Businesses have relied on managing and optimizing their websites for desktop searches in order to state their presence online. For years, optimization through the creation of blogs, backlinks, and content was enough to maintain relevance and a high ranking. With Google’s update, a new branch of Search Engine Optimization has been created in the form of Voice Engine Optimization.
What is Voice Engine Optimization?
Voice Engine Optimization (VEO) is Chatmeter’s trademarked term for voice-based search engine optimization. The process entails optimizing content, location and brand information to increase the likelihood of powering voice search results.
Why Should You Care?
Voice search is being used to find immediate on-the-go answers. Due to the popularity of voice-based mediums like Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Home; the environment of SEO is changing drastically. One in every six Americans now owns a Smart Speaker with 72% of owners stating their device has become part of their daily routine. At least 40% of adults now use voice search once per day. In 2017, Voice commerce was a $1.8 billion retail segment in the US ($200 million in the U.K.) depicting how influential voice-based search has become.
Google’s Hummingbird update has made semantic search an integral part of the search engine experience. The update allows the search engine to understand inference within a query. The intention behind a query is now just as important as the specificity surrounding it. For example, previously typing “today’s weather” into Google may not have provided you with the weather in your current location but rather weather channels for any location on the planet. You would have had to place your location within your search, for example, “weather in Miami today” to get the result for your specific locale. With the new update, Google already understands you are inquiring about the weather in your current location, you don’t need to add that into your query.
The update promotes voice-based searches because inferences are also found in normal speech patterns. As we talk, we don’t define our location or current standing, because the meaning is implied. In order to improve search abilities, Google’s AI read over 2,865 romance novels. Utilizing both aspects together, Google is more likely to provide specific search results that cater to answering a user’s questions. Considering the more conversational tone, it would benefit all webmasters and SEO professionals to relook at the language on their websites and ensure it fulfills the user’s intent.
In a desktop search, you are likely to experience eight to ten results from a number of optimized pages. Alternatively, a voice-based search will provide you with only one result. Ranking second, third or fourth doesn’t matter in a voice-based search.
Experts estimate 50% of all searches will be voice-based by the year 2020. This means if your website is not optimized through Voice Engine Optimization, no one will know you exist in a voice-based search.
How To Rank In A Voice Search?
Considering the influence voice-based search is going to have in the next few years, here are a few tips for Voice Engine Optimization.
Find Opportunities to Rank as an Answer Box Query
Google’s answer box provides a quick answer to any query placed in the search bar. Google Home’s algorithm answers voice-based queries with the results from these answer boxes. Optimizing your website content to rank in Position 0 ensures your website will be recommended in a voice-based search.
Focus on Being Local
Your location is influential in most voice searches. Mobile voice-related searches are three (3) times more likely to be local-based. Google My Business proves to be a great source for people searching for local businesses. Updating and optimizing your Google My Business listing will give you the best chance to be found in a voice-based search. YEXT also helps to improve the local presence of a company.
Adding Schema to your Marketing Scheme
Although schema doesn’t exactly help your business to be found in a voice-based search, it does help Google to understand the purpose of your business. The more Google understands your page, the more likely new customers will be able to find your page.
Optimize for Long Tail Keywords
The specificity of a desktop search encourages shorter sentences and shorter keywords. People don’t voice their questions the same way they might propose them during a desktop search. Optimizing your website and content with long-tailed keywords that answers certain questions with high search intent will increase the likelihood of being found in a voice-based search.
Full Site Optimization
According to a study, site speed, security and authority factor into the results provided by Google Home. As a result, optimizing your site’s domain and content will help to ensure you will be found during a voice-based search.
Mobile Optimization Above All
In comparison, 20% of people conduct their voice-based searches on their mobiles. Ensuring your site is mobile-friendly through faster and responsive pages, simple and easy UX, AMP pages and great content will increase the likelihood of being found online via a voice-based search.
Don’t Forget About Bing
Bing has the second largest market share in the US and serves as the search engine of choice for Alexa. Amazon’s Alexa controls 69% of the virtual assistant market with 39 million units in circulation, completely overshadowing Google Home’s meager 14 million units (31%). Google may be the largest search engine in the world, but don’t forget about Bing in terms of Voice Engine Optimization.
Test It Out
Voice-based search is still a relatively new concept. In order to be best prepared, you should test the voice-based function for yourself and optimize accordingly. Test the devices. Each device offers a different number of listings and takes information from different places. Finally, see where your site ranks in relation to your competitors for the same voice-based query.