Speakable Markup No Longer Restricted to News Publishers

Ashley Scharber - December 27, 2019

Google is expanding the use of its speakable structured data markup. What was previously restricted to verified news publishers will soon be available more broadly, according to Danny Sullivan of Google.

The markup, created through a partnership between Google and schema.org, lets content creators identify the text on a page that is best suited for audio playback using text-to-speech. On mobile and voice devices, this content can be read aloud by Google Assistant in response to users’ queries.

Although speakable is still in beta – and subject to change – it’s likely its use will continue to be expanded. This makes it an important consideration for those looking to stay ahead of the curve.

Why Use Speakable?

According to Google, the number of active users of the Google Assistant increased four times in 2019 compared to 2018, and 27% of the global population regularly uses voice search on mobile devices.

It’s clear the age of voice is well underway, and although its use hasn’t reached critical mass yet, we will start to see the impact of this shift in the coming years.

And for businesses that rely on search for building brand authority and recognition – which is just about every business – using speakable structured data markup will soon be a necessity.

That’s because the number of results spoken allowed for a voice search is generally limited to one result. While some queries may present up to three results or give users the option to hear alternative answers, the number of results users encounter through voice search is highly restrictive and considerably less than the traditional 10 listings in Google search.

This presents a critical need for businesses to invest in quality content that is suitable for voice.

While using speakable structured data doesn’t guarantee your content will be used by the Google Assistant, adding this markup to your content ensures it can be read aloud if Google determines it’s the best answer to a user’s query.

How to Write Content for Speakable

If you’re ready to add speakable markup to your content, it’s important to remember that writing for voice is different than writing for the web. Users typing a query into Google may want to read an in-depth article or navigate through a website, whereas those using voice search generally have a specific question for which they expect a quick and meaningful response.

Because of this, the best types of content to markup using speakable are news articles and other content that makes sense when read aloud. As the uses for this markup expands, consider adding it to content, such as:

  • Blog posts
  • Informational content
  • How-to content
  • Q&A content

And instead of marking up an entire piece of content as speakable, concentrate on the most important or relevant sections of a page that will address users’ queries. Aim for bite-size, snackable excerpts that make sense when taken out of context of the page.

The content you markup should:

  • Make sense when read aloud
  • Have concise headlines and/or summaries
  • Directly answer the user’s query in a comprehensible and useful way
  • Use short sentences with a simple structure
  • Be delivered quickly and concisely (about 20-30 seconds total)

Additionally, content that can’t be read aloud, such as images, should not be marked using speakable.

To learn more about how to prepare your content marketing for the future of voice search, contact the team at MoreVisibility.

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