In the third quarter of 2018, smart speaker shipments grew nearly 200% globally. Amazon shipped the most devices and Google came in a close second.
Consumers have begun to realize the value of voice-activated, user-friendly interactions. It is predicted that by 2020 half of all online searches will be voice searches.
It’s time to optimize your online efforts for voice search. Unfortunately, each device has a specific criterion for optimization, so you will have to make sure you cover all the bases.
Amazon Alexa (Echo)
Alexa topped the list of most downloaded free apps in the Google Play and App Store just before Christmas 2018 and the Echo accounted for 67% of all smart speaker sales in 2018, it was the top-selling voice assistant for Christmas 2018.
Users turn to Echo for recipes, instructions, or a quick answer to a question. Alexa can perform nearly 70,000 actions, including Yelp searches, Lyft/Uber, and Amazon ordering.
Alexa uses Bing for its voice queries and requires proper Schema mark-ups for different content. Verify your Schema mark-up is “Bing friendly.” Voice searches with Alexa rely on “long-tail, natural language queries. These requests use a higher word count and are styled as questions.
Apple Siri and Apple HomePod
Apple Siri and HomePod use Google search results for most of its voice queries and it crawls Apple Maps when it receives a voice request for a nearby location. Setting up and optimizing your business on Apple will be useful. (See Maps Connect to update/add listing.) Registering your business on Google My Business will also help with local searches.
Siri and HomePod also rely on Schema to give context to your website content. (Again, verifying mark-ups are “Bing friendly.)
The second most shipped voice search device in 2018. The Google Home uses Google search results for queries and Google Maps for searching locations nearby or for navigation help.
Google has a massive reach. It has unrivaled influence over most consumers. Google Home is making a push to saturate the voice search market. But, Google is Google, it is a requirement to keep optimized for Google Search, whether it is voice-search or not.
Cortana, a Microsoft product, relies on Bing and Bing Knowledge Graph for its search results. Bing Webmaster Tools can help with optimization.
As voice search is also strongly related to local SEO it is a good idea to register your business on Bing Places for Business.
Voice Search Optimization Tools
As Voice Search grows the tools available for optimization will grow.
“Google also announced a new voice support schema format – Speakable (in beta mode). This new format will help voice assistants answer topical questions and news queries better. At the moment, only media publishers who submit content through Google’s Publisher Center and who are an active Google News Producer can apply. While this feature will be out of reach for brands for some time, it clearly signifies that Google will be paying closer attention to voice search in the next few years. After all, AMP was originally designed for news websites as well but is now open to all content publishers and business.” (The Drum)
In the meantime, get ahead of the curve and optimize your website and online media for Voice-Activated Searches (learn more basic optimization here) and stay of the curve!