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What Do Google’s New Voice Search Guidelines Mean for Businesses Moving Forward?

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If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already familiar with voice search and the many weird and wonderful things that you can do with it. Whether you’re looking for the nearest bakery or trying to find out who the first president of the United States was, there’s no denying that voice search is developing at breakneck speed. To better the experience of  “eyes-free” searching, Google have released a new set of voice search guidelines for testing to follow which, for business owners, will also have some interesting impacts.

What are Google’s new voice search guidelines for?

Google are really keen for users to have the best possible experience when carrying out voice searches, which is why the new guidelines focus on bettering this through assessment of efficiency. They’re similar to the web search quality guidelines, with the obvious difference being the lack of a screen to view the search results on. They’ve also been made specifically with Google Assistants in mind, so this applies to your Google Homes and Alexas that are already part of the furniture in our everyday routines.

Google already have algorithms and machine learning in place to help make voice search more natural and cohesive rather than abrupt and robotic, so the guidelines act as way to refine this even further.

‘Needs met’ rating

One of the areas that the guidelines are focusing on come under the ‘needs met’ requirement. This is basically a guideline that works to make sure the answers provided by our handy virtual assistants are ‘enough’, so to speak. For example, you don’t want your answer to leave you feeling like you could do with carrying out another search because the first one didn’t provide.


Google Voice Guidelines
Google Voice Guidelines


Speech quality rating

This set of guidelines take the quality of the device’s spoken responses that one step further. Here, the length, formulation and elocution of the answers are evaluated and will then contribute to the general success of the answer provided. By introducing these guidelines and setting out specific explanations of what a ‘good’ answer would sound like, our digital responses will start to resemble more natural exchanges.


Google voice search
Google voice search


What does this mean for businesses?

If you own a business, you’re most likely wondering what kind of implications these new guidelines will have on your livelihood. The answer is: good ones, if you make an effort to keep up with the demand in voice search. These days, being online is simply not enough and requires constant monitoring and updating in order to maintain relevance and visibility; failing to keep up-to-date with technology can have a detrimental impact on any business. In order to stay on top, businesses need to make sure they’re optimised for local searches and have their information easily and readily accessible for Google Assistants.

Keep your Google My Business page update

As one of the best ways to optimise for voice search, Google My Business is an excellent resource for those with online businesses. Acting as a sort-of internet directory, the listing can provide users with vital information on your business such as opening hours, location and telephone number. Getting your own set-up is also extremely straightforward and will instantly help to make your business more prominent online.

Optimise for local search

The importance of local SEO for your business is something that is well-known and respected by all successful ecommerce sites. Having your site optimised is key if you want to compete to appear at the top of the SERPs, no matter how new or old your site is. This is particularly important when considering the new guidelines as you want to make sure you’re appearing for those local searches that your business covers. For example, if you’re a dog walking service that operates in Solihull, you want to make sure this is included within your site in order to have a better chance at being shown for these queries.

If you’re looking to optimise your site in order to appear for local searches and keep up with the new guidelines, why not contact us and get one of our SEO experts on the case.