How to Optimize for Voice Search (And Why It’s Important) 0 279

Why Voice Search Is Bigger Than You Think

Interacting with artificial intelligence may still seem like an idea from science fiction, but several companies have turned that idea into reality sparking the need to know how to optimize for voice search.

Is voice search really that important?

Yes, because it’s revealed something about us … we really, really like it.

When people have questions, they turn to the web for answers. If you want to learn more about a restaurant, the weather, or the score from last night’s game, you’ll probably turn to the web for the answer in most cases. It’s fast, efficient, and you can access it with your phone.

With voice search, you don’t even need your phone.

So, what does this mean for business owners?

Similar to the way you performed search engine optimization to align your website with the keyword your target customers use, you now need to understand how to optimize for voice search. Today, we’re taking a closer look at this process as well as why it’s important.

How Popular Is Voice Search?

The statistics on voice search definitely shows that it has become a lot more popular, and it will become even more prevalent in the future.

  • Compared to 2008 voice search stats, search queries on Google voice search has increased 35 times by 2016.
  • 4 out of 10 adults now use voice search at least once a day.
  • About a quarter of young adults (ages 16 to 24) use voice search on their mobile devices.
  • By 2016, 20% of searches on an Android app in the US were by voice search.

More and more people are using it. It’s just a fact of life, and it’s a practice that’s bound to increase in the future. It’s been predicted that by 2020, fully half of all searches will be by voice. Desktop users are using voice search more, and home automation and Internet devices are increasingly voice activated.

Why Voice Search Is Bigger Than You Think

Top Reasons Why More People are Using Voice Search

There are several good reasons why more people are using voice search instead of typing in keywords into a search bar. One survey discovered the top reasons for resorting to voice search over keyboard tapping:

  • Voice search is great when you’re eyes or hands are otherwise busy at something else. In many cases, this “something else” means driving. But it can apply to many other types of activities and situations. You can be doing chores at home, such as vacuuming or watching TV. You can be working out in the gym. So when your hands are busy, this means you can’t type in the words in the search bar. When you’re watching something else, you can’t see what you’re typing. In both cases, voice search makes more sense.
  • Others use voice search because they appreciate the faster results. Think about it: how much faster is it for people to talk, compared to typing in the keywords? People can type about 40 words a minute, but they can speak up to 150 words per minute. Google can start its search much earlier with voice search.
  • Some people use voice search because it’s easier. In many situations, it can be difficult to type in the words. This is certainly true when you’re on the go. Others aren’t yet well-versed in tapping the right letters on a smartphone screen.
  • For some, it’s about the cool and fun factor. Kids and teens just think it’s a cool way to use Google. But quite a few senior citizens are enthralled by the technology as well. It’s just so Star Trek.
  • Voice search is also a good way to avoid using confusing menus. This is especially true for apps that allow for voice search.
Voice assistants rely on natural language processing
Voice assistants rely on natural language processing

How to Optimize for Voice Search

So now that you know that people are using voice search more frequently, you have to adjust your website to accommodate this new trend. It took too long for some brands and websites to factor in the rising popularity of mobile search in the past, and they paid for it with reduced traffic. Now your website has to account for voice search if you want to take SEO seriously.

So what should you do? Here are some ways you can improve your website so that you can accommodate the needs of people who use voice search:

Update your local listings

In many cases, people use voice search to find info regarding brick and mortar establishments. So you need to make sure that your local listings are set up properly and they’re accurate. Put in your business information and pick your categories wisely. Your information should also be consistent with all the listings they appear in.

Use natural language keywords

The most common keywords used in voicemail will usually be in the form of long tail keywords and natural questions. You have to optimize your site for those kinds of questions.

Have a Q&A section

This is an effective way to have natural questions in your content. At the same time, you can provide the answers right away. It’s best if you don’t limit your Q&A to just your FAQ section. You may want to have your blog posts contain this kind of format. In fact, you can put them on your product pages as well. You have to build your content around questions that people might post on voice search.

Optimize for mobile

While it’s true that voice search is even becoming popular for desktop PC, the fact remains that voice search is more often done on smartphones. This means you need to make sure your website looks great on such a small screen. It should also feature navigation features that work best for smartphone touchscreens. Don’t put in links and buttons too close together.

Boos your website speed

Many voice search users are on the go. They’re also mobile Internet users, and these people are notoriously impatient. About 40% of all mobile users wait only 3 seconds before they abandon a website. So if it takes more than a few seconds for your landing screen to load, people are just going to tap the back button and try another website instead.

Make your content scannable

Most of the time, people won’t bother to read long articles on their smartphones. They’ve posted a question on their search, and they want to get the answer quickly. So use visual info if possible. For text, you need large fonts for headlines, simple sentences, and short paragraphs.

