November 5, 2015

Optimizing Your Site for Google Voice Searches

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Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]


Technology today almost seems like it is from some sci-fi movie. We go on our smartphone and talk to it, and the phone responds with the information we want.
Just a few years ago when we were stuck behind big, bulky desktop computers we did not care about voice searches. However, today with mobile becoming such a big part of how we interact with the web, it is a vital component of search.
It seems so simple, yet one of the biggest drivers in search technology today is how to improve voice technology. Google voice search is one of the leading tools in this drive.
Therefore, any business that wants to succeed online needs to start focusing on how to improve their traffic from Google voice searches.

How does it work?

Google voice search has made amazing strides in recent years. Some of the biggest improvements recently have been to the recurrent neural networks (RNNs) technology that runs Google voice. This RNNs is the framework that allows Google to understand which speech to pay attention to in a noisy room.
This is vitally important, since many of these searches come from iPhone and Androids devices. If a search is performed at a Starbucks or other public location, then it becomes important to isolate the voice providing the search parameters.
It is part of the reason why Google insists on installing the Google search app on devices. Using this app enables Google voice to work smoothly on any device.
The other benefit of installing the app for Google is that the Google Search app is now the number one app on phones. It surpassed Facebook for this honor. In fact, Google voice search is so popular that nearly 30% of smartphone users put the app on their home screen.
These changes have all come since the inception of Google Hummingbird. This was the algorithm change by Google that gave more credibility to voice search.
Hummingbird works by analyzing the search patterns of Google searchers. By understanding for example that the word dove could either mean a bird or a specific dive in altitude can completely change the search for a person.
While humans can separate the two easily, it is harder for computers to do so. This is just part of the challenge of instituting Google voice searches.

How can you optimize for Hummingbird?

  1. Site Speed– The first thing you need to be aware of to receive voice traffic is to ensure your site is fast enough to receive mobile traffic. If you are not sure how fast your website loads test it on Pingdom.Com.

You can test the site speed and see what items on a page are slowing down the speed of your website.
The reason that speed is important, is because the slower your site loads on a mobile device the more users will leave your website.

  1. Mobile Friendly- A few months ago, we discussed how Google was officially updating their mobile algorithm. They wanted to ensure that websites had a fully responsive site that mobile users could find the best results on their smartphones and tablets. 

With the changes to the mobile algorithm and now the changes on Google voice, it now makes sense that these two are part of a bigger shift by Google to refocus how users see search results on mobile devices.
Make sure that your website is Mobile-Friendly. Otherwise, you site cannot benefit from the hummingbird algorithm changes. 

  1. Focus on semantics– As stated earlier, Hummingbird is about understanding the semantics of how we search and speak. This is because when you focus on how people search for information, you can “weed out irrelevant search results.” As DK Systems stated, “Rich snippets = Google understanding content = trust.”

Websites looking to improve their website traffic therefore on mobile devices, must have clear rich snippets on every post and page to ensure that the user can easily appreciate the site in relationship to their original search query.

  1. Create content for humans- Before Google rolled out the Penguin and Panda algorithms a few years ago, many search engine marketers used keywords exclusively to garner traffic.

However, since the roll out of the algorithm changes it has been more important to write content that appeals to humans more than the search engine spiders.
Since Google voice focuses on how humans search on Google, it is only logical that content on your website live up to that same standard.

  1. Social media matters- It does not get any more human than social media. That is because social media is based upon relationships with one another.

The more shares and conversations revolving around your content, the more Google trusts your content to work for their users.

Final Thoughts

As Google Voice becomes a more predominant form of searching among mobile users, ensuring that your website is prepared for a mobile search becomes more and more important.
To do this, focus on improving all of the aspects that people would want on a website. From better content to faster speed loads, it is vitally important to make it a website they can easily navigate.
If you need help improving your website responsiveness, please feel free to contact us at Shout so we can help.

Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

    Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

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      As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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