Google Voice Search and SEO
February 23, 2018
Google’s digital assistant and voice search speakers, the Google Home and the Google Home Mini, were incredibly popular Christmas gifts this year. Now that the excitement of Christmas has passed, are you still using your Google Home, or perhaps your Amazon Echo? It seems that the definitive answer is yes, but what do you use it for?
The type of queries people are voice searching is important to understand when considering SEO and online marketing. If someone is saying, “Hey Google, what should I have for lunch?” it’s very different from someone searching “chinese restaurant london”. As you can imagine, these two searches will yield different results. It’s good to be specific, but it’s also smart to show up in searches for local businesses because when you ask Google that first question, it tends to offer up restaurants nearby.
When they use their voice assistant, people tend to talk to it like another person, whereas when they type a query, it tends to be written in as few characters as possible. The Google voice assistant also treats these questions differently than it would if you were typing them into your search bar.
Most of the time, however, people aren’t asking their voice assistant questions like this. Instead, they are asking it to do something. “Set a timer.” “Text Mom.” Another common one is, “What’s the weather?” But with voice assistant usage growing, and features becoming more and more intuitive, that’s soon going to change. ComScore predicts that in just two years – 2020 – 50% of searches will be done through voice assistants. This means query intent is incredibly important; understanding the kind of searches that indicate a customer is ready to buy can help you optimize your site for voice assistants.
Currently, Google offers featured snippets, which consist of a sentence or two which help explain or answer your query. You will see them in a box at the top of your Google search, link included, or hear the Google assistant read it to you through your Google Home. Google then sends that link to your phone, too. Using featured snippets is Google’s response to needing to provide an answer through a voice assistant, rather than a series of links. Search Engine Optimization comes into play with voice search, because you need relevant content and keywords to have your site come up as a featured snippet or you need to have your Google My Business updated and monitored.
With the voice assistant revolution just dawning, businesses will need to ensure their sites are optimized for the kinds of searches done without a screen. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to change the way we do search engine optimization, but it does demonstrate how important it is to be on the very top of Google’s list for relevant searches.