Flashback to 2017/2018 and it wouldn’t have taken much looking around to see that every SEO news website out there was raving about the voice being the future of search and a real game-changer.

With Alexa, Google Hub, Cortana, and a bunch of other voice assistants hitting the market – and the Amazon Echo being one of the breakout technologies at CES 2017 in Vegas – SEOs and marketers had to take notice; this was clearly where the search was heading.

 Alexa voice assistants

Articles sprang up on how to optimize for Voice Search and how, by 2020, over 50% of all searches would be done via voice search. It was strongly suggested that voice search should be at the top of your SEO strategy for the next year.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a prediction. I mean, who didn’t love the Paul the Octopus predicting the results of world cup 2010 matches? It was great (and yes, he had an 85% success rate). But we aren’t psychic octopi (clearly, he was).

The point I’m trying to make here is that I take these articles with a pinch of salt, and here’s why you should too.

Give me data or give me death

The issue I have with a lot of the voice search articles out there is that the data is either collected from a relatively small subject base or that people have confused voice search with voice assistants.

Even one of the best bits of research out there about how popular voice search includes functions like:

  • Setting/managing alarms
  • Streaming music
  • Playing voicemails
  • Calling someone
  • Managing calendars
  • Looking up contacts

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredible study and I urge you to read it and see what you think – but to me and many others, this isn’t voiced search. This is voice assistance.

“Voice “search” is not the same as voice “assistance”. We do a lot of the latter, very little of the former.” – Ian Lurie

Voice assistants can be amazing. Google is using AI to improve speech recognition for people with impaired speech. Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Generation can, and will, be amazing.

Voice assistance is using Alexa, Google, Cortana (etc.) to make your life easier.

Voice search is finding the answer to a question.

Speakable Markup

Speakable markup may change this. It is currently in beta for news sites, but if adopted properly, it will hopefully be rolled out everywhere. This would allow voice assistants to actually read out an entire section defined within the markup, meaning you’re not limited to hearing only the featured snippet.

Combined with Question and Answer Schema, this could be a game-changer.

What does the future hold?

At the moment, voice search isn’t necessarily the definitive future of SEO. Will 50% of searches really be done by voice search by 2020? Possibly not, especially if we’re talking about actual search instead of telling your digital assistant to turn out the lights.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that voice search definitely won’t play a part in our digital future, all I’m saying is don’t make it your be-all and end-all.

In short, you should make sure that you continue to:

  • Use structured data
  • Write clearly
  • Answer questions with your content
  • Optimize for local searches
  • Stay aware of advancements of voice technology

How to appear on the first results of voice search and decipher the OK Google algorithm?

To position yourself in voice search, There is only one valid option, and that is to aim for position 0. Appearing on the first searches is no longer enough, Google HOME speakers and OK Google compatible smartphones do not use more than the result displayed in position 0.

How to optimize your positioning in voice search? Here are our essential tips

Google is now evolving from a search engine to a response engine, so voice search is now a revolution in the world of SEO . Today, artificial intelligence is encouraging Internet users to increasingly use voice commands, instead of traditional search. According to a British study by Google UK, around 75% of Internet users are increasingly researching since using voice search . Two main reasons motivate these users: To formulate a precise and punctual request without wasting time and to make life easier when their hands are busy (cooking, driving, etc.).

Here are 4 tips to apply to increase your chances of appearing in the first results of voice search:

What questions are Internet users asking?

To gain visibility on voice search , you must first ask yourself a main question: What are Internet users looking for? Answer The Public is a very effective tool for answering this question. This tool lists all the questions asked by Internet users on Google. There is also which helps you to know your positioning opportunities according to your competitors and thus optimize your presence on search results. Otherwise, you can also rely on Google’s “related searches”, or the new feature put forward by Google “people also ask” like several SEO agencies .

Do you have any chances of positioning yourself?

Once you have identified the questions that Internet users are asking, you will need to know if this will allow you to position yourself in voice search . To do this, you must enter the question in the OK Google search bar and analyze the results given to you. If there is no result in position 0, then you have a high chance of positioning yourself in voice search . If a result is highlighted, you can always analyze the content of the site it came from and try to come up with a more relevant answer. However, if it is rather a Quick Answer that appears, then there is no chance for you to position yourself. So it would be better for you to find a question that is just as relevant but with less competition.

How to have a page optimized for voice search?

Now you have your question and an opportunity to position yourself, you can now move on to the next step, which is optimizing the content of the page that will answer it. For that, you have to follow simple rules. Here are 4 things to follow when writing your content:

  • Content should be neither too short nor too long: your content should vary between 500 and 1000 words.
  • The answer to your question must appear at the beginning of the article and must not exceed 25 to 30.
  • Your H1 titles and Title tag must of course be formulated in the form of questions.
  • Your page must respect an HTML structure to hope to hack the OK Google algorithm
  • Your texts must be well structured and above all well organized. So opt for bulleted lists, as well as speakable tags that could help you identify the passages of your answer that are easier to vocalize while being rich in keywords.

How to make it easier for the Google robot to read and interpret your text?

Once all these steps have been completed, you therefore have some criteria to respect in order to facilitate the Google robot in transcribing your voice response. But how to do it? Here are our famous tips: 

  • Respect irreproachable spelling and syntax.
  • Avoid too much punctuation: we get straight to the point, no need for parentheses and commas
  • Favor a simple style with short sentences and more suited to robotic reading.

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