Voice Search SEO Specialists
What is Voice Search?
Voice search can be summed up by the following statement/question.
Hey Siri! Where’s the closest petrol station to me?
That, in a nutshell, is what voice search is. Ask any AirPods user. Or any owner of a device that has Amazons Alexa or Google Assistant, and they will tell you how it has become more prevalent in their day-to-day lives.
So why is Voice Search SEO Relevant?
For years companies have built their websites based on traditional keyword strategies alone. But since late 2019 many of those companies have suffered a drop off in search results. Why?
BERT! No, not Ernie’s mono brow touting mate from Sesame Street, but the Google “Natural Language”Update from Q4 2019.
You see, the AI that produces your search results has traditionally struggled with the English language. And the way we tend to use it. Which is why it has been so dependent on ‘Keywords” over the years. Consider the statement “I’m going to the Bank”. Now as humans we can make assumptions about that statement. Such as, that person was talking about a home loan earlier in the day, therefore they must be referring to the sort of bank that provides home loans.
But if we take the same statement in isolation with no other context, it becomes a little more confusing. It could be that we are off to the river bank to go fishing. Or, we could be going to the bank to deposit some money. Either way if you apply that scenario and the nuance the English language throws up you can start to appreciate how hard search can be. We also get some insight into exactly how much potential information there is for a keyword based question.
Why is this relevant to voice search?
Great question. When we think about how we search today, it’s really us humans that have been trained by Google’s AI.
Think about it, we tend to feed it what it needs in order to give us the desired result. Example – today you are far more likely to search for your question using keywords. Example – if you wanted to know about a building company you might type “Building Company Auckland”. It’s unlikely you would type the full sentence you might use if you were speaking. But if we think about how we talk, and as a result, talk to AI. We tend to provide a much longer version of the question. That might sound something like this. “Hey Siri, what’s the best building company that specialises in home renovations near me”? The difference is in the additional text and the lack of location. So to summarise, what goes on today wasn’t happening pre-BERT as Google now has the ability to look at the additional text and understand the context of the sentence.
So, the AI will just find my website if I do that stuff?
Yea, nah. Perhaps it will if your company has given Google all the information it requires to make a decision. But often websites are just a series of pages stuffed full of keyword based info and that is only one part of the search equation. Google My Business, Google Review Rankings, Metadata, Meta Descriptions in Video and Images, Keywords and Schema. These all play an important role in Voice Search SEO and how Google makes its decision on what or who to present.
Why would I need to worry about this?
We’re asked this question a lot.
The question is usually accompanied by, “Siri is rubbish – don’t use it” or “I only use Alexa to start music at home”. Our answer is always the same.
Ok cool, maybe that’s what you do. But you’re not trying to sell to you… Right? You’re trying to sell to the 45 million people who use AirPods (At the current rate, more than 100 million people will be wearing AirPods at some point in 2021 – that’s just AirPods not including products like them). Therefore, as a result those people are far more likely to use voice search (Siri or Google Assistant) to search for locations of interest, or to search for a product before pulling out their device to complete the enquiry.
It’s going to become more and more reliable.
So people are going to use it more.
While you may not be the biggest user of voice search, today there is little doubt that voice search is where the trend is heading. As mentioned above Apple have sold over 45 million AirPods since their release and AirPods users are encouraged to use Siri for basic tasks like turning up the volume on music. Now they could have added this to one of the functions on the AirPods itself but that wouldn’t help them training Siri now, would it?
I think Elon Musk said it best in a recent interview with Joe Rogan while discussing his company Neural Link.
Musk stated that, today, we have more information than ever at our fingertips but the problem is how we interface with that information – our fingertips… Meaning we need to use our fingers or thumbs to type on our phones to get the information we need into the device.
Now, Elon’s vision is to put an interface directly into your brain, turning humans into hybrid’s. But the obvious step between our thumbs and full integration is voice. Which is why Google have made such a massive change in the way search works (BERT) and it’s ability to understand natural language. Ant this is why natural language and voice search SEO is so important.
Still need convincing?
Within the next two – three years the Apple Glasses will be released. The Apple Glass promises to deliver where the Google Glass failed.
Apple sources have stated that they envisage Apple Glasses to be used in conjunction with AirPods so that they can keep the design slim. To me this means we are going to see a reduction in the amount we physically interface with our phones. Simple data will now be displayed on the lens and things like “where is the nearest café” will become simple voice searches. The directions displayed on lens removing the need to pull our phones out.
So to bring this full circle, if your café isn’t registering because you have not paid any attention to your voice search SEO then the Apple Glasses user, aka potential customer. May just walk straight past you. This is happening today with AirPods users, but expect it to increase 10-fold in the coming years as these technologies become more prevalent.
With the information above its easy to envisage a future where contact lenses replace Apple Glasses and Neural Link replaces your iPhone. With those two in play we then become completely immersed in technology. How long that takes to become a reality is anyone’s guess but it’s not as far away as some might think.
So with all that said, you can see why making voice search SEO part of your overall SEO Strategy is crucial.