January 2022

Voice Search Optimization: the same, but different

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Geerten Schollaart
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  • "How does a solar panel work?"
  •  "Where is the nearest gas station?"
  •  "Why is the sky blue?"
  • "What is a hybrid heat pump?"

At our upMention office, when writing this blog about voice search optimization, people nod in agreement: we also talk more and more to our phones, smart speakers and computers. And with that, we are in line with the trend. Official Dutch figures are still few, but internationally more than 50% of searches on Google will be spoken by 2022.

According to Google, mass adoption would occur once an accuracy in recognizing the voice searches of at least 95% is achieved. As soon as 95 of every 100 words you utter are properly understood, the frustration is so low that ease of use prevails. With machine learning, among other things, Google thinks it will eventually reach this level.

The same, but different

Research shows that users use oral search as follows:

• 68% use it to find out facts.
• 65% are looking for directions.
• 47% are looking for a company.
• 44% are looking for a product or service.

In principle, verbal searching is not very different from traditional Googling. Be it not that Google gives much more space to non-sponsored results in this form of search. As soon as you ask Google a question via your phone, the oral answer uses the 'normal' results. And with a Smart Speaker, there is no screen, and you will never encounter an advertisement at all.

And honest = fair: we do not see Google using spoken ads for the time being. That is dramatic for the user experience. With the normal search results page of Google, you can decide to scroll through, but that is not possible if it concerns a spoken answer via a smart speaker. It seems that Google is focusing on market share for the time being and not on profit maximization through oral search.

What is not, may yet come, but for now, this offers the opportunity to appeal to the growing group of users via Voice Search Optimization with quality website content.

Voice Search Optimization: the steps

1. Find out the questions that are being asked. In principle, you can expand all the major search terms of your target group with the 5W1H method. So you ask questions around that search term that start with 'who', 'what', 'where', 'when', 'why' and 'how'. You can also use traditional tools for keyword research.
2. It is then important that you incorporate a simple, concise answer to all those questions into your website. Usually, the answer that Google gives is around 30 words. Note: It is not necessary to create a page per question. There sometimes even seems to be a preference in the algorithm for a page with a large amount of information.
3. You can indicate to Google in the source that it is a question and answer, but our experience is that even without those indications, Google understands how your website is organized. Nevertheless, it is our preference to do the formatting via Schema Markup.
4. All basic aspects of search engine optimization then support the findability, so: (A) the technique of the website (B) the user-friendliness of the website and (C) the number of other websites with a link to your website and the specific page with question and answer.

In short

As soon as you decide that you want to influence as many people as possible with your information in the long term, Google Voice Search Optimization is an opportunity. It is the way to catch up with all competitors with panting advertising campaigns with good, valuable information that you can find in the 'normal' results of Google.

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