What’s Important When it Comes to Voice Search?
Digital marketers are all abuzz about voice search these days. It’s the newest hot topic in SEO, but many don’t understand what drives this form of search. More people than ever are using voice search to find the information they need on devices like smartphones and Google Home. It’s a convenient, hands-free way to search, but it poses new implications for marketers.
To best strategize campaigns, you and your marketing staff will need to gain insight into what types of criteria are essential to rankings for this type of search. With its ever-increasing popularity, voice search is here to stay. Therefore, you’ll need to understand how this trending format can impact your best practices and bottom line.
Marketers need to know how to best optimize their company’s site for voice search. The criteria differ from those of traditional SEO. Understanding the most important ranking factors for voice search will help ensure that your site remains competitive and is discoverable by more potential customers. Take a look below for guidance on what matters most when optimizing your content for voice search.
When it comes to any search engine optimization, the pages that have a high readability score tend to rank better. This is especially true for voice search. Search engines are better able to find content that’s well-written and structured in a straight-forward manner. Voice search relies on easy to understand answers. This is true across various types of devices. Smartphones may deliver even more simply formatted information since users can both hear and read the results.
It makes sense that voice search would rely on page speed and quick page loading times. A search by voice tends to load in about half the time of a webpage search. Therefore, the only way your page will stand a chance of being delivered in a voice search is if its load speed is optimized. This is particularly true for voice speaker devices like Google Home. Smartphone speed will be a bit slower because visual page load elements must still be processed.
Studies show that, on average, the word count of a voice search result hovers at around 41 words. Similar results were found across various types of devices that allow search by voice. Smartphones may have slightly higher counts since text can also be read, along with the provided audio. However, the results weren’t significantly higher. A general rule for voice search is that it’s best to supply brief answers.
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Voice search is entirely consistent with traditional search engine placement. Results primarily come from the first page of organic search results. When using a voice speaker device, users can expect approximately 98% of delivered query answers to be taken from the first page of search engine results. Smartphone results rank slightly lower, with 93% percent coming from the first page. It’s best to shoot for the top four positions within search engine rankings if you want to be found through voice search.
As with a more traditional desktop or mobile search, backlinks are essential in voice search queries. A strong backlink profile ensures a higher domain authority. Backlinks matter because searches, whether by voice or text, rely on obtaining the most accurate and reliable information to rank highly. With voice search specifically, this is even more relevant to voice speaker devices than it is to smartphones.
The term “SERP feature” refers to any search result on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that isn’t among the traditional organic results. These include things like Featured Snippets, Knowledge Graphs, Top Stories, Reviews, and Answer Boxes. A majority of voice search results have been determined to come from a SERP feature. Featured Snippets are especially relevant to results from voice speaker devices. Featured Snippets are the short summaries that usually are found before other SERP features, near the top of the page. The People Often Ask feature plays prominently in results retrieved by smartphone voice searches. Therefore, you’re in good shape if your site ranks well for Featured Snippets or People Often Ask features.
Three other factors have been determined to play a little role when it comes to ranking in voice search. These are schema, HTTPS, and URL depth. The majority of voice search results do use a schema; however, the most prevalent type is inconclusive. Schema markup improves general search rank because it makes it easy for engines to parse written content. This isn’t the case with search by voice. HTTPS and URL depth are also factors that haven’t proven to make a significant difference in voice search rankings. HTTPS adds additional security to websites. This is a practice that is highly recommended by Google. Thus, most voice and traditional search results ranking at the top are already likely to be secure. It’s wise to ensure your site is HTTPS compliant if you haven’t done so already. URL depth refers to a site’s directory structure. As with traditional content search, having a clear, shallow, and simple URL structure is also recommended in voice search.
These findings should help you to prepare your site’s voice search strategy more efficiently and successfully. While several factors that are crucial to traditional high rankings also matter when it comes to voice, some components are quite different.
Page ranking, load speed and SERP features like holding a Featured Snippets position are of primary importance when you’re planning for voice search. Be sure your site is found in the top results for primary keywords, your page loads quickly and that you strive to achieve a spot in Featured Snippets or People Often Ask.
As the use of voice search features on smartphones and speaker devices becomes even more popular, these strategies will be crucial to your marketing efforts. Incorporating the information you’ve learned here will increase your success when it comes to voice search rankings.