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What do you need to know about Google Voice Search Optimization?

The foundation is being created for a surge in voice search over the next two years; is your business going to be ready? Current forecasts have an expectation that voice search will make up half of all search queries by 2020, a date that is just around the corner. So what do you need to know about Google Voice Search optimization to ensure your business will be poised for success? As a top website development company we wanted to share our insights to help you prepare for this exciting and inevitable shift.

Understanding search

The way Google, and other web browsers, work is by using algorithms and variables to try and find you the most likely web pages matches based on the search terms you use. The goal is simple; provide you with useful and relevant results.

Currently Google looks to analyze the specific words you type in to the search bar. It will guess about misspelled words, consider the category of information that is being searched for, look at keywords, and even take your location into account.

Variables also play a part in the results such as using “@” in front of a word to search social media. Or when you add the “$” sign it knows to search for a price. These variables allow for very precise searches and results; however that will change when looking to interpret voice searches.

Optimizing for Voice Search

Google has already released introductory guidelines for Search Speech. While it is always good to read all of Google’s provide notes, we will summarize the key points:

  • Spoken responses will be translated – By this they mean that Google will interpret how people speak in a specific manner, effectively aiming to translate it into search parameters.
  • Actual words used – The words people say will have the biggest overall impact to voice search. One of the perceived problems is that people often speak less clearly compared to typing words into a search bar. Often this happens because people have to take more time inputting information using a keyboard which offers more time to think about the words being used. Speech tends to be less precise. Optimization will need to factor in the words used, the order which they are used in, and grammatical correctness.
  • Length of query – One advantage voice search has over traditional search is that people often use more words which can make the matching process easier for algorithms. On a desktop a user might input four specific search terms and then will visually scan the top few answers to find the most relevant. With a voice search often more words are used which can then lead to Google to determine which information is the most important. At the same time that means you need to use more long-tail keywords and phrases that match what people are saying when they search.
  • General satisfaction – This is an important part of any website; how much satisfaction does the information you offer provide users? This is another way to state the concept of relevancy, which has always been a key component of search.
  • Eloquence of speech – The actual sound of the language will most likely be the most difficult piece of the optimization puzzle. Pronunciation, speech patterns, use of certain words and the like will not always be easy to interpret especially with younger users and non-native speakers of a language. Younger users are more prone to using slang that may not yet be mainstream enough to rate in search along with looser user of grammar.

An important thing to remember about voice search is that currently it is in its early stages therefore we can and should expect it to evolve. As people become more comfortable in its use we will gain a better understanding of how different groups will utilize it. For now, adding more long-tail keywords is an excellent starting point as a way to improve optimization. You should also think about the types of question people often have related to your business and its products or services which will allow the creation of pages to your site that focuses on these more conversational search terms.

The bottom line is that you should be aware of Google Voice Search optimization as a concept that will need to be invested in to stay competitive in searches. Even if you don’t make any large changes now, you definitely need to make some in the future as the percentage of users who will use this search option is going to increase.

Be sure to check back every week for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.

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