Voice Search and Voice SEO are hot topics, but nuanced ones. There are billions of voice searches per month and growing quickly. However, most companies are not clear on how to gain the most from this new digital channel.
This post starts the discussion on Voice Search and how to best benefit from these billions of searches.
First off, Voice SEO and Voice Assistant SEO are distinct… but related.
For example, if you click the little mic below, you will initiate a Voice Search.
Table Stakes: Optimizing for Voice SEO
What is the prize for winning in Voice SEO?
The prize for being Position V is you are the featured snippet response to a voice search. Your brand gets recognized as the top result, and your 2-3 sentences are what the consumer hears… but that’s it.
If you are a company that relies on user action (i.e. purchase, clicks, content entry), optimizing for voice SEO is not sufficient. You get an impression, but also a 100% bounce rate.
A snippet is (hopefully) a relevant piece of information served by Google. It is purely informational.
The coming wave – Voice Assistant SEO
Currently, the majority of voice searches are via the existing search boxes, but the coming wave is voice search via Voice Assistants (Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa).
Why? Consumer Experience combined with Company Strategy.
First, using voice to search via Google Assistant is better for the consumer in an increasing number of situations, just ask John Legend and Kevin Durant:
While the Google Assistant video above is lighthearted, it does highlight a key reason why voice assistants are taking off: it is all about time-to-value. We have seen mass adoption around timers, weather, news, music and many more use cases, because doing these things is faster and more effective with Voice Assistants.
The faster consumers can “get things done,” the better their experience. This is this promise of combining natural voice access with effective artificial intelligence, and building daily habits.
A key goal of ‘getting things done’ is progressing from search to purchase. In Kevin Durant’s case, rather than doing a product search for athletic tape, just ‘make Google do it’ – i.e. have Google Assistant find it and buy it for him, all in a few, quick, back-and-forth commands.
The ability to use voice beyond the first interaction, and to ‘get stuff done’ in a faster and more natural way, holds a tremendous amount of promise. We have just scratched the surface in terms of what Voice Assistants can do for you.
Second, this is where Google is going. Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated at I/O last year that the company is evolving to be an AI-first company, which naturally lends itself to Google Assistant being a future of Google Search.
Optimizing your website for snippets is the right place to start, but to truly lead in this new world, companies must be ready to continue the conversation. If a consumer gets a helpful answer, most likely they will want to take the next step… are you ready?
Beyond snippets: search-optimized Assistant Apps
Google Assistant wants to give you the right answer, and it also wants to help you get stuff done. The only way to get stuff done is through Actions. Google has built many in-house, but is looking to build an ecosystem of developers to fulfill the mission of Google Assistant.
While snippets will have their temporary day in the sun, it is these optimized Google Assistant Actions that will attract the lion’s share of traffic. To understand at a high level how Google ranks Actions, here is the first white paper on Implicit Invocation (Voice Assistant SEO).
At Alpine.AI, we are committed to helping our customers lead in this new voice-enabled world. This includes helping optimize with your website for voice search, in addition to preparing companies for the coming future — we are building new capabilities to automatically and continuously optimize Google Assistant Apps for discovery.
With 450 million devices now conversationally enabled with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and over one billion Android devices voice-enabled by the end of 2018, Voice Assistants are a major digital channel that all companies must lead… or be left behind.
Alpine.AI is building search-optimized Assistant Apps, and we look forward to helping you lead this exciting new frontier. To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.