Is the amount of organic traffic (and search engine results pages visibility) of your website falling short of what you expected? One of the reasons could be that your website is not voice search optimized.
There are a few essential voice search SEO practices you need to follow if you want to increase traffic from voice assistant like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. When followed correctly, they can serve as solid foundations for your entire SEO strategy.
But before jumping into strategies, let’s find out in detail about the voice search.
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The history, evolution, and rise of voice search
First unveiled in 2011, Google Voice Search required users to dial a phone number from a mobile device. After that, a recorded message prompted to “Say Your Search Keywords.” After saying, the keywords, the search engine opens a webpage for the query. However, it was not a user-friendly solution.
Over time, voice searches (and assistants) became more efficient and user-friendly. People now have become more inclined to use voice search, particularly since the arrival of COVID-19 pandemic. According to WordStream, approximately 55% of US households will have smart speakers by 2022.
The pandemic and evolution of voice search technologies (Conversational AI and Machine Learning) have, therefore, caused the number of voice searches to grow exponentially in popularity much faster than in the past.
Since voice searches have evolved from voice recognition to understanding of voice, Google can quickly get closer to its goal of converting voice search into an “ultimate mobile assistant” that helps users with their daily life.
As a result, users have more time to devote to the things that are most important to them. Therefore, voice search optimization must be an important part of your search engine results pages (SERPs) visibility growth plan.
Why voice search is getting popular?
Here are some prominent reasons why voice search is becoming popular day-by-day:
- Voice search is convenient & faster: Undoubtedly, voice search is faster and more convenient than conventional ways to search a query. That’s why many people are opting for this new trend.
- Voice search is time-saving: In the digital world, time is money. So, nobody has all the time in the world to type queries. When the answer is just one sentence, people prefer to choose the easiest way.
- Voice search is made for mobile: It is the biggest reason for voice search to become so viral among the masses. Smartphones have been given way to smart speakers and search assistants, as smartphone users want to make use of voice searches the most.
Impact of voice search
The voice-controlled personal assistants won’t function as normal smartphones do. They produce only one answer for users to their verbal query.
For voice-assisted devices to pull the data or information, they require APIs. It is a kind of collaboration with search engines that voice assistant manufacturer need to extend their number of search verticals.
It means that when looking for information, the devices do not just pull out information from just Google, but it may also deliver voice results based on search results from other search engines.
For instance, Amazon Echo has teamed up with Kayak for offering users the right hotel and flight information. So, for brands that are interested in optimizing their content for hotel related searches, presence on Kayak is likely to have a major impact on their search engine pages visibility (SERP) for voice searches.
Likewise, other brands also need to see the importance of voice searches and get their products and services optimized for voice search.
How to optimize for voice search queries?
Here are the six major strategies to optimize voice search queries:
1. Focus on long-tailed keywords and phrases
The search focus has now inclined from short, awkward keywords to long-tail phrases or long sentences. It is because the voice searches are not making use of the natural language. The phrases and keywords used while speaking are different compared to what your text in a Google search. So, do consider it when making a voice search.
For instance, "What is the weather like in New York today?” is a good example of a natural language/conversational language query. And, it is more detailed than “weather New York” that one would usually type in a search bar.
Therefore, optimizing content for voice SEO is important for better visibility.
2. Optimize for local SEO
The voice search is around three times more likely to be location-oriented or local. Keeping it in mind, the brands, and businesses must keep their contact information and profiles up-to-date. Due to this, Google can easily pull out for queries like “Where to get the best coffee in California?“
For instance, a shop must include its accurate opening hours in the profile along with the precise location. They also need to optimize the content on their website with keywords like “best coffee” or be more particular with keywords like “best mocha coffee“.
So, find out certain queries that your target audience may pose to any digital voice assistance. And, then create content offering specific answers to all such queries.
3. Think of specific search questions from conversation point of view
Voice searches may make use of the whole sentences, but these must be specific. People don’t ramble when while speaking on digital assistants. It is because a particular question leads to a very accurate answer.
For instance, a query like, “Find a Chinese restaurant near me” with your location will provide you the most accurate results. Therefore, businesses need to focus on optimizing their websites for specific queries.
It means you have to research questions that your target audience is most likely to ask from digital assistants and form content based on those queries. This way, there are more chances of visibility.
4. Implement structured data markup
When you ask your voice-controlled device: “Who was the first President of the United States of America?” It may start showing answers about the life of George Washington.
The information is about George Washington’s long history page. So, how to know which text to read? The best solution for this is structured data markup.
There are a few factors, like SEO, quality content, etc., on which search engines determine a page’s position and relevance in the search results. Professional SEO companies always use such factors to help you optimize your content for search engines and voice searches.
4. Make website ready for voice search
The micro-moments (situations when users need instant, relevant, and quick information) are essential to capitalize any query for voice search. Since smartphones are always with us, they are likely to be our first information source.
Therefore, Google is encouraging businesses to be aware of more and more use of mobile search on the internet. And, accordingly, optimize their website for the content too.
How voice search affects SEO?
With search engines being evolved, we have become dependent on them even for the very commonly asked questions. Earlier, we used to ask people for ideas, but today we look for ‘Google’ whenever we’re stuck at some question.
Therefore, a major part of the search is question-based nowadays. The search terms starting with “why do,” “how-to“, “what is” have risen in popularity in the voice search field. Therefore, Google is becoming a major FAQ section for every possible query.
So, for business owners desiring to bring traffic to their website, voice search SEO has become an essential part. They now have to create website content based on commonly asked questions by people in voice searches.
And, that’s how voice search has impacted SEO in current times.
How to do keyword research for voice queries?
Being a company, you may have done keyword research for a business website. The best way to do it is by looking at previous research that you may have done with voice search keywords.
You may have already targeted certain phrases or long-tail keywords for optimization. However, for voice optimization, you need to look more for question-based keywords or the others that are like queries. For instance, “how is the weather today“, “where is the best Chinese restaurant near me“, etc.
All thanks to voice-based keywords, we can make better SEO optimization on websites. And, for search such voice search keywords, you can use different online keyword tools to help you find the suitable long-tail question keyword for your business.
Future of voice search
There are various steps to take for preparing a digital strategy based on voice search. However, we are just at the early phase of this revolution in digital marketing. It is only in recent years that voice assistants have gotten into the mainstream market.
With Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. constantly developing technologies based on voice recognition, the growth of voice search is estimated to increase so much more through smartphones. By 2022, around 55% of U.S. households are expected to have a smart speaker.
The major thing to prepare for voice search is to follow an agile approach for identifying more opportunities for voice search and implement it before your competitors. Since more and more people are getting used to voice assistants, you have to determine how to fulfill your target customer’s needs with the help of this new technology.
With Google planning to make voice search information part of its ‘Search Console’, it is clear that voice search is the future of making consumers connect and find the right products and services online.