Voice Search Assistants answer 93.7% of search queries on average.
In today’s digital landscape, voice search has become an increasingly popular way for users to find information quickly. It is not merely a passing trend; it’s an irreversible shift to the traditional SEO methods and will further improve.
As a result, businesses and marketers are realizing the importance of optimizing their content for voice search. But how does voice search optimization work, and why is it crucial for your online success?
From understanding the underlying technology to implementing effective strategies, we will explore the key elements that make voice search optimization a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. So, get ready to discover how does voice search optimization works and can enhance your online visibility.
- What is Voice Search and How Does it Work?
- 7 Strategies on Optimizing Your Content for Voice Search
What is Voice Search and How does it Work? How is it Impacting the Digital World?
Voice Search is a technology that allows users to perform searches by speaking into a device. These devices range from smartphones and computers to home assistant devices like Google Home or Amazon Echo. In the simplest terms, voice search uses speech recognition technology to understand a user’s verbal command or question. The system then tries to find the most relevant answer in its database or on the web.
Let’s consider this you’ve probably asked your phone or home assistant a question like, “What’s the weather like today?” or “Where’s the nearest coffee shop?”. As mentioned earlier, the system will try to display the exact forecast or the best-rated nearest coffee shop. And, this is how voice search works in a practical situation. Voice search can transform the digital landscape in many different ways.
a. Increased use
A report by Juniper research states that voice search is expected to triple to 8 billion digital voice assistants in use by 2023. This speaks volumes about its growing popularity.
b. Changes in SEO strategy
With voice search becoming more prevalent, it’s changing the way businesses think about SEO. Traditional keyword phrases are evolving into more conversational, long-tail phrases because people speak differently than they type.
c. Impacts site ranking
Sites that are optimized for voice search will rank higher in SERPs. Google’s voice search algorithm prefers sites that load quickly, have SSL certificates for security, and use long-tail keywords and phrases.
d. Local SEO becomes crucial
Voice searches often have a local intent, like finding a nearby restaurant or shop. That’s why ensuring your website is optimized for local search is more important than ever.
e. Rise of “Position Zero”
In voice search, the top result – or ‘position zero’ – is crucial as voice assistants often read this out as the answer. Sites aiming for this position need to answer questions concisely and accurately.
7 Strategies on Optimizing Your Content for Voice Search
Implementing perfect voice search optimization on your website requires some straightforward SEO strategies.
i) Consider using long-tail keywords for your articles
Voice searches typically involve longer, more conversational phrases. Incorporating long-tail keywords into your content that mirror people’s natural language patterns is essential. When we talk about using long-tail keywords for voice search optimization, we’re referring to using more specific, typically longer phrases that people might use when conducting a voice search.
In traditional text searches, people tend to use short, concise keywords. For example, someone might type “best coffee shops NYC” into a search bar. However, people often use more conversational, natural language when using voice search. The same search might become, “What are the best coffee shops in New York City?”
Another advantage of long-tail keywords is that they are more specific and often have less competition than generic ones. They also provide a closer match to the actual queries people use in voice search. Incorporating these long-tail and conversational keywords into your website content makes you more likely to rank higher in voice search results.
ii) Make good quality question phrases
Emphasizing question phrases is vital in optimizing for voice search, given the conversational nature of voice queries. Many of these queries are questions since individuals tend to converse with voice assistants more.
Commonly, quality question phrases in voice search kick off with “Who”, “What”, “Where”, “When”, “Why”, or “How”. As an example, a person might ask, “Where can I find the top-rated coffee shops in New York?” instead of typing “best coffee shops in New York”. There are plenty of tactics you can use to make good question phares.
1. Know your users
Recognize the typical questions your potential customers may ask related to your service, product, or field.
2. Conversational Tone
Frame questions in a way that reflects casual, conversational language. You can use 2nd person often to connect with your audience more.
3. FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sections
These sections are a brilliant means to integrate question phrases into your website. Each posed question represents a long-tail keyword phrase you aim to rank for.
The best number of FAQs in a particular section can be 5 or 10, however, you can put more or less depending on your topic priority.
4. Content in blogs and article
Incorporate question phrases into your titles and subtitles. Aim to provide direct answers to these questions in the body of your content to increase your chances of appearing in Google’s featured snippets.
By embedding question phrases in your content, you increase your likelihood of showing up in voice search results, as your content will mirror the language users employ during their searches.
iii) Prioritize local SEO
Focusing on local SEO is a key element in voice search optimization. This is because many voice searches are location-based and users might ask, “Where’s the nearest pizza place?” or “What’s the weather like in Seattle?” By analyzing this we can know how local SEO can affect voice search and implement it for voice optimization.
1. Use Google my business
Google My Business is a free tool to promote your business profile and website on Google Search and Maps. Ensuring that all the information on your Google My Business listing is current and accurate is vital.
This includes your business name, address, phone number, opening hours, and description. Additionally, adding high-quality photos can also make your business more appealing and stand out in the search results.
2. Place local keywords
Incorporating local keywords into your content and metadata means using phrases with geographical indicators, like your city or neighborhood.
For instance, if you’re a baker in Austin, you might optimize for “artisanal bakery in Austin” or “best bread in South Austin.” These locally-focused keywords can help you rank higher in local searches and attract more nearby customers.