It’s imperative that you don’t miss the boat on voice search. You have to accept that more and more people are using this to find the website and data they need, and you have to optimize your website accordingly.

Here are 9 Biggest Trends in The Tech Industry Today

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Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace 0 325

Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace

Honesty is the best policy is an old but well-known proverb. It certainly is and a lot of people believe it. People will always appreciate the honesty of another.

However, the truth is uncomfortable to talk about, especially when you’re in an office set up. Business relationships are always built in a way where you need to put on a false persona. You need to save face and most of the time you have to hide who you really are.

Many professionals have to put up with this because authenticity in the workplace is something that can’t be easily achieved. No matter what your background is, the cold and honest (ironic huh?) truth remains that you have to hide your real persona.

Being authentic at work might trigger other people. You will be the target of envy, of scorn, and you will be an outcast.

Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace
Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace

What now?

So what does freedom in work actually mean? Does it mean having a pantry filled with things that you can eat at your own leisure? Does it mean having a dress code that allows you to come into the office while your favorite hoodie and sweatpants?

This is true for some people but to many others, it means being able to bring out who they truly are without having to fear to be an outcast. It means that’s they can simply be themselves. The question now presents itself, how do we achieve this for everyone?

We are all made up of layers

In this age, if you don’t act like other people or do what other people do, then you are already a target for scorn. Your unique perspective and actions aren’t really accepted by corporations and businesses.

People who come from the LGBTQ+ community or married individuals who choose not to have children may find that even the simplest of questions could open up a hazardous path leading to awkward office conversations. These people may be forced to answer a question that they don’t want to answer.

Questions like “when do you plan on having kids?” or “are you really gay?” are inquiries that people who fall under the spectrum of being ‘different’ have to deal with every day.  And honestly, it can get very tiring after a while.

Even if you aren’t technically hiding your sexual orientation, people will always still want you to magically conform to the norms of society. They may be thinking that asking questions like this might magically make you change your mind on whatever you’ve already set your heart on. To be honest, this never works.

The Global Head of Culture & Inclusion at Twilio, LaFawn Davis says that “We are all intersectional, meaning all have layers with which we identify. There can also be negative and long-term impact on intersectional technologists from expending the energy to determine whether or not all their layers will be welcomed or excluded”

Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace
Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace

The Pressure to Cover

In day to day office conversations, a non-conforming person may find themselves straining their minds. They are always burdened because they are always trying to think of ways to communicate with other co-workers without offending any of them.

An example of this would be, someone who does not have any interest in the importance of marriage or relationships in general. This person would have to find a way to explain that they are not interested in other people without offending the inquirer. In some cases, the non-conformist will have to evade the question altogether.

In tow with evading a conversation, individuals who find themselves in this type of situation commonly resort to talking about another co-worker. Not from ill intent, but from the perspective that this would be the only way to change the topic.

Of course, this is easier said than done. For the non-conformist, it would be hardly able to shake off the innate feeling of wanting to be different. One could not simply toss aside the feeling of being authentic. But, to talk about taboo things in the office would only lead to more complications.

Research shows that the act of ‘covering’, or the act of someone downplaying their differences from the norm actually affects the workforce badly. 3000 employees in over 20 large US firms had a turnout of 61% of employees that had faced implicit pressure to cover up their true selves in some way. While 50% of employees said that the pressure had disappeared because of their commitment to the company.

However, this practice still has a negative effect on people. This practice hinders the performance of the workers, and it could drain the individual in the process. Covering is also seen as a leading cause of attrition, with over 1000 casualties in companies.

Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace
Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace

Lead with Empathy

The best solution to this persistent problem is to develop safer and friendlier environments for people who fall under the spectrum of ‘non-conforming’. Leading with empathy includes implementing inclusive values, such as respecting an individual’s preferred pronouns.

To an employee, the people with the most influence are their supervisors. Once their team managers make them feel like their needs are acknowledged and that they’ve established that they are in a safe zone, then these individuals will feel less of an outcast and less likely to leave the company. Authentic concern for employees always produces good results, whether or not they are classified into the minority.

Supervisors must also strive to lead by example. Once someone from a higher position starts setting a new norm, their subordinates will start picking up on the habit. If everyone in the company starts being their true to themselves without having to hide behind a mask, then the company can slowly become a safe and conducive environment.

Being ‘authentic’ in this world is a hard feat to accomplish, but staying open and humble in a conversation helps in trying to make authenticity become the new norm. There is no single answer to the existing problem but if leaders lead with bravery and trust, they are sure to herd the industry into the right path.

How to Create a Culture of Collaboration.

