What is Speakable and How Can it Help Voice Search SEO?

What is Speakable and How Can it Help Voice Search SEO?

Last Edited January 15, 2019 by Garenne Bigby in Search Engine Optimization

Speakable, voice search, SEO—trying to keep up with technology can be a bit like trying to learn a foreign language. Times are changing faster than ever and trying to keep up with technology can sometimes be a challenge, both financially and mentally. This article will help you navigate the ins and outs of speakable devices and demonstrate some possible scenarios where using it in the right way can lead to big successes. This article will help you learn everything you need to know about speakable and how it can help your voice search SEO.

voice search seo

What is Speakable?

Speakable refers to devices capable of speech recognition. One such example is if you enable text to speech on a smartphone, you can talk and the smartphone will type the text message for you. Speakable devices are becoming more and more popular which is why it is increasingly important to make sure your voice search SEO is as optimized and well executed as it can be.

Google and schema.org have collaborated to come up with the speakable specifications that optimize content for Google assistant. The speakable specification highlights excerpts on web pages that can be read aloud by certain devices. This is key for any Google device.

What is voice search?

Voice search is a speech recognition technology that allows you to search for something by speaking the term out loud rather than typing it into a search engine. As technology advances, most people want things to be faster, to be easier, to be instant. Telegraphs were a more relaxed version of writing letters, mailing them, and waiting a number of days or weeks for the recipient to receive them. Telephone calls were an easier version of sending a telegraph.

Text messages were an easier version of making a telephone call. Voice searching is an easier version of typing something into an internet search engine, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. It is not merely laziness driving this shift, but efficiency. Time is money and some people are short on both.

That being said, laziness is also a giant factor in why so many people desire and utilize this fascinating technology. Keeping up with advances in technology is key to everyday success online.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Let’s say you have a website. Regardless of what it is for or about, you want people to be able to find it, right? That is where SEO comes in to play. Here is an example: Peter has a great interest in sloths. He knows a lot about them and likes to take pictures of them. Peter decides to create a website to sell the pictures he has taken of sloths.  Peter creates a wonderful website, complete with a blog, sloth facts and a store in which you can purchase framed pictures of sloth or even hooded sweatshirts with his sloth photographs on them. Everything is up and running and ready for Peter to make some sales. How will anyone who gets on the internet looking to buy a picture of a sloth find Peter’s website? SEO.

Peter needs to have not only words like “sloth” and “photography” on his site, but also phrases like “sloth photography” or “sloth photography for sale” or “hooded sweatshirt with sloth for sale” somewhere in his website.  This allows search engines, for example, Google, Yahoo or Bing, to find and display his website in their list of choices that come up when someone looks something up on the internet.

Here is a further example: Let’s say, Leonhard, who lives in eastern Siberia, is up late one night and decides he is cold. He decides to order himself a new sweatshirt online since stores are sparse in his area of the world. Leonhard is also a bit of a trendsetter so he wants something a little edgy and funny. He thinks for a moment and then decides he would like a hooded sweatshirt with a sloth on it. He breaks out his laptop, goes to Google and types in “funny sloth sweatshirt.”

Thankfully, even though it was created halfway around the world, Peter worked hard on his website’s SEO and his pops up as a choice in Leonhard’s Google findings. Of course, Peter’s website will not be the only option that Leonhard sees, but being on the first page of Google is a big deal because honestly, how often do you look at page two or three?

Because Peter has the foresight and knowledge to include the exact words of “sloth,” “sweatshirt,” and “picture” in his website, he has made a sale. Both men can sleep well.

Why Speakable Matters

The world is moving towards an increasingly hands-off society. More things are automated, faster, easier, attention spans are at all-time lows. People are constantly on the move. Imagine driving down the interstate. You receive a text message from your mother asking what time you will be home for dinner. You know how she worries about getting a hot meal on the table for her working man.

Texting and driving is illegal, as well it should be. Now, with the push of a button you can speak, yes speak with your mouth, just like you are talking to your mother, and say exactly what time you will be home for meatloaf and she will receive it just like a text you typed out. Win-win, especially if you did not want to spend your fifty five minute commute talking with her in a standard phone call.

Please check with your local authorities as to whether or not even pushing the talk to text button is legal. Laws vary by state and country. As is just common sense, do not take your eyes off of the road for any reason, especially to monkey around with your phone. No text message, phone call or internet website is worth hurting yourself or others due to distracted driving.

Talk to text is not the only way speakable matters. You can tell certain devices, like Alexa to do things for you. For example, you can say, “Alexa, turn on the lights.” If you have a smart home and things are set up correctly, the device called Alexa will actually turn on your lights. You never need to get out of your chair. Is this being lazy? Maybe, but what if you are immobilized for medical reasons?

