From Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, to Microsoft's Cortana and Google's Voice Search, voice assistant services are expanding all over the world.
From Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, to Microsoft's Cortana and Google's Voice Search, voice assistant services are expanding all over the world.
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From Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, to Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Voice Search, voice assistant services are expanding all over the world.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you should check out voice search options on your smartphone or tablet. You’ve probably come across it by accident, but millions of users rely on it to play their favorite music, search sites on the web, order dinner or to give them their favorite sports scores.

Electronic search assistants that utilize voice search recognition are gaining momentum.


In this article, we’ll explore:

  • What Voice Search is and What it Does
  • What Businesses Should Consider in Relation to SEO and Voice Search
  • Voice Search Apps
  • The Voice Search Button and Turning Voice Search On
  • How to Use Google Voice Search and Okay Google
  • Funny Things to ask Google Voice Search
  • How to Access Voice Search History
  • Common Voice Search Commands

Let’s take a look at voice search…

What Voice Search is and What it Does

Girl is on the phone talking into it for voice search on Google

Voice search is an innovative way to use your voice to retrieve data from or perform actions on the internet. Because voice assistants are becoming more popular with simpler features, the trend is taking off. In the past, people scoffed at the idea of a voice assistant, but they can now use voice assistants to navigate through traffic, book appointments or have questions answered instantly without having to type online.

As voice searches become more sophisticated, they are becoming assets to people as they answer all kinds of queries. When programmed with smart home equipment, voice assistants can control the temperature, lights, remotes for the TV and music, and security system. While there are still kinks to iron out with specific wording and dialects, it’s a good start.

Ease of use, speed, and accuracy

Voice searches are trending because it gives people the opportunity to speak faster than they would normally type, so they’re able to get more done. For example, booking meetings is a breeze, checking for available flights, and hearing recipes online. These are just a few examples of how voice searches can assist you. Because you can use voice searches hands-free, you can get more work done with accurate and relevant results. There is no typing, misspelling, searching for the answer and hoping it’s right based on your query. You ask, and the voice search answers with instant results.

Growing voice search users

As more companies look to replicate Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, using your voice as the interface has never been more popular. It’s a context-based system with several components that give you proven results. In 2015, over 65% of smartphone users stated that they use voice search assistance. With improvements in technology, Google voice queries have also been on the rise. In 2016, 1 in 5 queries was voice activated.

What Businesses Should Consider in Relation to SEO and Voice Search

For business owners and those wondering how to use voice search with their SEO or SEM campaigns, there are a few things to keep in mind. Voice search assistants use conversational search queries sent by the user to get an answer to their question. These queries are spoken in a natural language and full sentence, while the reply is a full sentence as well. This is going to be an important consideration with content SEO strategies.

A common question that a user might ask is “Ok Google, what is the weather today?” The answer might be “Today is sunny with a chance of rain. The temperature is 66-degrees Fahrenheit. Screen-based devices may then display an image of the forecast.

Changing Your Content to Match Queries

Voice searches are changing how we find information online. Because people are asking natural language questions, content for some businesses may need to be restructured to answer the questions accordingly. Another consideration is readability. To get an idea of how voice searches will work with SEO, look at conversational queries online.

Next, take a look at your competitors to see how they are answering questions. You may need to work with a marketer to put your answers on your site where search engines can easily filter and find them. Just don’t make the answers too long.

Your Content and HTML: It’s a Partnership

Your content and your HTML should link up to respond to questions in the fastest way possible. Optimize the content you think is valuable to visitors and offer search results they might look for. Bullet points are fine and you can use short answers. If you have 10 steps, for example, Google will list your link and the option to “read more” in the answer box.

Use long-tail keywords

To help with answering natural language questions, think about your target audience and use long-tail keywords. Spoken questions will use more words than typed search commands. For example, a user might ask, “Ok Google, what is the best restaurant near Madison Avenue and 59th Street in New York.” It might help to use phrases to help you rank higher. That’s where words like “best” or “nearest” may help you with giving the right responses as these are commonly used by users in their queries.

You can even add a Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ to your website or optimize an existing FAQ. Just try to write short and relevant answers. Search engines can then use your response to help users with voice search commands.

Think Like a Human, not a Marketer

To help with keywords that you can use on your site for voice searches, keep the wording simple. For example, keywords might be Florida, Florida cruise deal, Florida vacation. Make these longer so they’re not disjointed: Cost for a Florida cruise deal, Best Florida vacation package. Florida vacation info. These use phrases that a user might naturally use in speech.

