Virtual assistants have become ubiquitous, from smartphones to smart speakers to smart TVs. It’s now common practice to conduct web searches using a voice search feature, as it’s often faster, and more convenient.
However, voice searches are not the same as text searches. People tend to phrase their queries differently when speaking, which presents a challenge for SEO experts and marketers trying to capture this growing audience.
To make matters more difficult, ranking for voice search is a tough nut to crack. Voice-enabled devices typically present a limited number of results, usually the top one to three, in response to a particular voice search query.
To land in that coveted spot, your content needs to be top-notch, and your voice SEO needs to be on point. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the top 5 ways you can optimize your website for voice search.
Reasons for Optimizing for Voice Search
The utilization of voice search is no longer just a fad, but a gradually emerging norm. As per recent statistics, the number of smart speakers in the United States alone is predicted to exceed 200 million.
Incorporating voice search into your marketing strategy can provide an opportunity to attract organic search traffic, regardless of your industry. It allows you to access a previously untapped audience of individuals who depend on smartphones and smart speakers for discovering businesses and completing transactions.
Moreover, optimizing for voice search can contribute to the overall SEO and ranking of your website. Search engines appreciate websites that cater to voice search, which can enhance your site’s credibility to land it in a voice search result.
Voice Search V/S Text Search
As a web professional, whether you’re a marketer or SEO specialist, you’re likely familiar with standard SEO techniques. However, you may be wondering why voice search requires its own optimization category.
Although there are some similarities between optimizing for on-page search and voice search, there are also unique characteristics of voice search that differentiate it from text-based search.
Specifically, voice search queries are more conversational in nature than text searches, resembling how people speak in real life. For instance, in a voice search, you might ask, “Can you recommend some good hotels near me?” whereas in a text search, queries are typically phrased as “hotels near me.”
As voice search gained popularity, search engines became better at comprehending the meanings of longer, more conversational queries and providing relevant results.
Google’s Hummingbird and BERT algorithm updates shifted their focus toward understanding searcher intent, detecting the underlying meaning of queries (rather than solely individual keywords), and delivering more pertinent results to conversational voice queries.
Now, the responsibility lies with you to create content that’s pertinent to voice search users. The good news is that you don’t need to revamp your existing SEO strategy to attract voice search traffic. In the following section, we’ll explore some techniques to assist you in this regard.
1. Focus on Keywords
So, when we speak, we tend to ask full questions and add more detail compared to when we type. This is because speaking is less physically and mentally demanding than typing.
To optimize for voice search, it’s best to target long-tail keywords, especially those that are question-based. These longer phrases, containing three or more words, can attract high-intent traffic and reduce competition on the results page.
To find question-based keywords, think about the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “how” questions that users are most likely to ask. Use these keywords in your content, such as in an H2 header, and give a clear and concise answer. You can also add more details in the body of your content.
You can use keyword research tools to identify the most relevant long-tail keywords for your target audience. Another helpful strategy is to analyze the “related searches” or “people also ask” sections of Google’s results page.
To list out common search queries related to your website, an FAQ section or dedicated page can be useful. This content format is perfect for Google’s featured snippet placement and can compete for a spot in voice search results.
It might feel awkward to add too many questions and answers to your content, but structuring them in an FAQ section or dedicated page can help optimize your content for voice search.
2. Humanize Your Content
Voice searches are just like regular conversations. That’s why it’s important to make your content sound like you’re chatting with a friend. Not only does it sound more genuine and relatable, but it’s also more likely to match what people say when they’re using voice search.
If you want to sound more conversational, try throwing in some casual words like “I”, “me”, “you”, and “we” in your blog posts. And don’t get too technical or use too much jargon. Keep it simple and easy to understand.
Oh, and don’t forget to add some humor!
Of course, if your brand has a specific voice, make sure you keep that in mind too. Just aim for a more casual tone that feels like you’re talking to a friend.
But don’t think that just because you’re being casual, you can slack off on the quality of your content. It still has to be awesome and provide value to your readers. Just write it like you’re talking to them in person, and you’ll be golden.
3. Do NOT Ignore Local SEO
Local SEO is a fancy term for making sure your business shows up in search results for people nearby who are likely to become your customers.
So, if someone is searching for a restaurant or store near them using their voice assistant, you want to be sure your business shows up, right?
The key to nailing your Local SEO game for voice search is by creating and maintain a Google Business Profile. This profile shows all the essential details of your business, like where you are, how to get in touch, your operating hours, etc.
Plus, having a complete Google Business Profile is also important for optimizing your voice search results. If you want your business to rank for local voice searches, then make sure to keep your profile updated and accurate.
Trust us, it’s one of the most effective ways to improve your site’s overall SEO and attract more customers, especially if you have a physical store.
4. Make Use of Google Featured Snippets
Google featured snippets are those little blurbs of information that show up at the top of Google search results. They’re like a sneak peek of what you’re looking for, without having to click through to a website.
These snippets are pulled from web pages that rank high for a search query and can give your website a huge traffic boost if you manage to get featured. They can show up as a paragraph, a numbered list, or any other format that answers the searcher’s question.
Why should you care about these snippets when it comes to voice search? Well, if there’s a featured snippet available for a particular query, a virtual assistant will often read it out loud as the answer.
So, if you want to be the top dog and win that query, you need to aim to capture the featured snippet.
Now, I’m not gonna lie – getting featured isn’t a surefire thing. But, with some effort and the right steps, you can definitely increase your chances. Check out our guide on how to optimize for Google’s featured snippet box for a more detailed explanation.
5. Schema Markup Is a Saviour
Schema markup is a tool that can help you with on-page SEO. It’s basically a fancy code you add to your website that helps search engines like Google provide more detailed results. It gives bots important info about your business, like your hours, contact details, pricing, and reviews.
And the best part?
It helps your site get more clicks and visibility in search results. Plus, since search engines see your site as more relevant, it can also increase your chances of showing up in voice search results.
Voice search has become a big deal in the world of SEO over the last ten years and it’s here to stay. If you’re a local business looking to boost your website traffic and foot traffic, it’s important to target voice search queries.
By implementing the above, you can improve your website’s SEO ranking and increase your chances of capturing more voice search traffic. Even if you don’t see immediate results, these steps will still be beneficial.
Siri would definitely approve!
About the Author
Ramitha Ramesh is the editor at Karbon Business, renowned for her expertise in SEO content marketing strategy for a diverse clientele across the US, UK, and India. With a penchant for exploring the fast-paced realms of finance, business, and marketing, her blog is a treasure trove of insights that offer unique perspectives on the latest trends and developments in the industry. Finding nirvana in food, fun and travel, she is on a mission to counter the infodemic amidst digital chaos.