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Google Launches Voice Schema Support

26 July 2018 | 0 comments | Posted by Che Kohler in nichemarket Advice

Google Steps up their voice search efforts with schema support

If you haven't already noticed, we're all getting lazier, and a simple Google search is starting to become manual labour. Why can't I just ask for that I want? Well, you can its just a bit clunky at the moment. Voice search has been slowly creeping into the equation when it comes to answering queries. Voice assistants like Alexa/Echo, Ok Google, Siri and Bixby are becoming increasingly popular.

While voice search begins to gain traction, websites need to look at optimising their content for this new search type which could see you bump up the rankings. For example, you may be on page 2 for the moment, but if you're the most valuable voice search query, you're more likely to get visits from voice search, which sends positive signals to search engines and bumps up your text-based listing.

If you want to know more about setting up your content for voice search check out our previous post - 8 Ways To Optimise Your Content For Voice Search

Voice search schema is here

In addition to the optimisation tactics you'll find in the post I linked to above, Google has announced official support for the Schema.org Speakable specification. What does this mean? Well, the speakable specification will help Google Assistant and Google Home find and select which content to read aloud. This new structured data markup is important because it may point to what you’ll need to know to get more traffic should/when Google expands this structured data to all websites.

News content only

The catch is that this schema support is limited to news content only and I suspect that even if you are a news provider you'll need to be a preferred news source in the eyes of Google for this one to work, trust me they have their favourites. I'm pretty sure this is their first field test of the markup, and as they weed out all the bugs, we should see a larger rollout. This could open up a whole new field of structured data markups and allow websites to create voice rich experiences for a range of queries.

The future of content production

This is a pretty exciting step for content and of course search and will be interesting to see how it affects SERP's going forward. I'm pretty sure machine learning algorithms will be working overtime to ensure it chooses results to speak to individual queries and this markup may be important for forming the baseline of how these algorithms will work.

Let the field test begin

The voice schema program is currently in Beta, and they've narrowed down the service range to only users on Google Home devices in the United States and in English. Google clearly needs to form a baseline, collect data, tweak its algorithms and apply some form of machine learning in order to roll this out to a wider audience. Cracking the voice search thing won't be easy with things like dialects, accents, and region-specific queries to consider.

Here is what Google states:

“In order to fulfil news queries with results people can count on, we collaborated on a new schema.org structured data specification called speakable for eligible publishers to mark up sections of a news article that are most relevant to be read aloud by the Google Assistant.” 

Let's get technical

Since this is an entirely new schema it currently lives within the context of news, the Speakable specification is a part of the official Article type.

https://schema.org/Article

To find out more about speakable schema check out schema site - http://pending.schema.org/speakable

Speak up

As an SEO I've been a lover of the power that schema markups offer us and always try to push the boundaries of these markups to create rich listings that drive higher click through.

However, voice will be an entirely new ballgame and to have a schema suited to an entirely new type of search may pose a new challenge for websites and content creators.

I'm also not sure how this will affect traffic if search is able to answer queries without visiting your site, which could lead to lower click-throughs, lower page views and in publishing terms, this means lower revenues.

Contact us

If you want to know more about voice search optimisation, don’t be shy we’re happy to assist. Simply contact us here

Tags: Google Search, SEO, voice search

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