It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, but I thought I would share a report I wrote a little while ago with you today. In light of what’s about to happen with the next Google update. It’s getting more and more important to stay ahead of the curve, and not rely on Google rankings to bring your clients new customers.
What is Voice Search Optimization?
Voice Search Optimization (VSO) is the a great new direction for SEO consultants to expand their business in. Voice recognition software has been used for years to write documents, play games and use computers. Recently, it’s been updated to allow mobile device users the ability to search the internet without the tediousness of using a tiny keyboard. This is where VSO comes in.
VSO is another way of bringing in site visitors through improved search engine results. Instead of just optimizing a web page with standard SEO practices for desktop users, consultants can now use VSO techniques to target mobile device users. Additionally, Google has made recent changes that allow anyone with a microphone to use voice recognition to search the web.
Most people are familiar with the Google Mobile Operating System for Android phones. It’s allowed people to search the web and operate their phones with voice recognition.
Google has now expanded their voice recognition search to its internet browser, so it can be used on any computer. Plus, Apple has even gotten into the game with “Siri”, a voice recognition software for the iPhone. More people than ever are using their mobile devices to search for products and services. Now they have a newer faster way to do it.
How Does this Benefit Me?
As an SEO or marketing consultant, it’s your job to stay up to date on the most current marketing strategies. VSO is one of those strategies. Voice recognition software is relatively new on the scene, but is becoming more and more widespread. People are using it for everything on their computers and mobile devices, even searching the web.
This changes the kinds of keywords people are likely to input into a search engine. It changes how keywords are formatted and it also means more localized searches as more people use mobile devices like the Yellow Pages.
Any savvy marketer can see the potential gain from offering their clients a new way of targeting users of voice recognition. VSO is still changing and growing, much like the early days of SEO practices. Keyword density and the types of keywords may change over time. New techniques are being developed all the time. Clients will need help updating their sites for VSO for years to come.
Search engine optimization will need to take this into account when optimizing a site. The basics of SEO will remain the same. Website owners will still need to perform
keyword research. Sites will still want to submit sitemaps to the major search engines and use metadata and link building. It’s just that they’ll be focused on a two pronged approach that marketers can help them set up .
Rather than limiting SEO to keywords, website owners will want to focus on optimizing for phrases and even whole sentences. The number of typos and misspelled keywords entered into search engines will drop off as these mobile devices begin performing searches for the user.
How is Voice Recognition Used?
Voice recognition software can have an impact on how websites optimize for the search engines, especially small businesses. Users of these programs will be more likely to enter queries using natural, conversational phrases and whole sentences. Additionally, a full 1/3 of users of mobile devices tend to look for localized content that’s relevant to their GPS location. These people are using their mobile devices like the yellow pages and maps to find businesses in their local area.
Voice recognition software is typically pre-installed on a mobile device such as, the Android or the iPhone. It is voice activated or activated at the push of a button on the screen.
Once activated, the user speaks his query into the phone and the software begins to search for the relevant content on the web. The search software will focus on important keywords in the phrase and run a search using a common search engine or else enters the entire phrase into the search engine and sorts the results. The most commonly used search engine for this software is currently Google. Programs, like Siri, will return results based on GPS location, rating and reviews.
For instance, if a user enters the query, “local Mexican restaurants” into the search software, the program will look for restaurants in the local area based on the user’s GPS location and then filters the results by those that serve Mexican food. The program may further filter results according to a restaurant’s rating on Google business listings or Yelp. It will be the job of the marketer to help clients update their website information so that those sites are more likely to show up in these search results.
How to Develop a Site for VSO?
VSO affects primarily small businesses as users of mobile devices that are pre-installed with voice recognition search software want to find localized information. Restaurants, bars, stores, service providers and even online sites like, eBay and Amazon want to take advantage of VSO.
Adapting a business website for the mobile device involves VSO and developing localized SEO. Websites will want to develop a localized business presence using the online business listings like;
Bing Business Places,
Yellow Pages, and other local directory listings.
They will also want to add business information such as the business address, phone number, and website URL on every page of the website. This improves chances that any single page of the site will turn up in localized search results.
Businesses will want to make sure that the listings submitted are as detailed as possible. They should include a keyword-rich description and hours of operation, photos, video and fill in the categories in a Google Places listing. It’s also important to develop some business reviews and good ratings at each business listing site. Siri is one of the voice search software that is going to filter results based on the types of reviews and ratings a business receives.
Consider using rich snippets for improved localized search results on that mobile device. It will provide the user with essential information about the business.
What are Rich Snippets?
A rich snippet is a small piece of content that shows up directly under the link for a business in the search engine results. Users may recognize a snippet by it’s grey color and italicized font. This content provides relevant business information to the user at a glance such as address, hours, rating, etc. Websites can add any number of rich snippets to their meta data and it won’t appear on the web page itself, but will affect the appearance of the actual search engine listing.
Rich snippets don’t directly affect search engine results, but they are an important aspect
of developing localized website information. The rich snippet can display the street address of a small business so that a user looking for that business instantly knows where to go. Examples of the many different types of rich snippets can be found at Schema.org.
How Do I Add Rich Snippets?
Rich Snippets can be added to a website listing via one of three formatting methods, microdata, microformats and RDFa. Each of these methods is really just a different way of tagging the items you want to show up on a search engine listing. The search engine crawlers that encounter your website will see these tags and display them in your website listings.
The tags for rich snippets are inserted directly into the HTML of website pages. There are different tags used to highlight different pieces of content for rich snippets. Most search engines support rich snippets, but Google is the one that really utilizes them the best. Currently, Google supports the following tags:
People profiles Products Business listings Recipes
An example of a rich snippet code for reviews looks like this:
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://data-vocabulary.org/Review”>
<span itemprop=”itemreviewed”>Game Paradise</span>
Reviewed by <span itemprop=”reviewer”>John</span> on
<time itemprop=”dtreviewed” datetime=”2011-03-21″>March 21st</time>. <span itemprop=”summary”>Great low-cost games!</span>
Rating: <span itemprop=”rating”>5</span>
The piece of code at the beginning of this block, <div itemscope itemtype=”http://data- vocabulary.org/Review”>, indicates to the search engine that the block is a review encoded in microdata format.
The <span> tag is used to indicate a new property or snippet. For instance, <span itemprop=”reviewer”> , tells the search engine that this section of code highlights the name of the person who provided the review.
You can learn more about inserting rich snippets at Google Support. Google also provides a rich snippets testing tool to help website owners determine if their tags are working properly.
Should I Create a Mobile Website?
Yes, businesses that want to take advantage of the voice search software on mobile devices will need to create a mobile version of their site. Mobile sites are pared down versions of a standard website, that looks good on the small screens of mobile devices. W3C.Org offers a mobile ready website checker to ensure that website looks good on mobile devices.
These mobile sites usually have small or no pictures, very small paragraphs and concise content. Also, website owners should create and submit a mobile site map to the major search engines so that the search engine bots can accurately find and evaluate each site page. A mobile site makes it much easier for the user to access the small business’ website.
Potential Services to Offer Clients?
Marketing consultants can offer their clients a variety of special services for VSO of their website or business. Offering localized business listings, rich snippets modification or VSO of a site are all good ways to get your foot in the door with a client. Run a special sale price on just one or two aspects of VSO to bring in lots of potential clients or at least get lots of contacts for your buyer list.
Some potential services to offer include:
Developing localized business listings Review and suggestions for VSO of a site Adding rich snippets to website pages Developing a mobile version of a website VSO keyword research
Mobile marketing texts through your client lists
The world of VSO involves a few content changes for the small business website. However, the biggest effects are seen in how businesses focus on localized search engine results. Marketing consultants can cultivate old and new clients by offering VSO related services, and as a result add another arrow to their quiver.