In the recent years, voice search has gained popularity and people are using voice search on their phones. The trend for voice search is growing every day because it is very easy to use and no hands are involved in the process. After the successful usage of voice search feature on mobile phones, Google announced that it will take voice search to desktop computing and last year Google did it. Google launched an always-on voice search feature for desktops. You just have to say “OK, Google” to start searching through voice. Voice search is different from typed searches as voice search needs more natural language instead of keywords to search. This makes voice search a challenge for SEO because there are no keywords used in voice search.
Voice Search - Challenges for SEO:
Google voice search is very beneficial for the users as it provides ease to their users but it also creates many potential challenges for the SEO’s. These challenges are:
- Need for conversational searches:
As voice search is different and it needs more natural language, the need for conversational searches will increase. There will be no emphasis on the keywords and the users will have to speak the whole search query. For example, if someone wants to search best restaurant in New York City, he/she might have to say which is the best restaurant in New York City? Google will answer by speaking the name of the restaurant. This makes search process more natural and it seems like the user is talking to some other person.
Google is continuously striving to make this conversational search more accurate as only direct answers will be given in case of conversational searches. The keyword usage is declining and it creates a greater challenge for SEO.
- Only one direct answer will be given:
As a result of conversational searches, only direct answers are given for any search queries. So, the answer needs to be more relevant to the search queries. Take example of best restaurant that is given above, if a user searches which is the best restaurant in New York City? Google must answer the name of the best restaurant only. Suppose the best restaurant in New York City is Daniel, then Google should answer Daniel, showing along it's Address, Contact, Website and Email (Only if business has put these information in Google My Business). This requires updating of information more frequently and accurately. If the answer Google provides to the user is not relevant or not correct, this will create problem for voice search.
This poses a great challenge for the SEO’s because the search result will not include 10 relevant websites, it will only include the name of only website. The use of keywords is at its extinction and it changes how the websites will be ranked in the future.
- More optimized long-term queries:
Voice searches use more natural language and that’s why users have to speak long queries instead of just keywords. This is advantageous for the users as they will speak questions like they usually ask in the real world and there will be no emphasis on keywords. This needs optimization of long-term queries. Google has taken initiative in this regard and has launched a “hummingbird” update for long queries. This creates a challenge for SEO’s to remain competitive in the market.
- Increased focus on phrases and less focus on keywords:
As the focus on the phrases and sentences is increased, the focus on keywords is decreased. In voice search, the results are based on the complete sentence rather than on the keywords only. This creates problem for the websites which use traditional SEO strategies to remain competitive in the market.
Overcoming these challenges:
Despite lessening use of keywords, SEO can still be done. This is an opportunity for you to re-brand your products according to voice searches. More optimization is needed for the question based queries. It is difficult but not impossible and provides a unique opportunity to the business to stand out of the crowd as very few businesses have optimized their websites according to the new voice search features. It can also offer some global opportunities for your business as Google voice search is multi-lingual and the worry for spelling mistake is over. With no spelling mistake, there is a better chance for your business to get searched which would not have been possible with the typed queries.