While voice search may have begun as a novel concept, it definitely has a place in your SEO strategy now.
Of course, voice search began with smartphone use but has grown to include both smart speakers and voice assistants. It involves what is commonly understood as asking questions of Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and more.
Because of its ease and speed, voice search will only continue to grow in popularity, so it’s imperative that you consider optimizing your website for such a tool.
The following are seven tips to help you optimize your website and content for voice search so that you can get ahead of the curve.
Understand the difference between traditional and voice search
It is important to understand the difference between traditional search and voice search.
For example, an internet user might want to search for a chocolate chip cookie recipe. In a traditional search, this person likely would type in “chocolate chip cookie recipe,” while in a voice search, the user might say, “Hey Alexa, how do I bake chocolate chip cookies?”
We simply don’t speak the same way that we type, particularly with search queries. Another example is typing in “weather New York” when you would most likely say, “What is the weather like in New York?”
The difference results in a difference of keywords and a more conversational search input.
Essentially, we’re talking about two different users: those who type a search query and those who ask questions in a voice search.
The user who types might be more okay with doing research, while the user who speaks his or her search likely wants quick, instant answers.
Think of conversational keywords
This boils down to considering the natural phrases that would be used in voice searches.
Long-tail keywords are longer than the typical search query. They’re typically what are on the ends of questions being asked in voice search.
They’re conversational in nature. By targeting and using these, you’ll rank potentially higher for in any given voice search.
Answer questions with your content
When optimizing for voice search, consider brevity, context and relevance.
Think about how you can answer your potential customers’ most common questions and solve their pain points. It’s about user intent.
Then, it comes down to structure:
- Use headlines that ask a common question
- After your headline, offer the answer or definition for the question
- The rest of your content can then provide additional detail and context on the topic
This overall structure will appeal to search engines’ algorithms, while the concise information at the top of the webpage is optimized for voice search.
For example, visuals can have a lot of power on your website for visitors, but don’t hide any of your key information in a visual. It makes it more difficult for search engines to understand the relevance of your content.
Use schema markup
This structured data HTML add-on helps search engines understand the context of your content, which will not only help you rank higher in traditional searches but in specific voice search queries as well.
Schemas are a set of “types,” each associated with a set of properties. The types are arranged in a hierarchy.
Learn more about schemas.
Create or update your FAQs page
Voice search is typically conducted by asking a question. The “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why” and “how” of your business, products and/or services become that much more important.
Use these adverbs to include your most common questions on your FAQs page. Then, answer those questions in a conversational tone.
Remember that mobile equals local
More than ever before, mobile devices enable on-the-go local (and hyper-local) voice search queries.
Here are some key considerations:
- Make sure any directions to your location(s) are available to both your website visitors and search engines.
- Include phrases people use to describe the neighborhood around your location(s).
- Refer to any key landmarks near your location(s).
Check out these 11 tips to optimize your local SEO specifically.
In addition, it’s important that you’re taking the necessary steps to ensure your website is as mobile-friendly as possible.
Update your Google My Business listing (and all other listings)
Just like when you’re optimizing your local SEO, it’s critical to make sure that your company’s information is up-to-date across all listings, such as Yelp, Google My Business and so on.
Even differences like “Ave.” and “Avenue” can confuse search engines.
However, considering that voice search typically is seeking concise answers to questions (particularly local questions), that consistency and updated information is more important than ever.
Voice search will only continue to become more popular. The more you can do to optimize for voice search, the stronger your SEO will be, especially when compared to your competitors who haven’t even begun to think about voice search.