Do you need to include voice search in your SEO strategy? Let’s talk about how to look at voice for your brand or client.
Hello! And thanks for listening to SEO tips today.
Think about yourself using search on your phone with your voice to find instructions while cooking. Or because your kids ask you a question. It’s more comfortable. It’s faster, and convenient.
Or maybe you’re using voice commands to trigger an action in your mobile voice assistant or a smart speaker at home: play a song, set an alarm, dim the lights.
You’re not alone. In 2019, 44% of Americans used voice search daily, and as of January 2020 87.8% of the 87.7 million US smart speakers owners use voice search, based on a Voicebot.ai study.
The use of voice (and our social distancing reality) has increased its use. Based on recent study from Morning Consult, one-third of smart speaker owners are using their device more.
How as an SEO can you “get in front” of these voice searchers?
To start, I think we need to be aware of which search engine that powers most of the results.
When we think about which smart speakers are installed in the US, the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) 2019 survey shows the Amazon Echo keeps the lead followed by Google Home and then the Apple HomePod.
How about voice search adoption on smartphones? Which search engine powers the most?
The voice assistant used by three-quarters of smartphone users is Apple/Siri and Google Assistant, both fed by Google as a search engine.
A quarter of the voice assistants used are powered by Amazon Alexa, Samsung Bixby, and Microsoft Cortana — all of which are powered by Bing.
Still, if you sum it all, the main search engine is Bing, owning 55% of voice search.
If you add in smart displays, 61% of them are powered by Bing.
Add in smart cars, and one third of them are powered by Bing, one third by Google and one third from other providers.
All totalled, Bing actually powers more of the results than Google.
That should pivot your SEO strategy a bit.
Ok, but which of these can you “own” and “rank”?
It really all depends, but knowing the source of the answers is key to rank in voice search.
Currently voice search can be found on personal digital assistants in mobile, smart home speakers, voice commands to TV, voice commands to a vehicle, and voice skills or actions depending on the device and the search engine feeding the answers for the device, so the source depends on the device and the query.
Here’s where the major search engines (Google, Bing and Amazon) pull their voice answers from:
- Google/Bing: The search engines’ Knowledge Graph and entity understanding.
- Potentially Featured Snippet copy pulled from a URL/video (Google/Bing).
- Google only: Schema.org powered Google Actions (from your website) or built Actions.
- Amazon: Alexa – Skills, Amazon’s product database, Alexa Answers – the crowd sourced datasource, the search engine’s Knowledge Graph, Yext (soon to be Yellowpages based on rumor) and Bing.
But ranking also depends on the question.
- Fact-based questions are pulled from each company’s Knowledge Graph.
- Brand info is pulled up from Wikipedia
- News depends on the search engine news algorithm, and
- Product research depends on the search engine algorithm but it can be pulled from featured snippets, the company’s Knowledge Graph, Google product feed, Amazon Choice, Alexa Answers, or an Alexa Skill.
So how do you get started on the first step toward your voice search plan?
Are you already receiving voice queries? Look for keywords that seem spoken in Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console.
Does your audience use voice search?
You can look at market research based on the demographics that use voice search the most. (Market research by Path Interactive actually discovered that it was 65+ that used voice search the most.)
Research from BrightLocal in 2018 shows that 70% of their respondents looked for local information via voice weekly.
I’d also recommend that you ask your own audience about their voice use and devices by running surveys or focus groups.
And I’m encouraging everyone who sees that their audience is using voice search to make sure that they are optimizing and tracking their traffic from Bing.
So that’s your tip for today. Figure out if you need to add voice search to your overall SEO strategy and start adding Bing to your plan.
We’ll talk about the additional steps required to build a voice search plan in future SEO tips. So stay tuned!
Thanks for listening.
Come back tomorrow for another SEO tip.
Listen to the previous episode: Links in Android are now labeled as fast based on web.dev metrics
Subscribe and listen on your favorite podcast app