With how fast technology has been developing, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that SEO is rapidly changing as well. One of the major game-changers in SEO is voice search. Starting off as a small innovation, voice search is now one of the things that SEO marketers need to optimize for, given the convenience and ease it gives most users. Basically, voice search changed the SEO game.
There are some differences when it comes to traditional queries and voice queries, so if you haven’t taken into account how voice search affects SEO, you should start now. Here are some of the ways voice search has affected SEO and how you can prepare for it:
The Difference Between Traditional And Voice Search
The main difference between traditional queries and voice search is how the queries are constructed. With voice search, queries tend to have a more natural and conversational flow, whereas traditional search queries were short.
A good example would be “Boston weather” vs. “What is the weather in Boston like today?” Although the two are asking for the same thing, the latter is longer by virtue of the user utilizing voice search.
A good thing to remember when it comes to voice search is that it a dialogue system. This means that, generally speaking, voice search is a highly advanced computer setup that intends to dialogue with human beings.
Generally, this means that voice search utilizes automatic speech recognition (thus making virtual assistants understand your voice queries) and text to speech when they provide your search results. In layman’s term, voice search is like talking to a friend (or an actual person). So how does this affect SEO?
When we ask Siri or Alexa for something, we usually talk in complete and normal sentences. “Siri, where is the nearest Starbucks?” would be typed differently. Although user-intent remains the same, the shift in the medium you use makes a huge difference as to how keywords should be planned.
If you want to rank for certain keywords that’s being used by voice searchers, you should take note of the shift towards a more natural and conversational lexicon.
When researching for keywords that would be optimized for voice search, here are some things you should look out for:
- Question Keywords: If it wasn’t apparent enough, most people ask their phones a question when they do a voice search. Include the basic WH questions, who, what, where, why, when, and how, in your list of targeted keywords for voice search.
- Filler Words: Unlike typed queries, voice queries are complete sentences. Inevitably, prepositions and articles (e.g. the, a, for, on) become part of the keywords to make it seem more human.
- Long-Tail Keywords: This strategy has long been used my marketers who want to optimize for voice search. Since long-tail keywords complete sentences, it is necessary that you include them in your keyword research for voice search.
Aside from the keywords themselves, your content should also be mindful of the shift towards sounding more natural and conversational. Although digital marketing experts have long since moved away from keyword stuffing, this is even more emphasized with voice search. Readability will always be a top priority. As Backlinko finds in its study, the average Google voice search result is written at a 9th grade level.
Aside from readability, your content should also focus on giving value for users. While they may be looking for content that directly answers their query, they are also more appreciative of content that gives them more information.
According to Backlinko, the average word count of a voice search result page is around 2,312 words. Thus, if you’re looking to optimize for voice search, you might want to create long form content as well. If you’re not quite sure how to make your content sound conversational, you can try this strategy that many websites have been employing:
- Use A Headline That Asks A Question: Remember your target keywords! Use keywords in your H1, just like you would for content optimized for traditional search.
- Provide Direct Answers: Answer questions directly after the headline. Make sure that your answer is concise and corresponds to user intent.
- Elaborate: Use the rest of the page to provide further details that can add value to your user’s experience.
Emphasis On Mobile-Friendliness
For quite some time now, Google has emphasized how being mobile-friendly helps your site rank higher in searches by providing a good mobile experience for users. Once again, this is taken a step further by voice search. Since most users who utilize voice search are on mobile, then it’s absolutely necessary that they get a good mobile experience. When designing for mobile-friendliness, make sure you have the following down pat:
- Fast Loading Time: This one has always been an important factor when it comes to SEO, but now even more so with voice search. Since users who utilize voice search want fast results, they will abandon a website that loads slowly. Similarly, if your website loads too slowly, Google won’t optimize that to be an answer to verbal queries
- Mobile-Friendly Display: Most people who use voice search are also using mobile, so it’s imperative that your website be mobile-friendly.
22% queries done by voice search are looking for location-based content. Local businesses and establishment should take advantage of their local SEOs, as this can ultimately boost and increase customer conversions. If you want to optimize for your local SEO, try to do the following:
- Set Up A Google My Business Account: Google My Business (GMB) is a free online tool that helps business owners manage their online presence. Setting up and verifying your GMB account will help your local SEO strategy. Don’t forget to add your correct business name, address, and phone number in your GMB listing.
- Interact With Your Customers And The Community: A great way to increase your local visibility is to interact with the locals. Create and post content that features local events, such as a charity event or a local art fair.
- Use Local Keywords In Your Content: One way to rank well for your local SEO is to utilize local keywords or location-based keywords. Use these in your About Us page and other relevant pages.
Focus On Rich Answers
When people ask a question on voice search, they’re looking for direct and concise answers. This shows by how some of the top ranking pages for voice searches are also featured in SERPs. Rich answers are results that occupy a SERP feature or rank at position zero. This is what Google reads back to users. If you want to optimize for voice search, your content should aim to rank for position zero, thus making it a top choice for voice queries.
Optimizing For Voice Search
Traditional and voice search might seem like the same thing, but they are two entirely different games. Optimizing for both of them would prove to be a beneficial move for SEO marketers.
In a fast-paced industry, it would be a huge miss to not optimize for the next big thing. Experts have predicted that voice search would be greatly influential in the future. Today, voice search is a great way to boost your eCommerce SEO strategies. If you haven’t been optimizing for voice search, you might have been missing out.