VSO is the next big thing and it’s already here. If you are into Search Engine Optimization and have a strategy planned out for your clients, think twice before you actually start working on the projects and ask yourself whether you have included VSO in your strategy? In this article, we will be discussing the VSO impacts on SEO.
It may not be currently the most dominant factor, but it will enter the SEO practices completely very soon and there are already ways that VSO impacts SEO. But what is that actually?
What is VSO?
VSO stands for Voice Search Optimization and it is also called sometimes simply Voice Search SEO. Whenever you say “Hey Google” and search something using your voice instead of typing in queries, you perform a voice search.
Yes, it seems basically the same as typing in. In most of the cases, the software will simply recognize the words you are saying and type them in for you before your results are displayed.
But hang on a moment, there are actually two types of results here – one is the traditional offer of web pages that correspond to your voice search query and the other is the immediate response to your question that the robotic voice reads to you directly.
When you press the microphone button on Google and ask “What is voice search?”, your phone will start reading the answer for you immediately. This and several other factors make all the difference in SEO. Read on!
A Short History of Voice Search
Google Voice Search was first introduced actually in 2002. In fact, the users could make voice search queries by calling a certain number and saying the words after the beep. This was a really interesting process but it simply was not used as it was rather impractical.
Fast forward to 2012, Google finally decided to go public with this technology and released an app for iOS which functioned as a Google Voice search. At that time, Siri was already popular but it turned out that Google’s solution was much more powerful.
The whole story ends up with Google Home and other assistants which are currently the pinnacle of the voice search revolution.
How does VS work?
There are many pieces of software that use voice search such as Google Home, Apple’s Siri, Echo and Alexa by Amazon, etc. Whenever people want to search for something they ask and get the answer.
Google and other platforms simply recognize your words. The figures here actually improved over the years from 80% to 92% nowadays. Of course, there is still a lot of room for improvement. These programs use a complex voice recognition algorithm and simply translate it into search queries.
How are the results displayed?
When someone searches something, a text snippet from your page can be the one that will be read by Siri and other robotic voices. In fact, this happens 87% of the time nowadays which means that someone did a really good optimization job to be the first results and have their article snippet read as an answer.
Therefore, improving traffic to your website can also be through battling to emerge to the first place and provide the answer to the voice search questions. But how?
Voice search and the users
It is important to understand that most of the users who communicate with the voice search software implement the conversational style of speaking. Let’s say that you want to find out more about voice search on Google.
A possible example of a written query would look something like this – “about voice search.” But you will never have such form when asking questions using your voice. In fact, you will utilize the conversational style and this is what makes all the difference. A typical example of conversational style would involve a question – “what is voice search?”
Therefore you need to optimize your content to suit a more conversational style (make your headlines seem like questions, for example.) This is simply because, when speaking, people need to make grammatical sense and adopt the normal conversational style as if they were talking to another person in the room.
How is VS used on mobiles?
But Alexa, Google Home, and other devices are not the only ones that use voice search. In fact, 20% of the users search using their voice on mobile phones. It is a completely natural behavior that which will increase in the future. Think of it simply like this – it is easier to push one button and say something than to type in through the small keyboards that smartphones have.
This means that when optimizing your site for voice search, you should also make sure that it is mobile-friendly in order to maintain conversions.
VSO impacts SEO tips
Voice Search will not change your SEO strategy a lot, but there are still several things that you need to consider if you want to improve this rapidly growing area.
First of all, you need to take into account that people search for something local most of the time. The most basic question that one can ask is “Where to eat?” Now, you probably do not own a restaurant in order to incorporate such a question to your strategy, but it is important to localize your business as it will more likely pop up to the people who are in your area and search for a product that you offer.
Schema Markup is a type of scripting language that is created by the famous search engines in order to harvest more structured data from the website. For example, when you see a review in form of the stars on Google results pages, it means that someone pointed out via Schema Markup that they want this piece of data displayed on Google.
The same way, you can use Schema Markup to mark the snippets that are suitable answers for certain search queries. If done properly, your text snippets are more likely to appear as the #1 result.
Adapt Conversational Style
We already mentioned the importance of the conversational style. It is up to the creativity of the writers and the researchers to find out the most common search queries for your niche and implement them so that the voice search can reach them. Simply, when putting a blog post together, start thinking what conversational queries can be related to your products or business. Also, this means that keywords should not be neglected. In fact, keywords should also be the main aspect of optimization.
Add Long-Tail Keywords
There is a small difference in approaching keywords when incorporating VSO into your strategy. Simply due to the fact that conversational language is naturally more lengthy it is only natural to implement the keywords that are longer.
Therefore not only research but also brainstorm what would the most logical questions for your line of business be. Once you get that right, you can implement it onto your website.
One of the strategies to implement all of those questions is to make an FAQ page which will have a simple FAQ format Question-Answer. They will all have those relevant long-tail keywords that are actually the questions the possible leads may ask Google.
Once you mark this page as important for voice search using the Schema, you are on a really good path to implement the VSO into your SEO strategy.
Google Business Optimization
The localization of your business that was mentioned earlier can be done by filling in your Google My Business profile which will also significantly impact the results. However, Google is not the only one to offer such a feature and you should make sure to do the same thing with Bing Places.
Also, make sure to research other directories for businesses online and leave a trace of your business wherever possible – this will significantly impact the search queries of the people that are in your area.
2018 is the years when the voice search started going up a lot, although the whole process started several years ago. Naturally, every SEO enthusiast and the expert must explore this new option as it will impact the way we search for things on Google and other search engines.
It is definitely going to gain more popularity in the very near future and introducing a VSO strategy is not an option anymore – it is a necessity.