Get directions while driving, find a recipe while cooking, follow a carpentry tutorial while doing DIY… With results that are increasingly relevant and “intelligent”, voice searches respond to the needs of Internet users — or rather, mobile users — when they’re in full swing. Except that a voice enquiry looks completely different from a written enquiry. And this is disrupting the world of SEO.
Longer, more precise and complex voice searches
Performing a search using your voice is faster and easier. In addition, voice recognition devices (Alexa, Siri, Ok Google etc.) are more like personal assistants than machines. We ask them for advice as we would a friend: “Where can I eat a good pizza near my home?”. Voice searches are therefore more natural and more specific.
Voice searches: how do they work?
With voice searches, search engines must be much more intelligent to deliver relevant results in response to complex and sometimes implicit enquiries.
On mobile or desktop
Let’s take the example of an enquiry with multiple response possibilities: “Where can I eat a good pizza near my home?”
You have a list of results classified according to multiple parameters, in the same way a results page would be generated following a classic “written” enquiry.
In the case of single-response enquiries such as “day nursery fees”, Google will use what is called a “featured snippet”, also known as “position 0”, since this snippet is displayed before any other result.
This “position 0” result acts as a reference and no longer requires the user to click on a link to find the answer to his question.
More and more smart devices (like Google Home, Amazon Alexa etc.) are now used for finding the answer to your questions and you communicate with them by voice.
In this case, your IoT device will often use the featured snippet that we just mentioned, and communicate this result to you… this one alone.
Indeed, with no screen to display more, this vocal result will be the only one that is communicated to the user. This is a thorny strategic issue for those who wish to present themselves as a source of reference in particular field or issue.
What does this change for SEO?
Regarding results on mobile and desktop, the challenges remain the same.
On the other hand, the battle for appearing at position 0 becomes even more strategic, as this result will be the only one used by personal assistants. It is therefore now essential for stakeholders who wish to position themselves as a standard for a particular issue to work their SEO to trigger featured snippets.
According to Ahref, 99% of the results used in featured snippets were already in the top 10 positions of Google results. However, GetStat claims that 70% of these same results were not in 1st position.
Warning: there is no way to mark your content to trigger appearance as a featured snippet; it is Google’s algorithm that automatically determines what is – or not – relevant. However, if due to concerns about monetisation you wish to prevent the use of your content in featured snippets, it is possible, by incorporating on one or more pages the following code:
<meta name="googlebot" content="nosnippet">
Make sure you do not want any content from this page to be used in featured snippets before using it.
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