespeople.
- Ranking in the desktop search result page
After all, we cannot forget the significance of desktop search. Google has the tendency to show people the voice search result based on the desktop search result. Pages that rank higher in desktop search are more likely displayed in voice search results. The fact is 74.9% of Google Home results are sourced from a page that also ranks in the top 3 for that keyword in the desktop SERPs. Now, we can see this obvious pattern between rankings in the desktop search result and that in voice search result.
Last but not least, marketers have to bear in mind that voice search happens a lot more on mobile than desktop. Please don’t torture your users by offering them a poor experience on the mobile site even if you do a good work on the content side. Another useful tool for you to check your mobile site’s friendliness: Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.