How To Optimize For Voice Search

How To Optimize For Voice Search

Voice search is the future. Over the last few years, the way people search for information on the internet has changed dramatically. 

People are increasingly using voice search to find what they’re looking for online, whether it’s on their tablet, smartphone, or voice assistant (like Google Home or Amazon Echo). 

iPhone users rely on Siri to get them what they need, while Android users prefer Google voice search, and Microsoft’s assistant Cortana assists users with PCs, smartphones, Xboxes, and other devices.

According to Hitwise, nearly 60% of searches are now conducted on a mobile device, with many of these conducted using the voice search feature to locate local restaurants, obtain directions, place orders, learn about the weather, and more. 

As marketers, we must consider the impact voice search is having (and will continue to have) on SEO. Here are some suggestions for optimizing for voice search.

Getting to Know Voice Search

Before we get into how to optimize for voice search, let’s go over some fundamentals. To begin, it’s important to understand that voice search is more natural and conversational in tone, and that it’s most commonly used for local searches on a mobile device. Voice searches are also longer than text-based queries because they are more natural.

Voice search, in general, is all about providing results while the user is on the go in the location where they are currently located. Let’s get started with those tips now that you know how voice search works.

1. Ensure that your content is scannable

People using mobile devices to search the internet are looking for content that has been optimized for this platform. Make sure your content is easily readable, scannable, and free of distracting pop-ups or advertisements that could prevent them from getting the information they require. To break up your content as much as possible, use simple sentences, short paragraphs, and bold headers.

2. Go to Google My Business and claim your listing

Now is the time to claim your Google My Business listing if you haven’t already. Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing is a great way to give Google more information about your company, such as its industry, phone number, address, and business hours. When a relevant voice search is performed, keeping this property up to date increases your chances of appearing in the results.

3. Go over the official user manuals

Even if you’re not one of those people who “does” directions, the official voice search guides for each major platform are worth reading. 

Consider it as if you’ve just purchased your first Windows, Android, or iPhone smartphone, and read the guides to learn how to get the most out of it. While the information may appear simple, keep in mind that many users will be using voice search for the first time.

Apple has a great tutorial on how to use Siri to find information on their phone or the internet. Similar guides can be found on Google and Cortana. 

Third-party guides, such as CNET’s complete list of Siri, Cortana, and Ok Google commands, can also provide useful information. 

Save these links to your favorites and come back to them when you need to recall common voice search phrases and questions. Google’s recently released Voice Search Quality Guidelines are another important resource to bookmark.

4. Pay attention to long-tail keywords

We’ve already discussed how people use more “natural” speech when using voice search, so focusing on long-tail keywords is essential. 

To do so, you must consider how people communicate. What kind of questions would you ask? What kinds of spoken questions might entice people to visit your website? 

It’s possible that this isn’t the same kind of long-tail as you’re used to. It’s more about natural speech than keyword variations. As many variations as possible must be known and targeted. 

You can use Google Search Console to figure out what keywords are driving visitors to your site. There’s no way to tell whether a query came from voice or text search right now, but Google has hinted that this could change in the future.

Documenting and recording the types of questions customers and prospects ask you/your customer service representatives is another strategy you can employ. 

Start creating content pages that focus on those longer, more conversational terms once you have this list of questions.

5. Create pages for frequently asked questions (FAQs)

FAQ. Frequently asked questions, people with smartphones ask question and find answers. Questions help, people online assistant help, qa services vector illustration

Creating FAQ pages that focus on those long-tail keywords is another great way to use the customer and SEO data you’ve gathered. 

Put as many similar questions on the same page as possible, and write as naturally as possible. Use that approach if you need to create multiple pages to sound more natural. 

Anticipate direct, long-tail questions if you want the search engines to have the best chance of pulling answers/information from your site. 

To meet Google’s rich snippet requirements, you should include some quick answers at the beginning of each piece of content. 

It may seem daunting, but creating these individual pages and content snippets centered around specific semantic questions can help your site appear at the top of any text-based search as featured snippets, not just in voice search results.

6. Increase the volume of your microdata

Make it as simple as possible for Google to crawl your site and figure out what it’s all about. This increases the likelihood of the search engine using your content to respond to voice search queries. 

You’ll need to submit a sitemap to Google, which includes information like prices, directions to your physical location, store hours, and your address and phone number, in addition to your Google My Business information. 

Next, use microdata to assist Google in deciphering the meaning of the text. Create markups for a variety of scenarios. For example, here’s a rich snippet for “How many people live in the Bahamas” that Google returned.

Visit Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to learn about the different types of content you can markup and ensure your microdata is properly structured. It will also guide you through the process and assist you in producing the proper HTML.

7. Recognize the Different Ways People Use Voice Search

If you’ve ever used Siri, Cortana, or OK Google, you’re probably guilty of teasing these personal assistants. 

And, if you haven’t already, articles like these will provide plenty of inspiration for your next game session: 131 Questions to Ask Cortana, 70+ Awesome Ok Google Voice Commands, and 140 Questions Siri Has Hilarious Answers For The point is that understanding how users interact with voice search is important because it gives us insight into how they use these technologies.

While most of the responses will be irrelevant to your business, others may provide insight into how to improve your site’s voice search optimization. You might even find a way to include some humour in your copy to engage customers in a new way.

Conclusion

Marketers must constantly learn new strategies to keep up with the trends as the world of search evolves. Follow the tips in this article to stay ahead of the competition when it comes to voice search. 

Did you find this article helpful? Then why don’t you subscribe to our Charleson Group biweekly newsletter for more digital marketing insights. You definitely won’t regret it.

Until next time, cheers!

Njoki Karingi
njoki@charlesongroup.co.ke

Hey there! My name is Njoki and I'm a writer, content marketer, and all-rounded creative. I love to create unique, fun, and entertaining content whatever the time or weather. Friendly, curious, and fun-loving, find me where the adventure is! You're free to join in!

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