A paraplegic with speakable technology is a formidable opponent compared to paraplegic of the past. With new technology, these people are able experience life in a better way. Along those lines; you could be in a lot of pain, unable to get up and need medical assistance. If you have a speakable device around, you can have it call 911 for you.

Why Speakable Matters, Continued

That’s right; speakable has even more capabilities than texting your mom or having devices place phone calls for you. Remember Leonhard from Siberia who wanted a new sweatshirt? Imagine, tucked away in his Siberian hut, Leonhard did not feel like dragging out his laptop computer or getting out of his bed or turning on a light. If he has a speakable device, he could actually say, “I want to buy a sweatshirt with a sloth on it” and, if Peter successfully set up voice search SEO on his sloth website, the two will be connected yet again for the fateful late-night sale.

How to Get Started Optimizing Content for Google Assistant

There are quite a few steps to follow in order to get started.

  • First, you must submit your content via either the Publisher Center or Google News Producer. They will review your submission and get back to you in a few weeks. If approved, you can move on following their guidelines.

  • Next, you must create brand new web pages. Test your code using the Structured Data Testing Tool.

  • After it is all fixed and ready, submit the page to Google Console so that they can check it over. The ultimate goal here is to have your article appear on Google Assistant.

Guidelines for Eligibility

The guidelines speakable content span over four areas: content, technical, webmaster, and structured data.

  • Concise headlines and/or summaries that provide users with useful and understandable information is required when writing content for speakable structured data. For optimal audio user experiences, only approximately 2-3 sentences or 20-30 seconds of content per section is recommended.

  • The technical guidelines suggest that speakable structured data should not be added to content that may be unclear in voice-forward and voice-only situations such as photo or caption. Another point to remember is that you should focus only on key points. Listeners will get all the important information compared to if they were to go through an entire article.

  • To enable structured data, a few guidelines must be followed to be deemed eligible for inclusion in Google Search results. The required properties of your content must be contained within your site for eligibility.

  • The Webmaster quality guidelines are not far-flung. They cover the most common forms of manipulative or deceptive behavior that Google may respond negatively to. By upholding the principles, you can enjoy a better user experience for your speakable content.

How Does Google Markup Work?

If you speak to a Google device, for example asking it what today’s weather will be, it will find and read the forecast aloud to you immediately. Google Assistant will then ask you whether or not you are satisfied with that answer or if you would like the device to search again. No, repeatedly searching will not necessarily yield you a sunny, 75-degree day.

Search engines can easily identify content and read aloud on Google Assistant-enabled devices when markup is added. So, if your web page has speakable structured data, all the Google Assistant devices out there will be able to find you and read aloud from your webpage. With the increasing numbers of people using these devices, this is a major contributor to attracting traffic to your site.

Remember, the more people Peter gets to his site, the more sloth art he is going to sell, and that is the whole reason he made his website, to begin with.

Another Example Of How Speakable Can Help Your Voice Search SEO

Gretel is a grandmother who loves to write. After she took a hard fall, her family placed her into a nursing home, claiming it would be only temporary. As the years crawled by, Gretel made many friends up and down the hallway. Being of sound mind, which was rare for the area, she would often tend to the other wards when the nurses were too busy or outside smoking or talking into their speakable devices.

She soon discovered the other residents of the hallway just loved to listen to her read. She would spend most of her days reading aloud to them because it passed the time. Eventually, her throat began to become irritated from overuse. However, she pressed on, not wanting to let them down now that they had come to expect her reading services each and every day.

Much to her dismay, the pride she felt regarding this was diminished when upon further investigation she figured out that they just loved to listen to someone, anyone read. And, read anything. Just a soothing voice was all they wanted. She realized this as she entered a ward’s cell, book in hand, and say that they were talking to the television, thinking it was Gretel. Gretel wanted to monopolize on this. Her tech-savvy grandson had given her his used speakable device last Christmas, and she decided right then and there to finally figure out how to use it.

As time went on, she had mastered having it tell her the news, book tickets to the theater (even though she had no way of getting there) and even play Christmas music and varying volumes. She knew her local library had a system in place that allowed people to download audio books. She was able to download the audiobooks, create a website, illegally upload the audiobook recordings to her own website, and then charge people to listen to the audiobooks.

She had her grandson bring over dozens of speakable-enabled devices and set them up in the rooms of anyone who wanted one, for a fee of course. She did not ask him where he had acquired such a large number of electronics in such a short time. Once everyone who wanted one had their speakable device set up, the elders could tell their device to start reading without ever having to get out of bed.