Use Microdata

With voice searches, microdata can help. Include a business address, phone number, menu items, the price of services, etc. That way your mobile content will be not only mobile-friendly, but voice search friendly, too!

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Why is Google still the best search engine?

Voice Search Apps

Common voice search apps include Voice Search Launcher, Google Now Launcher, Google Voice Search and OK Google Voice Commands.

  • Voice Search Launcher: By Prometheus Interactive, you can search in your apps, on websites and in contacts for information you need.
  • Google Now Launcher: This let’s you use Google on your home screen to create reminders, find help with trivia and get answers to common questions.
  • Google Voice Search: This app let’s you use a simple voice search app for opening applications with your voice.
  • OK Google Voice Commands: This let’s you try out easy to use commands with Google Now Launcher.

Each is available for free in the Google Play Store.

Features: The Voice Search Button and Turning Voice Search On

  • To turn on the Google Voice Search, open the Google app.
  • At the top left side of your screen, select the “Menu” option and then “Settings,” followed by “Voice” and “Ok Google” Detection.
  • Now your smartphone or tablet will be ready for a command from you.

How to Use Google Voice Search and Okay Google

To help you get started with a new voice search, you can use your voice to ask for directions, set reminders, ask questions or make requests. With Google Voice Search on, you can ask, “Okay Google, will it rain tomorrow?” Google will then give you the weather forecast.

To start any request or question, just say, “Okay Google.” You can also touch the microphone image.

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To Turn Voice Search Off

  • When you’re ready to turn Voice Search off, go to “Settings” and select “General.”
  • Then look for “Personal” and select “Language and Input.”
  • When you find “Google Voice Typing,” click the “Settings” button and select “Ok Google.”
  • Where you see the “From the Google App” option, move the slider left to turn the voice search off.
  • Another way to do this is “Settings”, then “Voice,” followed by “Ok Google” Detection to let Google listen to you or not.

Funny Things to Ask Google Voice Search

If you’re ready for a little bit of fun with Google Voice Search, just try asking it a few questions:

  • “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”
  • “What is the meaning of life?”
  • “What is the best smartphone?”
  • “What is your favorite color?”
  • “What is the nature of the universe?”
  • “Lions, tigers and bears?”
  • “Who’s on first?”
  • “What is the airspeed velocity of a chicken?”
  • “Tell me about yourself”
  • “What planet are you from?”

Google’s Voice Search History

Google’s Voice Search is a useful function that stores all of your voice searches. You can retrieve the audio file from your Voice Search records so you can hear the actual audio that’s uploaded to Google servers.

Use these steps to access, manage, and then delete your Google Voice Search history:
1. Go to your history page, and you can view all of your Google Voice searches. You will see a list view with your voice commands saved by date.

2. To listen to your saved audio files in Google Voice Search, click on the play button next to an entry. You may notice that Google stores commands it didn’t identify correctly. That’s right, even the errors and accidental Voice Search activations have been recorded and saved to Google servers.

3. When you’re ready to delete your Google Voice Search history, select the three-dot. This is the ‘Menu’ icon. You’ll see it in the top left corner. Then select “Delete Options.”

4. When the menu appears, you can delete voice searches by day or a particular time frame. To delete all voice searches, press the option for “Advanced” and then select “All Time” from the menu.

5. Select the “Remove” button. Google will now delete your entire voice search history.

If you want to opt out of the data-collecting procedures, click on settings. If the slider is blue, Google is collecting and storing your voice searches. Deselect it and close out.

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]Learning Google Voice search with Lori Ballen #SEO @loriballen_[/tweetthis]

Common Voice Search Commands

These are command commands that people are using in voice searches:

  • “Show restaurants near me in TripAdvisor”
  • “Set the temperature to [X] degrees”
  • “Listen to NPR”
  • “Where’s my hotel?”
  • “Show me the nearby [spa] on map”
  • “Navigate to [Manhattan] on car”
  • “How far is [Miami] from [Fort Lauderdale]?”
  • “Directions to [address / business name / other destination]”
  • “What are some attractions in [Rome]”
  • “Show me the menu for [Jean Georges]”

Conclusion

Voice search is not just a growing trend, it’s a new opportunity for users to get the data they need quickly. It’s also a way to get more information when you’re on the go without the need for all that typing. For businesses, it’s an excellent opportunity to optimize landing page content to help with voice search results. The main takeaway is to ask yourself if your content answers questions that people have about it. If you’re unsure, try asking Google questions about your business products or services to see if your site comes up with a voice search. If another site comes up, pay attention to their data so you can streamline your own.

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