News organizations that publish through Google News can produce content that is optimized for voice by including speakable content. The Google Assistant distributes this content to a voice audience when asked about certain news topics. This is a great way for news organizations to increase reach of their content and connect with a wider voice audience. We were interested in how many news organizations are taking advantage of this. So we ran a study to find out.
The Google Assistant uses speakable structured data to answer topical news queries on smart speaker devices. When users ask for news about a specific topic, the Google Assistant returns up to three articles from around the web and supports audio playback using TTS for sections in the article with speakable structured data. When the Google Assistant reads aloud a speakable section, it attributes the source and sends the full article URL to the user's mobile device through the Google Assistant app.
Currently this works for users in the U.S. that have Google Home devices set to English and publishers that publish content in English. Google says it will "launch in other countries and languages as soon as sufficient number of publishers have implemented speakable."
Including speakable content in a news article is relatively straightforward and has obvious benefits. If there is not enough adoption outside of the U.S., we were curious what the adoption rate of speakable structured data for English language publishers was.
Adoption Rate of Speakable Content
We conducted a study for a week in August 2019 by looking at 13,000 Google News articles from 1300 different news domains. We checked each article for valid speakable structured data and compiled the results.
18% of Google News articles in August has valid speakable content.
Of the over 1300 domains checked, only 11% had at least one article with speakable content.
Most of the speakable content was being published by a few top publishers.
CNN, Fox News, CNBC, and CBS News accounted for over 63% of the articles with speakable content.
Who Is Producing Speakable Content?
Roughly 11% of the domains we checked had at least one article with speakable content. But a few top organizations are publishing the bulk of the actual articles. The online publications of CNN, Fox News, CNBC, and CBS News accounted for over 63% of the articles with speakable content. This means that some of the biggest news publications are also the earliest adopters of this technology. It's very likely that these publications had some direct encouragement from Google to start implementing the specification.
A Huge Opportunity for Local News
Publishing voice-optimized content isn't just for big national news organizations. Voice-based news is topical and can be highly local. This is a big opportunity for local and specialized news outlets to create speakable content on topics that may not get as much coverage in national news. Using the Soundcheck tools, even publishers with limited access to technical resources can easily add speakable content to news articles. Take a look at our in-depth guide to speakable content for more information, examples, and our WordPress plugin.