Voice recognition technology is nothing new. However, it has only recently become popular. When Apple released Siri, few users took advantage of the function — in 2013, only 15 percent of iOS users reported using it, according to a poll from Intelligent Voice. Now, in 2017, these numbers have drastically changed, with 55 percent of teenagers and 41 percent of adults using voice search more than once a day, according to the Mobile Voice Study by Google.
Voice Recognition Is the Future
There is a good reason why more people are using voice recognition technology than before — it is much more reliable. The error rate is now just 8 percent, a significant decrease from two years ago when the error rate was more than 20 percent. The technology is also better able to understand common phrases, and put queries into context. Add to this the convenience of the technology — hands-free, it makes it easier for users to multi-task — it’s no surprise that voice recognition is becoming the new norm for Internet searches.
The Impact on SEO
The trend toward voice search has a big impact on digital marketing. To stay in the game, marketers need to adapt their SEO strategy. Luckily, nothing too complicated is involved.
1. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
Digital marketers have been shifting to long-tail keywords for a while now. This has only become more important as people turn to voice search. People tend to speak to their devices in full sentences rather than using just a couple words, as is still common for many text searches.
2. Optimize for Questions
When typing, it is practical to just write the most important words and omit any fillers. In contrast, it is more common in voice search to ask questions. To send users to your content, think about what unique questions you can answer.
A tool like FAQFox can help you achieve this. Input a keyword and the tool will provide you a list of questions your target audience is asking across the Internet. Choose just the ones that are relevant to your business and create blog content around them. You can also optimize for questions by adding a page of FAQs. Either way, you can add question words like “who,” “what,” “where,” “why,” and “how.
3. Take Advantage of Local SEO
Voice recognition technologies are now being built in to desktop computers. A prime example is the latest OSX, which has Siri integrated for online and computer searches. However, people still use mobile devices more than desktop computers for voice search, often to seek services and activities nearby. Local businesses have an excellent opportunity to capitalize on these behaviors.
Mobile devices are aware of users’ locations. This means users can use voice search to ask for information about their surroundings without even specifying a city. Back in August, 2013, already 83 percent of people were searching for local businesses on their smartphones at least once a week, and another 58 percent made such searches on a daily basis, according to a survey by Meditative Spotlight. With voice search, this has only become easier. All local businesses need to do to benefit from the growing trend is use keywords that include nearby sites, landmarks, and neighborhoods.
4. Use Schema and Knowledge Graphs
Schema markups and knowledge graph markups need to be present throughout your website. This ensures search engines understand what content your website contains. Already useful in text searches, they are even more helpful for voice searches.
Every few years, we see some huge change that impacts digital marketing. The businesses that profit are those that jump on the bandwagon from the start. This year, a major change will be the move toward voice search. If you want to maintain your visibility, you need to start optimizing for voice search now.