They didn’t even have to life their heads off their pillows or even open their eyelids. Gretel made sure her website was set up to show up in Google’s search for “read me a story” and things just took off from there. In fact, Gretel made so much money from charging $6.65 per minute of audiobook playing that she was able to nearly fund her remaining time in the nursing home.

This is a fictional example, of course, but the basic idea (minus the copyright infringement) can be applied to nearly any situation where someone is trying to drive traffic to a website.

What Are The Risks of Using Speakable To Help Voice Search SEO?

The only risk of using speakable to help your voice search SEO is not doing it correctly and wasting your time. If this is the case, your website will still exist. It will still work. It is just that no one using a speakable device to find it will be able to find it very easily. Perhaps if they keep telling the device to search some more your website would eventually show up, but that would be very rare.

Not many people take the time to look beyond Google’s first page of suggested websites. It is imperative to be in the top ten or so suggestions that any search engine finds. For this to happen, you must make sure your website has accurate, up to date, useful, information. You cannot create a website full of power words that add up to nothing but gibberish.

Search engines have crawlers and hundreds of thousands of people checking in to these things, and it will be found out and eventually eliminated from the search engine’s results. This is a great system of checks and balances, otherwise, between the billions of websites that currently exist, the relatively small percent of decent ones would be entirely buried in cyberspace.

The risks of being on the user-end of speakable are also mostly wasted time. Although speakable technology becomes better and better by the day, or probably even by the hour, it is not yet perfected. Accents, even slight ones from different regions of the United States are sometimes difficult for the device to correctly interpret.

People from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and southern Alabama are prime examples of this. Although they are both supposedly speaking American English, to a machine (or even the casual listener), it can seem like something else entirely. Casual lingo or slang that a lot of people unknowingly insert into their everyday speech can also hinder speakable devices’ functions, such as saying “like” or “um” or “oh.” These are filler words. You would not type them into the search engine box when looking up something on the internet. In other words, you should also not say them when speaking to a device that is trying to look up something for you.

Some people find omitting such slang from their vocabularies is almost impossible because they are so habituated to using them. It may take some concentration and practice, but it must be done in order to make the most of speakable technology. Speech impediments like stuttering can also negatively affect the capabilities of your speakable searching. Turrets Syndrome is another heavy disadvantage for trying to use speakable technology. Although by no fault of the user, the extra words are crippling to voice searching.

Even the slightest amount of background noise, such as traffic, wind, having a television on, other people talking (whether to each other or their own devices), or static in a bad connection can be detrimental to speakable search. Try to find a quiet, sheltered area when using speakable devices for optimum results.

The Importance Of Voice Search SEO

Voice search SEO is of the utmost importance to drive traffic to your site or article from devices with speakable capabilities. Your sales, your publicity, your public outreach—everything is driven by the number of visitors to your site. Numbers are key. There is little more important, especially when you are trying to make money from your website.

Without speakable devices being able to find your site because you set it up correctly, you will miss out on all the traffic from people using those devices for their internet searches. This could possibly be a very costly mistake. It may well be worth the investment to hire an expert in the proper installation of voice search optimization if any and all traffic to your website is crucial.

Students, i.e., young people, are generally the generation on the cutting edge of technology. Although they are not the ones actually developing it, they are usually the first and most willing population to try it out and master it. Speakable technology is no exception, as a growing number of students use it in both their personal lives and studies. Therefore, it is not only “fun” websites that need to utilize voice search SEO but also sites with reference data and other information that students need to be able to find.

Try entering an area where students gather to study or do their homework. There is endless chatter. Look around. They are not always talking to each other—they are also talking to their speakable devices! Often you can find them with their device propped up, talking to it, and taking notes as they go. In the “old days” of say, perhaps last year, this would not have been the case. They would have had to type into their devices, read what they were looking at, put their device down, and then picked up their writing utensil and then proceeded to take notes. Now not only can they speak hands-free to their device, but their device can read them what is on the websites.

Final Words     

Speakable is imperative to helping your voice search SEO. Voice search SEO is, in turn, imperative to helping your website be successful. To many, it is more than just a website. It could be the way you make your living. It could be the driving force behind your business. It could be your way of applying to jobs. It could be the way you communicate with your doctor. It could be the way your doctor communicates with the specialized surgeon many miles away while you are under anesthesia. The possibilities are endless.

Garenne Bigby
Author: Garenne BigbyWebsite: http://garennebigby.com
Founder of DYNO Mapper and Advisory Committee Representative at the W3C.

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