Voice, Video & Vernacular SEO – Best Tips & Strategies
December 9, 2018 Rajat Tyagi
“OK Google”, “Alexa”, “Hey Siri” – these phrases have become extremely common. However, what most of us do not notice is our ever-increasing reliance on voice-based commands instead of just typing it out on any search engine. This is why we find a number of devices available which are aimed at providing solutions using voice-based commands.
The increasing affordability of mobile phones and other hand-held devices means that people are not only using voice-based search more than before but are also using it for conducting searches in vernacular languages.
This is being noticed increasingly in countries where multiple languages are spoken. This has already started affecting the way SEO strategies are made involving these three aspects – voice, video, and vernacular. With the introduction of Google’s Rankbrain update, it has now become more important than before to understand the implications of these three in the searches as compared to what they used to be a few years.
So, let us now understand how these four are important for websites and how they are connected to each other.
Preparing for Voice Search
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced in 2015 that the speech recognition error rate had been brought down to a meagre 8%. Three years later, it was found that the error rate had improved by another 3%. The need for further improvement stems from the fact that virtual assistants are now invading our homes like never before.
Apart from their usage on mobile phones we now have smart speakers, smart TVs, and smart homes wherein a number of connected devices are designed to work together, all using voice commands.
Voice commands are not just restricted to the Western world. In fact, it is being witnessed all across the globe. The Chinese are said to be the biggest adopters of voice assistants with as much as 64% adoption rate. Next comes Thailand at 57%.
Best Voice SEO Tips & Strategies
All this goes on to prove the extent to which voice search is important and continuously rising. Here are thus a few Voice SEO tips and strategies to help you prepare for it –
There are two aspects which need to be understood here – typing and asking – and people tend to do both very differently. When we type, we generally tend to write phrases but when we ask, it is in the form of questions.
It is thus imperative to think of the kind of questions that people are most likely to ask around your targeted keywords.
Local Content Queries
If you want to ace voice search optimization, here are a few golden rules pertaining to keywords that you must incorporate in your SEO strategy –
- Landmarks around business locations must be used
- Titles of local institutions which are of relevance to your business
- Include the terms “near me” in your title tags, anchor text, meta description, and internal links, and
- Make use of the phrases that people are most likely to use to describe a neighbourhood around them
Being Mobile Friendly
Despite the increasing usage of smart speakers and other such smart domestic devices, most of the voice search still continues to be done using a mobile phone. It is thus really essential for your website to be mobile friendly. This is because voice search results tend to open a staggering 52% faster in comparison to other pages.
So how do you achieve that?
You first need to make sure that your website has a responsive web design. If you want to check whether your website is in compliance with Google’s guidelines or not, you can make use of the Mobile-Friendly Test Tool provided by Google.
Preparing for Video Search
Video SEO is not the same as regular SEO. Apart from optimizing your website, if you have created videos and want them to get the top ranks, then they too need to be optimized accordingly. The importance of video SEO can be gauged from the fact that search results on Google display a separate ‘Video’ tab.
Best Video SEO Tips & Strategies
Here are a few video SEO tips and strategies to help you better optimize your videos –
Here also keyword research is needed and is essential because most of the views on your videos will come from YouTube suggesting videos to users. You should also try to mold your video around those keywords. This step is very important as content on YouTube is localized in 56 countries across 61 languages and the platform has witnessed a 50% rise in viewership over the last year.
There are two benefits of adding transcripts to videos. Firstly, it helps in reaching out to a wider audience and secondly, it makes it easier for the search bots to crawl through it because there is more text available for them to go through.
Thumbnails can add a lot of impact on a number of SEO metrics including your CTR (Click-Through-Rate). Also, the thumbnails are the first thing which a user sees when the video search results are displayed. The thumbnail thus needs to be very compelling and beautiful.
Additional Read: Impact of Voice Search in SEO
Preparing for Vernacular SEO
With increasing affordability and accessibility, the use of the internet by non-English speakers is on the rise. According to a survey by Internet World Stats, more than half of the searches on Google are done in languages other in English.
Not many marketers have exploited this trend. While there is a lot of competition for English keywords, the same is not the case in other languages. Thus, if properly utilized vernacular SEO can not only increase your audience base but also help you climb the search ranks quickly.
