SEO for Voice Search
How should you approach this?
SEO has always been centred around matching entire web pages with a typed keyword or phrase. Voice search, however, will never deliver an entire page and the user is in a far less committed state. The user is most likely standing and most likely already engaged in another task.
You have to feel bad for the guys and girls designing Voice search engines. The Voice search engine must maximise speed and convenience to solve the user’s needs. It must be right first time too; Google has the luxury of presenting the user with approximately 10 results and can rely on the user’s own decision making to determine the best fit. Voice, however, does all the heavy lifting.
How is Voice search different from text search
A Voice search is usually performed when the user is already engaged or about to be engaged in a task. Voice searches are far less likely to be purely exploratory. When when writing for Voice search topics, always keep in mind the active state the user is in. They will likely use your information instantly or within ten minutes.
It’s important to remember that Voice Search is made verbally for speed. A Voice search needs to give the user the information they need quickly or they will move to their smartphone or desktop. It is recommended to structure copy in question answer and formats similar to what you’d find on a FAQ page.
It may seem strange to include readability here, however, it makes perfect sense. When presenting your copy to a user, Alexa and Google Assistant will read it out. Overly long sentences and complex words will sound boring or difficult to understand when the user is listening in and juggling other tasks. Alexa’s intonation is particularly good, however Google Assistant will struggle to clearly state more difficult phrases.
Long Tail is increasingly important
Right now, Voice encourages talking to a computer the same way you would talk to a human. In the future, it will no longer be apparent that there is a reason to talk to a computer in any other way. For instance, when searching on google you may type “Address flinders st station” when on Voice the search is more likely to stretch to “hey Alexa, what’s the address of Flinders Street Station?”.
Most SEO strategies should already be incorporating long tail anyway. This is a particularly good strategy to target low competition traffic.
“A lack of utterances is one of the first reasons a skill fails”
Make your conversations short and snappy
One of the key benefits of Voice is being able to do things a lot quicker than on a traditional interface. If a conversation becomes too long, it may just be quicker for a user to interact with a screen device. It’s important to always refine your conversation, to make it as quick and efficient as possible. This means keeping Alexa’s responses short and getting rid of redundant follow-up questions.
Offer relevant help
A user might accidentally go down a rabbit hole and get confused on how to get back. Always offer a way for a user to ask for help, which should give back a message that is relevant to where they are in the skill. For example, if a user asks for help during an ordering stage of the skill, explain what their order is, how to confirm their order, and offer and option to start over.
Design for power users
For users that are more familiar with your voice experience and other voice apps, offer them ways to go through your VX even quicker than a new user. This includes offering short cut paths, shortening messages and not repeating information a user would already know. It’s also important to offer personal touches for the repeat users, such as remembering information, offering welcome back messages, and asking for reviews from users that have had a lot of success with your skill.
Of course, this is just a skin-deep look at some of the challenges every skill designer will face, but hopefully we’ve passed on enough knowledge so you can avoid the most common pitfalls, and start designing awesome experiences.