‘OK Google,’ Why Should I Optimize for Voice Search?

Date: August 16, 2018

Voice Search will become a vital component of all search strategies

Search technology concept. Voice recognition. Close-up optimized for voice search

“Ok, Google, find me the nearest gas station.”

“Ok, Google, how late is the Chicken Hut open tonight?”

“Ok, Google, where can I find the best Chinese food in my area?”

These are just a few of the questions you can ask Google, not by using your keyboard, but by just talking. It’s called voice search and it is not going away anytime soon.

Apple was the first to truly jump into the ring with Siri, then came Amazon with Alexa, and (unremarkably) Samsung with Bixby. But Google has been in the voice search game for quite a while as well, and when it comes to business performance, Google is the most important voice search of all.

If you want to perform a voice search with Google, you’ll need to use either Google Home or Google Assistant. (They didn’t give their system a weird AI Robot Name)

But it’s just a gimmick, right? Surely, people aren’t going to start performing all their searches by talking into devices?

Think again.

Voice search is here to stay, and Google is embracing it. And since the world of Search Engine Optimization rises and falls on the word of Google, that means voice search just became a whole lot more important for you and your business.

But why should you care about voice search, besides the fact that Google thinks it’s important? What can voice optimization do for your web site and your business as a whole?

Large Percentage of Search Queries

The people have spoken, and they like voice search. Google’s specific brand of voice search seems to be catching on like wildfire.

The company confirmed that more than 1/5 of their daily query traffic comes in the form of a voice search. And considering that Google sees upwards of a billion searches in any given day, that’s more than 200 million.

That number is only going to go up as Google continues to improve the service.

A lot of these searches are done on the go. Since police around the country are (rightfully) cracking down on cell phone use in the car, it makes sense that people are turning to voice search to get directions and find out what’s what when it comes to local businesses.

With voice search already taking up a whopping 1/5 of Google’s daily traffic, you need to optimize now or be left in the dust.

Rank for Featured Snippets

A featured snippet is a short blurb from a website that answers a user question. Something like “are tomatoes a fruit or vegetable” will likely give you a snippet first that attempts to answer the question followed by a list of links.

Featured snippets have become more valuable in the era of voice search because Google Assistant will actually read the snippet out loud to the user. When they do this, they typically say the name of the business. So, if you happen to own a website that answers a question like “are tomatoes a fruit or vegetable?” chances are Google will read your snippet aloud and say the name of your business to the user.

Voice Searches are More Actionable

Admit it, you’ve googled some random stuff sitting at your computer just wasting time. Voice searches don’t do that as much.

In fact, voice searches on Google are 30% more actionable than typed queries. What do I mean by actionable? Usually, a voice search query is about a place you want to go, something you want to do, or something you’re looking to buy.

You don’t often ask Google Assistant why the sky is blue, but you will ask it the operating hours of a local store or where you can get a specific kind of food.

Actionable Google searches are the bread and butter of SEO. Someone who is ready to make a purchase decision in a pinch moment is the perfect customer that you should be trying to reel in.

If a pipe bursts at 3 am, someone will turn to their Google Assistant and ask for a 24-hour emergency plumber. That person has an immediate need, they are ready to make a purchase, and by optimizing your site for voice searches, you’ll nab that business before your competitors.

It’s especially handy in the foodservice industry. If a couple is in the mood for hamburgers, they can just take out their phones.

“Ok, Google, where is the nearest hamburger restaurant?”

Your business pops up, Google tells them about you, and two new customers walk through your door.

What Can You Do?

smart phone with blank screen

If you’re ready to start optimizing your site for voice search, what do you need to know? Here are a few quick facts about how Google makes its selections.

First off, a website that loads fast has a better chance at being ranked for a voice search. Studies have shown that a site which loads faster than five seconds stands a much better chance of getting Google’s attention.

Also, posts and pages that have strong social engagement are typically more attractive to Google’s voice search algorithm, so get on those social sites and share, share, share.

Google is very big on HTTPS sites, going so far as to label any and all HTTP sites as unsafe moving forward. Google voice search is not going to read information off of a website that it deems unsafe.

Google Assistant also tends to stick to snippets somewhere in the range of 29 words in length, typically written at a ninth-grade reading level. So, keep it simple and effective.  

Start Optimizing for Voice Search Today

The internet search world is moving away from the written word and into the realm of voice searches. Don’t be the last person to decide to try this, because if you wait too long, you’ll never catch up.

The team at 9Sail is well versed in Google’s algorithm, both for organic typed search results and for Google voice search. If you want to get a leg up on your competition and start having Google Assistant sing your good graces, contact 9Sail today and let us help you optimize for voice search.

Contact us by calling (201) 632-1185, or reach out to us via our website.