With upward of 50 percent of all searches expected to be voice-driven by 2020 according to ComScore, now is the time for digital businesses to start concentrating on how to get their content to be seen by Google as the most relevant result for users' queries.
What variables does Google use to determine the best possible result for questions asked through its Google Assistant? We're glad you asked!
While relevancy is certainly going to be an important factor, there are other considerations that Google (
and its team of human raters) will apparently use for evaluation. The good news is that you can indeed optimize for these considerations too.
The search engine
released (PDF) some guidelines on how results for voice interactions, question answering and voice-guided exploration will be evaluated and it will be an important read for anyone responsible for optimizing the digital presence of an enterprise in the years to come.
The key takeaway, the primary point to remember, is this...
"Spoken responses are very different from display results, as what's on screen needs to be translated into useful speech."
What that means is that if you're responsible for your enterprises voice search efforts, it is necessary to ensure that you are optimizing content in a way that is natural in the manner in which Google's system is going to repeat the best possible response for the users' query.
The following are what many are currently considering the four "pillars" of voice search optimization for Google:
Information Satisfaction: The content of the answer should meet the information needs of the user. This is really the relevancy component and obviously, it's going to be impossible to be chosen for a voice search answer/response without some measure of satisfaction for the query.
Response Length: One of the reasons that voice search is increasing in popularity is that it is super efficient. In a traditional desktop Web environment, users can quickly scan long answers visually and locate the relevant information. In voice search, what Google is looking for is the "right" amount of information. It's difficult to say what that the ideal length is, of course, but it is likely that the more concise the better.
Content Formulation: I would argue that this is likely one of the most important factors in voice search optimization. it is much easier to understand a badly formulated written answer than an ungrammatical spoken answer, so more care has to be placed in ensuring the grammatical correctness of the possible answer. The order of the answer is also of paramount importance.
General Elocution: Spoken answers must have proper pronunciation and prosody (the patterns of stress, intonation, rhythm and "sound" of a language). For non-native speakers of a language, this is likely to be one of the most difficult to optimize an answer for.
Voice search optimization presents its own very unique challenges. Since it's really so early on there are many unknowns when it comes to the practice. Focus on these four pillars of voice search optimization, however, and you'll increase the likelihood your answer will be repeated by the Google Assistant.
Related "Voice Search" reading from Website Magazine:
Digital marketing executive with proven experience in all aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), performance-based advertising, consumer-generated/social media, email marketing, lead generation, Web design, usability, and analytics. - 20-year Internet marketing veteran, currently serving as the Digital Marketing Campaign Manager at Antenna Group (formerly Chicago Digital). - Former Editor-In-Chief of Website Magazine, and a regular speaker on Web technology digital marketing strategy - Author of several books on digital marketing Including Web 360: The Fundamentals of Web Success; Affiliate 360: The Fundamentals of Performance Marketing; Domains 360: The Fundamentals of Buying & Selling Domain Names, and SEO 360: The Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization.