Voice Search Is Here To Stay – Understand How It Works And Optimize Your Site To Leverage From It

Many of the search queries are rapidly moving towards voice search. The Google assistant and voice search is steadily gaining prominence. In December 2017, Google also released the Human raters’ guidelines for evaluating the algorithm that is responsible for producing the search results for Google Assistant. Whenever a user searches for something using the Google Assistant, the voice search algorithm effectively summarizes the result in a spoken manner. It also announced a research paper that describes the algorithm behind the voice search summaries. This paper is called as “Sentence Compression by Deletion with LSTMs. It essentially details a lot of information that can help us understand the part of the algorithm that is used to summarize content. The term “Compression System” is used because it removes words and phrases in order to obtain a useful summary. It also includes information that indicates the kinds of content that cannot be successfully summarized. It also helps you understand what kind of words or phrases are removed. This kind of information is crucial for those web publishers who wish to publish content that can be easily summarized and shown in the voice search results. Voice search is rising in importance and it’s important to understand how it works. It’s also important to understand whether your content is ready for the voice search environment.

There are particularly four elements of voice search:

  • Length: Summary of content that is appropriate when spoken
  • User satisfaction: The information that especially meets the needs of the user.
  • Grammatical correctness: Sentences that make sense when spoken.
  • Elocution: This includes good pronunciation by the Google Assistant Software.

So, How Does Voice Search Summarize Content?
Google’s algorithm does not use explicit syntax to understand what is being summarized. This is known as Part of Speech Tagging. The Google’s algorithm translates the words into machine readable language such as zeros and ones. This is called as “token deletion decision”. The system also removes certain words and phrases that it deems unnecessary while creating a summary. This process is called as Compression.

Compression algorithms are not a new concept. In web search however, search engines remove common words like “the” etc. to save space on the servers. Search engines save the compressed version of your content.

Google’s Summarizer works similarly while creating a summary of the content.

So, How Should You Write Your Content?
It’s best not to write content especially for voice search. It’s important however to understand the kinds of content that cannot be summarized. For example,

  • Content with quotes is more difficult to summarize.
  • Content with too many commas is also difficult to summarize.
  • Important Context (context of events are difficult to retain)

It’s important to remember though, that as long as the content you write is free of grammatical errors, you need not worry about anything else.

Here is a quick glance of the kinds of words as well as phrases that are commonly removed to achieve a voice search summary.

Appositions: Words and phrases that have a direct relationship with each other.

Temporal Expressions: These are those phrases that communicate a point in time or duration.

Optional Modifiers: These are usually adjectives and adverbs.

Introductory Clauses: These are phrases that set up a statement, almost like an introduction.

How to Optimize Content for Voice Search Summaries
Well, there are no rules for writing content especially for Google Assistant. Avoiding a few things like too long sentences or difficult to read sentences would be useful. Avoiding grammatical errors is an essential factor.

Guidelines, SEO Tips and How To Optimize Content for Voice Search
Voice search is poised to capture a lot of traction in 2018. It has already hit the mainstream in a big way! It is already having a big impact on SEO too. Well, voice search optimization has definitely had connections with Google’s featured snippets. In other words if voice search isn’t already on your agenda, it’s time to change your SEO strategies.

Let’s take a look at how voice search changed some things in 2017.

AI backed speech accuracy and human accuracy
Google’s speech recognition error rate has been very low – almost at 8% since May 2015 – thanks to their heavy investments in machine learning. Today, Google’s speech recognition is even better – their English word accuracy rate is as high as 95%! This is also known to be the threshold for human accuracy and the gap is shrinking very quickly. Reducing error rates even in noisy environments will be the focus in 2018 too.

Common household appliances are now voice first
In 2017, smart devices, virtual assistants and other voice first technology applications made an easy entry in our everyday lives. Earlier in 2015, no one had even heard of such possibilities. Voice-first technology has now become mainstream and throughout 2018 it will be a growing trend.

Voice Search AIs & Voice-First Devices can understand intent too
Google assistant has also captured the market in a big way. With Google Home, you can make announcements to your house, find your phone and use it in many other fun ways. You can even control your TV with your voice with Google Home device with Chromecast. It’s important to note that now, voice search can understand user intent with greater accuracy and contextual understanding by understanding the user’s location, recent searches and personal information.

Voice Search is Global
Voice search and recognition is not limited to Google Assistant or Siri or Alexa. Well, When Siri was relatively new in the U.S., China already has apps that had a staggering 93% voice recognition accuracy.

The future seems to be dominated by voice and our ability to talk to devices and have them understand us.

Voice Search Is Changing the Way We Advertise
Voice search will definitely have a huge impact in advertisers. The banner ads, pop ups and other advertising media will see a dramatic shift in the way they present themselves and voice search-ability will be a major consideration while creating ads. Advertising as we know it will definitely undergo a huge change.

Here’s how to be prepared for Voice Search in 2018 & Beyond
At its core, optimizing for voice search is similar to the SEO of yesteryear. You need to:

  • Ensure that your content is created in such a manner that it answers the most common questions that your users have and solves their queries.
  • Using Long tail keywords optimized for semantic search is essential to successfully optimize for voice searches.
  • Using schema to mark up your content
  • Make your site mobile friendly

This kind of optimization differs from your usual SEO strategy in two simple ways. You need to pay special attention to creating detailed answers to common questions and ensure that you answer simple questions in the most concise manner. Context and relevance is of utmost importance when you optimize for voice search.

Smart devices and smart technologies are already flooding the market. It’s time for smart marketers to make the most of these to optimize and ensure that businesses make the most of these!

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