The Evolution of IoT and Where We’re Heading 0 317

The Evolution of IoT and Where We're Heading

Do you have the right idea about IoT (Internet of Things)? It may not mean what you think it means!

If you’ve been monitoring news about the Internet and modern technology, it’s a fair guess that you have encountered the phrase Internet of Things. Usually, people just call it IoT. While it does seem to represent an exciting new stage in high tech, there’s a problem: what the heck is it?

What we have with IoT is something nebulous, like the concept of justice. It seems like people have different ideas on what it means. Never mind how people disagree on which direction it should take. Like politics, you can’t get everyone to agree on how technology should evolve in the future. But the problem with IoT is that people can’t even agree on what it means now.

It’s probably understandable. It’s called the “Internet of Things”. Sure, people do have the same basic idea of what the Internet is. It’s just that people tend to disagree on exactly what those “things” are.


It’s only recently that the phrase became a hyped-up byword in tech articles in mainstream publications. Some people even believe that it’s a new concept. But the reality is that it’s actually an old idea. Tech entrepreneur Peter Lewis coined the phrase “Internet of Things” way back in 1985 when he gave a speech in D.C. That was a long time ago, and the Internet wasn’t even a true reality yet.

Lewis defined IoT as “the integration of people, processes and technology with connectable devices and sensors to enable remote monitoring, status, manipulation, and evaluation of trends of such devices.”

The Evolution of IoT and Where We’re Heading

IoT and Home Automation

Over the years, people seem to believe that the “things” in the Internet of Things refers to the interconnected gadgets we use. Admittedly, it’s easy enough to understand why so much media attention has been focused on these gadgets. These devices are evolving at a rapid rate, and they keep on improving and developing. As each year passes, they become more sophisticated.

One simple illustration of what the public sees as IoT is the use of the smart bulb. In the old days, you need to manually flick a switch to turn on the light. Now that’s no longer the case.

Instead of walking to the wall switch to turn on the light, you can use your smartphone instead. A smart light bulb has tech features that allow it to connect to your Wi-Fi so it’s also connected to the Internet. Your smartphone also connects to the Internet through Wi-Fi. This setup allows you to control your smart light bulb through an app.

Now with this setup, you have more sophisticated means of turning off the light. You can use your smartphone like a TV remote, and turn the light on or off with the smartphone. You don’t have to be there in the room either. The app can tell you if the light bulb is on while you’re in the office, and you can turn the light off from there. The app can give you a virtual switch and you can use it to turn off the light.

In fact, with the app, you can even program the light bulb to turn on and off at programmed times. You can do this to keep the light turning on and off to make it seem like you’re at home. You can even connect the light bulb to a sensor or a security camera, and have it turn automatically on when the sensors detect someone’s presence.

So now we have a smart light bulb, a smartphone and an app, your Wi-Fi, and maybe even your security camera interconnected through Wi-Fi. You have lots of gadgets working together.

But is this the Internet of Things? Are the gadgets and the “things” the same thing? People seem to think so, but that may not be the best interpretation.

The Evolution of IoT and Where We're Heading
Home Automation

User Point of View

When you have a light bulb and a switch, it’s easy enough to understand how to operate the light bulb. You can flick the switch to a certain direction, and it can turn on. Flick the switch the other way, and it turns off. It’s so simple. You don’t have to read a manual or watch YouTube videos online for you to understand how it works.

The same thing goes with a good smart light bulb and an app in a smartphone. As the user, you don’t even have to understand the details of how it works. You don’t need to know the science of how your app and your smart light bulb work and how they transmit data through the Wi-Fi. You just need to use the app properly and then you can activate or program the smart light bulb to turn on and off whenever you want.

Developer Point of View

The developer needs to understand the user’s perspective. That means they have to acknowledge that the user has no real need to understand the complex science required for the smart light bulb or an app.

Instead, the developer has to keep things simple. Using the app must be as intuitive and easy to understand as the wall switch of a regular light bulb.

This is the usability factor, and it’s crucial for the light bulb and the app to gain mainstream success. People will tend to reject gadgets and features that they don’t understand. It doesn’t matter if the people understand how it works. They just have to understand what to do to make it work. That’s the crucial difference.

Changing Your Mindset

Basically, you have a light bulb and a smart version of it, and they’re the same thing. You have a wall switch, and now you have an app. They’re the same thing too, as they both work as the switch.

Thus, the Internet of Things isn’t really about interconnected gadgets. They’re about interconnected concepts.  That’s how people and developers need to see IoT for it to become more prevalent.

You can’t focus on the advancement of the technology. These advances must be out of sight. For users, it’s about how easy things are to use. Focusing on easy UX is also how developers must see IoT. So even while IoT devices keep on getting more sophisticated, the real challenge is to keep it simple!

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