Best Vernacular SEO Tips & Strategies
Here are a few vernacular SEO tips and strategies to help you reach the top ranks –
Securing a Domain Name
It is more than ideal to have an in-country domain name for each of the markets you wish to target instead of using subdomains for your main website. This is because many search engines give a lot of importance to in-country domain names, especially in China where the most popular search engine Baidu tends to prefer local websites.
Target the Right Search Engines
Yes, Google is the biggest search engine in the world but it is not the leader in every region. For instance, in Japan Yahoo is preferred, the Chinese use Baidu, Russians opt for Yandex, and the South Koreans do most of their searches using Naver.
In each of these countries, there is a separate issue. In China, people find it increasingly difficult to pronounce Google, while Yandex is more popular because it is better equipped to handle the complexities of the Russian language.
It is thus imperative to understand the intricacies of each search engine. Like Yahoo in Japan is powered by Google. It prefers a keyword density of 7 to 8 per cent and prefers directory listings. Baidu, on the other hand, pays more attention to inbound links, optimized image titles, and alt-text.
Creating In-Country Links
One of the best recourses in climbing the search ranks is by creating a link-building campaign. This can be achieved by targeting the web directories of each country separately. However, if the domain of your business is a highly specialized one, then you need to create more back-links to your website.
The advantage you can get here is Google’s ‘duplication rule’ does not apply here. This means that you can reuse already existing content in a different language. However, you must hire native translators of high-quality for that purpose.
All three of the above-mentioned SEO strategies are incorporated to meet ranking factors affecting Google updates. One such update was named Hummingbird which came out in 2013. One aspect of this update was Rankbrain- a ranking signal which makes use of voice, video, and vernacular to understand the search queries and sort the search results accordingly. Every now and then, Google comes out with an update which affects its search results.
What is Google Rankbrain?
It is part of Google’s Hummingbird update which makes use of machine learning to provide the most relevant search results to the user. Thus, now every time a query is input, Google’s search algorithm will make use of a number of factors (or algorithms) to understand the actual intent of the user to deliver not just better, but more relevant search results.
These factors include the location of the user, the words which have been entered in the query, and many more in which voice, video, and vernacular optimization of great importance.
Rankbrain is still developing gradually. However, it has shown a lot of promise and application in various aspects of our lives. It has also left an impact on the way searches are being conducted these days and how they will be done in the future. In short, it provides us with a glimpse of what the future might be like. That’s why it pays to prepare yourself accordingly.
What is Voice Search SEO?
Voice search SEO is the optimization of keywords, phrases and content for searches using voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google. More and more people are using voice search more than ever before.
How do I optimize voice search?
If you wish to improve your voice search SEO, we recommend the following:
- Improve your site speed and mobile-friendliness
- Keyword research, especially in the form of long-tail and question-answer format
- Focus on local SEO
How does voice search Affect SEO?
Voice search is catching on and will affect SEO in the following ways:
- Searches will be conversational and based on semantics
- Content must be optimised for users and not search engines
- Mobile-friendliness is the only way
- Featured snippets gain more importance
- Local SEO will dominate
Why Voice Search SEO Matters to Business Owners?
Voice search has and will continue to affect businesses. Businesses should be prepared for a heavy influx of voice searches in the future by:
- Hiring the right talent
- Implement long-tail keywords
- Incorporate an FAQ based strategy and work on creating snippets
- Adjust for natural and conversational language, in both content and SEO
- Create content for consumers and not search engines
What to Expect from Voice Search Marketing in the Future?
It is estimated that 50% of all searches by 2020 will be voice or image searches. Voice-based searches using a mobile phone are 3 times more likely to be location-specific. We are looking at growth in voice commerce as well.
Internet, coupled with faster and reliable hardware, AI and further improvement in machine learning and natural language processing will make voice search even more valuable. We recommend that you become an early adopter and begin optimizing content for voice search.
How Smart are Home Assistant Devices?
Home Assistant devices are getting smarter by the day – they can control the lighting, heating, security for your home, act as speakers and as a search engine, set timers, and manage calendars and reminders. They can connect with external apps such as Spotify or Uber. They can do quick tasks (making lists, doing calculations), connect with your other smart gadgets, play trivia games or tell jokes. There are a number of business cases for assistant devices as well such as aiding check-in and experiences at hotels and providing assistance in retail stores.
Google and Alexa are the most popular Home Assistant devices.