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How Voice Search Is Changing SEO

author image Written by: Lia           Categories - Digital Marketing, SEO Tips

And What You Can Do to Stay Ahead of This Game Changer

The future of SEO is here with voice search. People no longer wish to use their hands to search online, and can you blame them? Why would you ever want to use your hands if you could simply speak into your phone and have the answer provided by your own personal (phone) assistant with a cool accent? Voice-enabled devices are the next big thing in the ever-changing world of technology. Naturally, SEO will have to adapt to keep up with the growing demands for voice search. Changing SEO means including voice commands into websites and changing the web content to a more conversational style that voice search systems can pick up on. The amount of voice-enabled devices on the market is growing, and voice commands are becoming the way of life for many savvy users who don’t want to waste their time typing—and why should they?

Voice Search Is Smarter Than Ever

The voice search systems on popular devices are also known as intelligent personal assistants. These personal assistants have pretty names (for the most part) such as Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Amazon Alexa, and are becoming more intelligent with the evolution of technology. Users are relying on their personal assistants to answer their questions quickly and efficiently. This saves time and avoids having to look up the questions on their own, with their hands. These personal assistants are now better able to understand the context of a question—as in, what you actually mean when you say something.

What This Means for SEO

To stay ahead of this intelligent voice technology, SEO will have to use more conversational content so voice search systems can easily match user vocabulary with webpage content. This means the use of:

  • Personalized long tail keywords that match real conversations instead of short commands;
  • Informal language content with natural conversational tone to match the language use and vocabulary of users;
  • Semantic vocabulary code—such as Schema—to provide more useful and detailed search results for users; and
  • FAQ pages with questions that are similar to the user questions in voice search—i.e. start with the 5 Ws—who, what, where, when, why—and how.

Adapting SEO to meet the vocabulary of the average person shouldn’t be too difficult. It will be worth it to keep up with voice search technology. Voice search has made looking up useful (and useless) information so much easier in today’s fast-paced and constantly fact-checking world. It also makes multi-tasking much easier, such as while driving or sitting on the couch.

Lia

Google Confirms That Page Experience Update Is a Ranking Factor

08/06/2021

Google’s John Mueller has offered up some interesting insight into the recent Page Experience Update, revealing that the update, which incorporates core web vitals, is, in fact, a ranking factor and could have more impact than previously thought.

“It is a ranking factor, and it’s more than a tie-breaker, but it also doesn’t replace relevance,” said Mueller on Reddit.

READ MORE: LAUNCHED: Google’s Page Experience Update Begins Rollout


This revelation should come as a bit of a surprise to the SEO community, as Google had previously implied that the Page Experience Update is simply a tie-breaker.

In fact, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, had initially said the Page Experience Update would not be significant, with Mueller adding that it would be a slow rollout that would not be felt very much. Google Public Search Liason, Danny Sullivan, also came out and said that it would not create massive change or have a significant impact when rolled out.

Based on Mueller’s comments this morning, we can now assume that the Page Experience Update lies somewhere between a tie-breaker signal and a very low weight signal.

Here’s Mueller’s full explanation so you can interpret it for yourself:

“Depending on the sites you work on, you might notice it more, or you might notice it less. As an SEO, a part of your role is to take all of the possible optimizations and figure out which ones are worth spending time on. Any SEO tool will spit out 10s or 100s of “recommendations”, most of those are going to be irrelevant to your site’s visibility in search. Finding the items that make sense to work on takes experience.

The other thing to keep in mind with core web vitals is that it’s more than a random ranking factor, it’s also something that affects your site’s usability after it ranks (when people actually visit). If you get more traffic (from other SEO efforts) and your conversion rate is low, that traffic is not going to be as useful as when you have a higher conversion rate (assuming UX/speed affects your conversion rate, which it usually does). CWV is a great way of recognizing and quantifying common user annoyances.”

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Google Offers Insights Into How It Deals With Spam During Podcast

07/07/2021

Less than a week after rolling out part two of its “Spam Update,” Google has provided some insight into how the search engine tackles spam.

 In a recent podcast, Google’s John Mueller, Gary Illyes, Martin Splitt, and Duy Nguyen from the Google search quality team, discussed Google’s methods for ranking search results and preventing and dealing with spam content.

READ MORE: Google Confirms New “Spam” Algorithm Update

An interesting piece of information provided by Nguyen was that Google uses machine learning models to deal with “obvious” spam.

He explained that Google uses a “very effective and comprehensive machine-learning model that basically took care of most of the obvious spam.” This machine learning model enables the Google search quality team to focus on “more important work,” such as hacked spam, online scams, and other issues that machine learning models may not pick up on.

Google’s machine learning models are also constantly working on improving their spam prevention methods when it comes to search by analyzing years’ worth of data.

Insights into How Google Ranks Search Results

Mueller, Illyes, Splitt, and Nguyen also discussed how search rankings work, diving into Google’s methodology.

Here is a summary of what was discussed:

Google’s first step is to compile a shortlist of around 1,000 results for any given query. Google generates this list based on how topical and relevant the query and the content on a particular page is.

From this list, Google will apply ranking signals and factors to come up with an even shorter list. According to Illyes, this part is where “the magic” happens.

Google then “assigns a number and we calculate that number using the signals that we collected during indexing plus the other signals. And then essentially, what you see in the results is a reverse order based on those numbers that we assigned,” said Illyes.

Algorithms that are most commonly used are RankBrain and the HTTPS boost, however, Illyes explained that HTTPS doesn’t have the capability to rearrange search results.

So, there you have it. Are you at all surprised by these insights or have you always had a feeling that this is how Google does things?

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