Specialists predict a real change in user habits by 2020. Indeed, 30% of searches could be done from voice search. While this estimate is plausible on the other side of the Atlantic, it still seems a little too optimistic for France. However, French SEO specialists are already working to understand the mechanisms behind the results of voice search. In SEO, anticipation is indeed the key to success. This is all the more true for voice search, which directly affects content, which is the most time-consuming part of SEO.
What is voice search?
Voice search essentially allows users to dictate their search to their phone or tablet, rather than typing keywords on their keyboard. The technology used is capable of understanding what the user is saying with extreme accuracy. The answer is then given orally by the device and can be supplemented with traditional search results. Voice search is used by programs such as Google AssistantThe most popular are Siri, Cortana (Microsoft) and Alexa (Amazon).
Devices like Google Home or Alexa are able to scan the Spotify music database, "read" Wikipedia or find a product on Amazon at the user's request. This performance demonstrates the value of optimising our websites today so that they can meet the needs of users in the future.
What is the impact of voice search on the ranking of natural search results?
This new search mode revolutionizes the user's experience, which is why
Search engines such as Google are placing increasing emphasis on voice search optimization. The aim of natural referencing is indeed to classify websites in a relevant way so that users can find the information they are looking for as quickly as possible. In January 2018, there were no less than one billion voice searches per month worldwide, but voice search and traditional SEO are still fundamentally different. As a result, certain factors that influence site rankings may or may not have the same effect on voice search and vice versa. There is therefore today an artistic blur around voice search, but you can already develop certain optimization axes that will allow you to balance the two strategies of traditional and voice search referencing.
How to optimize your site for voice search?
When Internet users use voice search, they may have several intentions: to buy, to play a music or video or to find information on a subject. However, despite these very different intentions, Google uses the same algorithm to make its rankings.
Here are 6 recommendations to improve your voice search positions:
Identify research intent
One of the first steps is to determine the search intent behind a voice command. Rather than relying on an impression, use tools such as Answer the public which will tell you the questions asked around a request.
Favour questions rather than affirmative sentences
Faced with ever more powerful programs, users tend to literally ask questions to their device, just as they would to a real person. Questioning pronouns (how, where, why...), which until now seemed to be meaningless, have now become indispensable.
When users search for content on their desktop or mobile phone, they go straight to the point and focus on short sentences. For example, an Internet user looking for a ranking of the best restaurants in Paris would type "best restaurants Paris". But if he uses voice search, he would instead say, "What are the best restaurants in Paris? Moreover, these pronouns help to better target the user's search intention. A user who asks "how to do ...", is looking for a guide or tutorial on a specific subject.
Questions can also be a major asset in the race to the zero position. Answering a need or answering a question is an excellent way to generate traffic through voice search.
Taking care of its ergonomics
Ergonomics is today more than ever a determining factor in natural referencing and for users. Just like traditional search engine optimization, Google voice search favors websites that load quickly. This means you need to make sure you offer a responsive site that is compatible with all mobile devices. To ensure that your pages load quickly, you'll need to optimize and compress images and files, use caching, or reduce server response time. The Google PageSpeed Insight tool will provide you with an exhaustive list of all possible optimizations for your pages.
Optimize local referencing
Local SEO has conquered the web for several years. Search engines are seeing a growing number of companies creating their own platforms by focusing their SEO strategy on local search. When it comes to common voice searches, such as "what's the best sushi restaurant in ...?". a large number of users tend to search for establishments near their home or location. Optimizing your site for voice search gives you an advantage over local competition and vice versa.
Using the long tail in short sentences
To ensure that your content is optimized for voice search, you should include keywords from the long tail that are more "natural", as opposed to shorter, catchier keywords that work better in traditional search results. In addition, sentences should be short and simple. So even if your content is complex, break it down so that it becomes easy for anyone to understand.
NB: Although short sentences should be preferred, the overall content should be consistent. Longer articles are always better ranked in the voice search and traditional search lists. Aim for at least 1000 to 2000 words for competitive sectors.
Aiming for the zero position
A featured snippet, also called zero positionis a summary response of a web page. In desktop search listings, these excerpts appear just after the paid ads but before the organic search listings. To give you the best chance, include a concise summary of your main content above the text, about 29 words (average number of words in the zero position). Paragraphs that use Hn tags, lists and bullets are easily readable by Google and work well too. Also, be sure to include your long tail keywords among the keywords used.
Voice search therefore seems to be part of the future of SEO and it is best to prepare for it now. By applying these few effective tips, you may be able to use voice search to your advantage and stay ahead of your competitors. You must keep in mind that natural language (re)becomes essential for robots to understand your page, which means that you need to create more "conversational content". This means that you need to create more "conversational content", which must answer specific questions with correct answers, which you can continue to enrich with structured data.