At the end of last year, Google surprised the SEO world (and not only) by announcing that the speakable markup would be extended to all sites and no longer just to those who offer news contents: a remarkable step forward for voice search, as we said on the occasion. After a few months, let’s see together which are the latest news on this marking and its potential for sites.

Speakable markup, the voice search property

In a nutshell, the speakable property of schema.org allows you to report to search engines and other applications the portions of the content of a page that are best suited to audio playback via speech synthesis (TTS), a.k.a domotic speaker devices reading aloud with integrated assistant.

The feature activates when people request specific topics and news related to a particular brand or event and allows a site to distribute its content through new channels, reaching a wider user base.

How it works now

At the moment, the feature is in beta mode, as it reads on the Google developer guide page, and is still limited to “users in the United States who have Google Home devices set in English and publishers who publish contents in English”. The goal is to extend both the geographical scope of this property “to other countries and other languages as soon as enough publishers will have speakable implemented”, and its capabilities to other sectors and contents, so as to offer a practical response to the new and changing needs of Internet users.

Specifically, speakable’s structured data serves the Google Assistant “to respond to news requests on smart speakers” with three articles from across the Web, played in audio mode by “using speech synthesis for sections in the article with speakable structured data”. When the Assistant reads a content, it “assigns the source and sends the full article URL to the user’s mobile device via the Google Assistant app”.

The benefits for sites

The evolutions of technology are pushing us to a near future where voice search has a central role, activated by daily smartphones and easy-to-use devices; already in this initial state, the speakable property of Google is an effective way to obtain (and provide) information on recent news and current events, with a summary of the key points of a story, but has further possibilities for expansion.

The markup allows companies to choose the most important information related to their business, to highlight such contents and to offer them a better visibility for the audience to which they are destined, as evidenced by an article of searchenginewatch.

The impact on SEO

The property helps Google determine the importance of the marked content fragment compared to the specific niche of the topic and can potentially facilitate a page placement in SERP.

The way Google captures and classifies information is always based on its sophisticated algorithm, and the content deemed relevant by Google can faster reach the target expected by the site, which listens to the text read from devices such as Google Home, Microsoft Cortana or Alexa Amazon, allowing the site to receive targeted and quality traffic.

The constant increase of voice searches – destined to grow even more – can influence a lot on the SEO landscape and the markup can become one of the fronts of the ranking on the Voice Assistant tools and not only, with a significant impact on the way we use the Internet and seek information.

This situation can make it more challenging for companies to improve the performance of their website to meet existing and future needs and understand how to provide better services to their customers. The likely scenario is that more and more sites will perfect their contents, adopting Google’s voice features and restructuring current content and market strategies to include voice-enabled gadgets and devices.

Tips to optmize contents for speakable

We can begin to prepare and optimize our contents to make them suitable for the speakable markup from now on, although the system is experimental and not yet available outside the United States, and that is also why we have no data on the concrete effects on the SEO performance of a website.

In reality, everything is based on the usual basic concepts and requirements of quality articles, and so it is a matter of working to meet the demands of current researches and predict what the future needs of people may be.

In particular, the standard criteria are:

The topic should have a precise focus on a topic and a storyline, with an understandable and relevant writing.
All information must be accurate in every aspect and must be factual.
The text shall not contain advertising campaigns.
The content may not contain vulgar terms or hate speech directed towards people or entities.
The news should include the author’s information, publication details and contact details.

  • The topic should have a precise focus on a topic and a storyline, with an understandable and relevant writing.
  • All information must be accurate in every aspect and must be factual.
  • The text shall not contain advertising campaigns.
  • The content may not contain vulgar terms or hate speech directed towards people or entities.
  • The news should include the author’s information, publication and contact details.

How to orientate both the site and business toward pronounceability

And it is already possible to hypothesize some best practices to implement so that the content of the site can meet future SEO needs. For example, we recommend:

  • Creating consistent and conversational periods on the website relevant to your niche business. This will help you keep up with speakable technology and easily determine which information you can effectively transmit to your target audience.
  • Using short, understandable phrases makes reading and understanding easier for website visitors. Most people only have one minute span of attention or less, and you have to capture the audience in this time frame to win their interests.
  • Writing in a colloquial tone is the best way to reach a wider slice of site visitors. The goal is to give the audience a complete understanding of what we offer, so a short, concise and simple sentence will keep them glued to reading or listening.

The benfits of the speakable markup for sites

From what has been written, we could already understand the positive effects of using this new schema.org property, which should soon be available everywhere and for almost all companies with a website.

In summary, this implementation could give better opportunities to reach higher positions in Serp, improve brand awareness, increase the site’s click rates, make the website available for reading on Google Assistant and for Amazon Alexa voice search, increase followers on social media.

Basically, the most interesting aspect (also in SEO perspective) is that you can provide a well-defined audience with a preview of the contents of the site even when they are not using their devices, on which they will then find the URL for any further information. It is, therefore, a function similar to the one of featured snippets, with which will probably share the pros and cons.

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