Voice search and the mobile revolution have left their mark on the SEO industry, and one thing is certain, that mark is getting bigger. With the evolution of Alexa, Siri and the Google one too, there is no denying that voice search has become more accessible in our everyday routine. But what is voice search and how exactly should we respond to it?
It’s plain to see that voice search is on the rise and has become an integral part of every SEO strategy. As the browsing and searching habits of online users are changing, businesses must adapt their approaches or risk missing out on lucrative opportunities to gain additional traffic streams.
What is Voice Search?
Before I go in to specific tips on how to use voice search optimisation for your website, it would beneficial to know exactly what it is.
Voice Search is a method of speaking a query as voice recognition software converts your words to text, then launches a search. Results are usually returned as a spoken answer, accompanied by a paragraph of content or some web pages.
Since the launch of Google Voice in 2008, there’s been an ongoing debate around “Is voice search the future of SEO?” The short answer is yes. Speed to knowledge has always been the primary goal of search engines, and with voice search proving to be the most convenient and hasty way to find answers, the big question is “what can we do as an SEO company to tailor content for voice search queries?”
Why Does Voice Search Matter
While voice search has been around for more than a decade, a lot of SEO experts and companies have only recently started to pay attention. That’s because as of late, it became impossible to ignore the increasing volume of voice searches that happen every day – it’s a search method that’s trending up and is going to continue to rise in popularity for years to come.
Take smartphone users for example, 31% will use voice search on a weekly basis and 55% of households will have a smart speaker device by 2022. There is just so much potential for a website to rank for specific search queries. People write and talk differently, so the queries are changing as well, presenting plenty of opportunities for savvy businesses to rank for keywords that have virtually no competition.
So whether you’re asking Siri or Google for the weather, want to learn about current traffic, or are looking up a local business, whenever you give a vocal command to your device, as marketers we need to consider the impact of SEO.
Here are some techniques to help your Voice Search Optimisation
1. Identify Snippet Opportunities
The first step is similar to most other SEO campaigns – you need to set up a succinct key phrase strategy and identify the keywords that are the most likely to be searched for using voice searches.
That requires a great understanding of what types of searches are the most common for voice results. One distinguishing feature of voice search is that it is usually some sort of question. Therefore, the query is likely to start with words like “what,” “does” and “how”.
When looking for services, people may also search for “best service provider in the area,” which is another type of query you should consider.
When carrying out your keyword research, it typically results in a set of relevant phrases you plan to incorporate in your content. The first step to winning answer status for voice search is to win a featured snippet. Featured snippets (primarily answer box and ‘people also ask,’) are designed to provide succinct answers to common queries, much like voice search. Therefore, you should always assess your set of keywords for featured snippet opportunities.
2. Include Long Tail Keywords In Your Research
Incorporating long phrases into your content increases the chances you’ll provide a succinct, direct answer to whatever question that keyword is asking or answering. In addition, targeting question keywords in your research is an easy voice search win! Anytime you are observing a search engine results page, survey the, “People also ask,” section to find out what Google is reporting. When possible, include these questions with clear, direct answers in your content.
3. Keep Your Content Conversational
The core goal of SEO has always focused on optimising for your users. When it comes to voice search, try to present information in a question and answer style format. Use FAQs and inquisitive headers to present information in this fashion. Keep your word choice and sentence structures simple to encourage eloquent AI responses. Keep your answers direct and clear to allow effortless understanding by your audience. Finally, weave natural language keywords into your content.
4. Implement Q&A and Voice Schema
An important part of search engine optimisation is expressing to robots what your content is all about. Think of schema like a canonical tag or a meta description. Digital assistants do not always latch on to keywords, header tags, or questions to provide answers for voice searches. However, when it comes to meta tags, it’s always a best practice to point search engines in your desired direction.
Q&A schema allows content creators to signal both questions and their respective answers to meta robots. While speakable schema was released with news publishers in mind, the greater SEO community has taken to using this code to highlight content segments meant to be spoken. If you are focusing on optimising for voice, you definitely want these mark ups on your page.
5. Optimise For Page Speed
Search by voice prioritises speed to knowledge more than any other method of surfing the web. Ensure your images are compressed, your site architecture is orderly, and your pages are mobile-friendly!
Voice search offers amazing opportunities to businesses who will be able to rank for the newly appearing search queries first. However optimising for voice search requires in-depth knowledge about SEO, user habits, and various other aspects that are all important for success.
When working with greyZIP, you don’t have to worry about any of that – we know exactly how to get your website ranked for the most relevant voice search keywords in your niche and can help set everything up from start to finish.