Seeing as audio is continuing to experience unprecedented growth – with new forms of audio content evolving all the time, podcasts on an exponential trajectory, Text-to-Speech software on the rise, and the expansion of voice applications – I thought I would find out more about the future of audio SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

Because people digest information in different ways, many different types of content have a place online – which is precisely why audio is gaining traction in SEO. With audio content becoming increasingly popular and now being the most favoured medium after image and video, search engines such as Google are taking note and placing an increased focus on advancing search optimisation for audio.

Google and Audio SEO

Globally, Google is rated as the most popular and fastest search engine – carrying out systemic searches for particular information specified in a web query. One of Google’s strengths is catering to your context: whether you are on your phone or laptop, commuting or at home, on a WiFi or cellular network. Google places strong emphasis on providing experiences that are customised to user needs and showcasing relevant content it believes you will be interested in. A quick Google search yields everything from text and infographics to images and videos. But until recently audio content had been an under-utilised resource by search engines, with audio SEO having exploded on the scene as an entirely new category.

Google’s plans for audio search capability are well underway, and reimagines how users find and listen to audio content. Google wants to change how people discover audio content in its search results and intends to prioritise audio search in the same way it does all other content – so that it will truly be a multimedia search platform. Google’s speech and language capacity for search algorithms involves creating a way to learn what audio content is about, and understanding the content of specific sound clips/episodes. For example, Google will make audio content more searchable, by incorporating podcast metadata into search results.

The future of audio

It is crucial to adapt your content to encompass all types of audiences (readers, viewers and listeners alike), by providing multi-purpose options (e.g. text and audio) that work for everyone. For example, there are many people who cannot enjoy the full benefits of texts, infographics, images and videos due to vision impairment, while others cannot access audio content due to hearing impairment. Providing a diverse ecosystem of content is vital, in order to cater to all users.

Despite the ever-growing use of audio content, audio SEO is still on the rise. Unlike text content, audio is currently difficult to index in search engines and needs to be optimised in order to rank highly in Google. Google already provides technical guidance on how to enable podcasts to appear in search results, but more development is underway in regards to audio SEO strategies.

It is predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches in the U.S.A. will be done by voice, while 30% all website sessions will be conducted without a screen and rely purely on audio.

If you want your brand or your project to keep up with growth in this audio-driven time, it is imperative to optimise your content for audio search, in order to be utilised by users searching via their mobile devices or virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri and Microsoft Cortana.

By committing to audio SEO you will be ahead of the competition and gain search rankings that will grow your brand (increased brand awareness, engagement and online revenue).

Feedback and questions

I hope that this article was a helpful introduction, and potentially made you more aware of what is to come in future. Have you catered to a wider audience by providing audio content, and have you considered audio SEO much? I look forward to your feedback, just leave a comment.