The OK Google voice feature uses audio/verbal capabilities to open apps, change settings, and of course, perform online searches. This feature first became available in 2008, with English being the only language until the following year when Japanese was included. Since then, Google voice search features more than 50 languages.
Being such a high-profile search engine, it comes as no surprise that Google’s voice search feature has become a topic of conversation within the business industry, with many wondering how to bridge the SEO gap between traditional online search and voice search. Most U.S. adults using this method of search range in age from 35 – 45 years, making up a large chunk of the consumer population.
Recently, a study was carried out regarding Google voice search and the underlying factors which catapult a search to success in terms of optimization. 10,000 Google Home search results were analyzed to determine what people are searching for, how companies are answering them, and what influences searchers most. This is what was learned:
Short and Simple Answers
Something important to note regarding Google voice search is that the results searchers receive range from 25-30 words on average. This means that the information searchers are getting to start with is minimal and needs to be pertinent. To make important information more accessible to Google, website owners may need to format pages so that this information can be easily drawn to form answers.
The answers being supplied through Google voice search are also extremely simple. This is likely to take into consideration the age and education levels of those searching. In the future, Google may change results to reflect the reading level of those searching, but for now, results are meant to be universally understood, so website owners should minimize jargon and verbose content.
Loading and Speed
When formatting your pages for better voice search optimization, many of the usual traits of a successful site must be taken into consideration, including loading time and speed. In fact, the study found that most pages outfitted specifically for voice searches loaded in approximately 4.6 seconds, much faster than the basic page found in a traditional search. These sites are most successful because the voice searcher is looking for convenience and speed. Most of these individuals are using voice because they don’t have time or the means to type out a question. The longer it takes for search results to arrive following a voice query, the more likely it is that a competitor site will take first place in the ranking flow.
Social Media Matters
In the world of voice searches, a page’s relation to social media makes a difference. According to the above-mentioned study, the most successful results have approximately 1,199 shares on Facebook and 44 tweets. This could be due to the way that voice searches quickly scan data, pulling important facts and figures first. Information which is shared, linked, or mentioned in various places across the internet is more likely to be considered accurate over information which is in one place only.
More Content Means Better Results
Google has always been a fan of authoritative and genuine content, which is why many top-ranking sites have such large collections of blog posts or online articles to read. The same is true of voice searches, in which the most successful pages have an average word count of 2,312. Having articles, blog posts and other content raging over 2,000 words in length could be helpful to securing a place among the top ranking voice searches of the web.
Keywords Hold Less Meaning
In the competitive world of SEO, it isn’t uncommon to see site owners create individual pages, or individual pieces of content to display each keyword they wish to rank for. When it comes to voice search, however, this method of online marketing is meaningless. The majority of voice search results don’t actually contain the keyword used by the searcher. The voice search system takes the keyword used and searches for relevant content using different parameters than the average search. This means that sticking to long, simple, and honest content is best for voice search ranking.
Online Rank Matters
If you want to rank higher in a voice search, it helps to rank high already. Research shows that websites which are already on the top of Google’s result list will also show up first during a voice search. This is because unlike an online search which provides tens of hundreds of results for the user to click on, open, and read, voice search only supplies one answer. To guarantee that this answer is accurate, Google really digs to find the most obvious, popular, and genuine content relating to a query possible.
Featured Snippets Show First
If your site, or page is featured in a snippet, you can be sure that you’re a contender for a Google voice search. These Google snippets are used online because they are considered safe and trusted content, so Google can assume that it’s authority is genuine, and it will work as the one answer to a voice query.
Google’s voice search has gained popularity over the years, and these latest changes to its optimization process only proves that it’s going to continue to grow from here. For more changes and updates to voice search, keep an eye on the Google news page and continue formatting your sites to stay modern.