3. Online directories
Besides Google My Business, listing your business on other online directories such as Yelp, Bing Places, and TripAdvisor is important. Ensure your business’s information is consistent across all these platforms, as inconsistencies can negatively impact your SEO. This practice is part of “citation building,” which is a critical aspect of local SEO.
4. Add customer reviews and rating system
Online reviews play a significant role in local SEO. They not only provide social proof, which can influence customers’ decision-making, but they’re also a signal to search engines that your business is trustworthy and reputable.
Google, in particular, considers the quantity and quality of reviews on your Google My Business listing as a ranking factor for local searches. Therefore, encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and ratings can substantially boost your local search ranking.
58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last year. This means optimizing for local SEO becomes vital if your business has a local presence.BrightLocal
iv) Create schema markup for your site
Schema markup, also known as structured data, is a form of microdata that you add to your website’s HTML to improve how search engines read and represent your page in search engine result pages (SERPs).
Adding schema markup for your website can be a great advantage for voice search optimization. Schema markup helps search engines understand the content on your website. This is particularly important for voice search, as voice assistants need to understand the context of your content to provide relevant results. Moreover, certain types of schema markup (like LocalBusiness, PostalAddress, and OpeningHours) can help you provide specific information about your business that can improve your local SEO, a key factor in many voice searches.
What makes schema markups great because Google often uses the site that has schema markup for its featured snippets, the summary of an answer to a user’s query displayed on top of Google’s search results. Since voice search results are often taken from these featured snippets, having schema markup increases your chances of being the voice search result. You can use many online tools to create schemas for your website, like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, Schema.org, and Markle.
v) Improve your website speed
Website speed, or page load time, refers to how quickly the content on your webpage loads. It’s a critical factor not just for voice search optimization, but for overall SEO as well.
Several factors for website loading time connect with voice search and potentially improve website SEO.
1. User experience
Users typically have a low tolerance for slow-loading sites. As per a study conducted by Akamai, a 100-millisecond delay in website load time can hurt conversion rates by 7 percent. Speed is particularly important in voice search because users often look for quick, on-the-spot answers.
If your site is able to deliver information swiftly, it could lead to a better user experience, resulting in visitors leaving and potentially affecting your bounce rate.
2. Search engine rankings
Page load time is a known factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. The quicker your site loads, the better your chances of ranking high on search engine result pages (SERPs).
In 2010, Google announced that site speed would impact your website ranking. A slow site can negatively affect your SEO, reducing your reach on search results and potentially leading to less traffic.
3. Voice search readiness
Voice assistants are designed to provide quick, accurate responses. They are more likely to pull results from fast-loading websites because they can access the needed information more quickly. With voice search becoming increasingly prevalent, a fast-loading website can be critical in choosing your content to answer a query.
vi) Optimize your site for mobile devices
Most of the voice search happens via mobile devices, so it’s practical to think that mobile-optimized sites will have more chances.
Mobile optimization is crucial for voice search as a substantial portion of voice searches are performed on mobile devices. According to Perficient, as of 2021, 55% of teenagers and 41% of adults were using voice search on their smartphones daily. There are plenty of ways you can make your device mobile-friendly.
1. Responsive Design
Ensure your website design is responsive, which means it adjusts to fit the screen size of the device it’s being viewed on.
2. Speed Optimization
As with all forms of search, load speed is crucial for mobile. Optimize images and minify code to increase your site’s speed.
Mobile screens are smaller than desktop screens, so keeping your website design simple is important. Make sure it’s easy for users to navigate your site and find what they’re looking for.
4. Readable Text
Text should be readable without zooming. Use a legible font size and ensure there’s sufficient contrast between the text and background.
Buttons, links, and forms should be large enough for touch screens. By making your website mobile-friendly, you cater to voice search users and improve your overall SEO and user experience, which can result in higher engagement and conversions.
vii) Focus on featured snippets
Featured snippets, or “position zero” on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), are critical to voice search optimization. These highlighted search results appear above organic listings and directly answer a user’s query.
According to a 2020 study by SEMrush, 70% of all answers returned from voice searches occupied a SERP feature, with 60% of those producing a Featured Snippet result. Featured snippets can help you flawlessly execute your content for voice search.
1. Direct answer
When you perform a voice search, the voice assistant usually reads the information from the featured snippet. If your content is chosen as the featured snippet, it could significantly increase your visibility in voice search.
2. Increased visibility
Featured snippets take up a prominent position in search results. This visibility can lead to more traffic, even if you need to be ranked first in the organic search listings.
3. Authority and trust
Being chosen as the source of a featured snippet can enhance your site’s perceived authority and trustworthiness. This can lead to higher click-through rates and more user engagement.
To have your content chosen as a featured snippet, focus on providing clear, concise answers to common questions in your field. Structure your content with proper headings, lists, and tables, as Google often prefers this type of structured content for featured snippets. Including a Q&A section on your site or writing detailed “how-to” guides can increase your chances of appearing as featured snippets.
There you have everything you need to know about voice search optimization. All the above tips will help you successfully optimize your content for voice search.
Like learning the steps of a new dance, voice search optimization works by nailing the rhythm of spoken queries, twirling with clear, concise answers, and never missing a beat regarding page load speed.
One thing to notice is that perfecting regular SEO is enough for voice search optimization, and you don’t have to go through an endless chasm of difficult SEO strategies.
Have a good day!