Experts tout voice search as study ties answers to top 3 organic results

Olga Andrienko, head of global marketing for SEMrush

Olga Andrienko, head of global marketing for SEMrush

SEATTLE — A new study has found 80% of the answers delivered by Google’s voice assistant came from the three top results in search engine results pages.

Even more, 60% of the results came from featured snippets and 70% overall came from SERP features.

The study, conducted by SEMrush, was unveiled at SMX Advanced in Seattle on Wednesday.

In addition to correlating voice results with SERP, SEMrush found a common link between answer length and use as a voice result.

“If you think of optimizing the paragraph for the intent of voice, make sure it’s around 42 words,” said Olga Andrienko, head of global marketing for SEMrush during her presentation at the conference.

The study also found the average voice result is at a level understandable to a 15-year-old.

SEMrush said it analyzed more than 50,000 queries across three devices: Google Home, Google Home Mini and Google Assistant being used on a Xiaomi Redmi 6 Android Phone.

On the technical SEO side, SEMrush found schema was indeed in use in the vast majority of results, but 36% of the answers given by the Google Home devices contained no Schema at all.

“There are so many types that we found no type of schema particularly helps,” Andrienko said.

Page speed, on the other hand, does. SEMrush found that the result used for a majority of the answers chosen loads significantly faster than the average page in the SERP.

Backlinks were also a factor, as SEMrush found backlinks anchors and title keywords were more prevalent in answers delivered by the voice assistants.

The data is important for SEOs to understand as we continue to think through the rise of voice since it suggests the key to performance is high SERP placement, site speed, content readability and high-quality backlinks. That’s good news, since SEOs are already optimizing for those factors.

Ignite Visibility CEO John Lincoln

Ignite Visibility CEO John Lincoln

The business case for voice

While it’s good news that optimizing for voice may not be so dramatic for SEOs, don’t let that stop you from taking voice search seriously for marketing and business, said Ignite Visibility CEO John Lincoln.

Also speaking at SMX Advanced, Lincoln said marketers must first establish a business goal for voice, “As with anything, is this actually going to make you money? Is it worth investing in it?” he said.

If the answer is yes, the next steps are about cementing your strategy. Choose the assistant or searches with the biggest possible return. Select a system to integrate with it. And integrate with data integration or an approved app.

Lincoln suggested SEOs should get comfortable with Dialogue Flow, a Google-owned development tool that lets you build actions and skills for voice assistants.

“Are you e-commerce? You’re going to spend more time on the Amazon side. Are you a publisher? So you’ll be spending more time on Google? Think about that,” said Lincoln.

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