On July 24th Google officially announced that it was adopting the new Speakable schema.org structured data specification. In this post I’ll cover what Speakable does, its compatibility with current technology and, most crucially, the opportunities that it could bring to your SEO campaign.
What Is Speakable Markup?
Before we jump into the exact nuances of Speakable, we should first quickly recap schema.org markup. Schema markup is code or semantic vocabulary which, when placed on a website, aids search engines to return more informative results to users. The Speakable specification is an extension of schema.org, established specifically to help identify the most relevant parts of a page to be read aloud by digital assistants, such as the Google Assistant.
Where Can You Use Speakable Markup?
At the time of writing, Google is only supporting the Speakable specification for news-related content. However, as we saw with the initial launch of the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP), it is highly likely that this support will expand beyond news in the coming months (more on this below). Right now, Google is only supporting Speakable for English speakers in the US. However, support for other languages and counties (including the UK) will be added as soon as a minimum viable number of publishers have implemented the required markup. Full guidelines on how to implement speakable markup for news content during this initial rollout phase can be found on Google’s technical and content guidelines.
Why Should I Implement Speakable Markup?
Making use of Speakable has the potential to deliver a host of benefits for your SEO campaign. As a publisher, implementing the Speakable markup promotes the likelihood that your content will come up on the Google Assistant. This can only give your brand more exposure and increase the likelihood of future visits to your website. Secondly much greater control can be exercised over specifically what content is read aloud to users. Google Assistant responses are typically limited to 20 – 30 seconds so it is important to keep content succinct and to the point. There are clear signs Google is keen to progress at pace with the adoption of Speakable. Schema.org currently labels the extension as pending. So, the fact Google has jumped ahead with official adoption for news-related content is a good sign of intent.
Will Speakable Markup Work With More Than News?
To stay ahead of the curve and maximise SEO voice opportunities in the short to medium term, now is the time to start thinking how and where Speakable could be implemented across your wider website. Not just news content. With the Speakable specification an extension of both Article and WebPage schema, the sky really is the limit. Personally, I think that the most likely next step could be for Google to use Speakable for question and answer / FAQ type content because the Speakable specification is a property of QA Page schema and the pending FAQ Page schema. I’ve previously experienced notable successes with the implementation of Q&A schema to encourage the achievement of featured snippets. In a recent study, featured snippets were found to power up to 80% of Google Assistant voice answers. The addition of Speakable could help to make Q&A responses from Google Assistant even better. Further weight was added to this anticipated move by Google during a recent Twitter discussion I had with Bill Slawski on the subject. During the brief exchange John Mueller gave a potential nod that it could soon be adopted for question and answer type content by liking the claim #SEOwin.