Is It Possible to Track Voice Search Queries Using Google Search Console?

2019/03/06 08:00

smart speaker seo

Brands know how important voice search has become but is there a way to access this data via Google Search Console?

Not only is voice search changing consumers’ online behavior but that of search engines too.

We can slowly see how voice search queries are affecting search results by looking at featured snippets. Featured snippets are designed to present searchers with the most relevant answers to their questions while also giving them the option to explore other search results. If you search via voice on your mobile device, your voice assistant will even read the featured snippet to you.

Even though there is no magic formula for ensuring your website shows up as a featured snippet, there are steps that you can take to increase your chances. So, where do you begin searching for the data you need to optimize your content for voice search?

Identifying Voice Queries in Google Search Console

Unfortunately, while there has been talked of Google adding voice search queries to their reports, this has not yet been implemented.

This means that you will need to track voice queries in the same way that you would all other search queries. However, there are ways that you can identify voice queries in Google Search Console.

Here are the voice search characteristics to look out for:

  • Queries are longer and more conversational. To help you identify which of your search queries may be voice searches, look for queries that are longer or have a more conversational tone. Where a user may type in “top restaurants in Sydney” using their desktop, someone who is performing a voice search may say something like “which restaurants are serving dinner now near me?” Basically, voice searches are more likely to be phrased as questions.
  • Voice searches tend to be local. According to Search Engine Watch, voice searches are 3X more likely to be local-based. Another report by Google showed that “near me” searches have grown by over 130% YoY. What this means is that search queries that contain “near me” or a specific location are more likely to be voice queries.
  • Instant gratification. People who perform voice searches generally want an immediate answer to something or very specific information. Someone who is looking to browse a website to learn more about a topic is more than likely searching from a desktop, while someone who wants to find the top salons in their area is more than likely performing a voice search.

4 Ways to Optimise for Voice Queries

So, what are the steps that you can take to make your site and content more relevant to voice searches?

  • Focus on User Questions

By looking out for queries that are question-based, you can get a better idea of what consumers want. For example, an online user that includes ‘where’ in their search query is more keen on visiting a physical store, while a user that includes ‘what’ or ‘how’ in their query may be looking for something more informative. Knowing what type of information your consumers are looking for will ensure that you can create content accordingly. Focusing on questions will also give you the opportunity to develop stronger ad campaigns.

  • Use Structured Data

Search engines will be looking out for keywords that will tell them how relevant a page is to a specific search query and structured data helps make this easier. Structured data, or schema markup, can’t be seen by users since it appears in your source code but it does change how your site appears in search results. In the case of voice search, using structured data to highlight information such as your store locations and operating hours will give you an edge over your competitors.

  • Step Into the Shoes of Your Customers

Testing out voice queries as if you are a customer will help you to refine your content in order to make it more relevant. What are some of the most common questions that customers ask your staff? What information would a potential customer find interesting or useful in order to make a decision to convert or visit a store? Asking questions from a customer’s perspective can increase your voice search results.

  • Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Friendly

If every page on your site is not mobile-friendly, you’re automatically reducing your chances of showing up in voice search results. Mobile has never been more important and Google’s mobile-first indexing is a testament to that. Taking steps to create a mobile-friendly experience will bring you one step closer to showing up in more voice search results.

The bottom line is that people talk very differently to how they type and with the rise of voice assistants and smart speakers, brands can no longer afford to ignore this change. However, because so many brands are still trying to find their feet, there is still time to get ahead of your competitors.