“Hey Alexa – Can you order Pasta for my wife?”
“Hey Siri – Can you search other novels by Lee Child? “
“Hey Google – What is the closing time of Starbucks.”
Even if you are not using voice search, you must have seen commercials on TV.
With each passing day, people are equipping their smartphones with voice-activated digital assistants or apps that use voice commands to operate. From setting the alarm for the morning to playing music in a party to walking on the road, people are busy giving voice instructions to their devices.
It is convenient for people to search with their voice rather than with their fingers; this is a clear signal that voice search is on high demand right now.
In a digital world, with a fast-growing phenomenon, the marketer is inclined towards tailoring their SEO strategies and focusing their attention on voice search optimization.
Let us begin from scratch and see how voice search will shape the future of SEO, and some of the best practices on how voice search optimization can change the way you do business.
Why write when you can speak?
Give me two options to get something done:
- Just say the command, and it will happen
- Write a letter to get it done
I, like many of us, prefer to speak the words. Search engines knew this preference, and they banked upon it to make searches more easy, convenient, and swift for us.
Bing estimates that voice search is three times faster than text search. Because, on average, a human can speak 100-150 words per minute which is higher than typing that is 40 words per minute.
Over the past few years, the technology of voice search has evolved massively. The precision of results has improved. Due to the immense popularity of voice searches, search engines have made it a priority.
From asking the voice assistant about the weather forecast to telling it to find the nearest restaurant, voice searches have slowly become an assistant we can’t live without. They have become a vital feature of search engines.
To integrate voice search optimization into your SEO strategy is no more a choice; it is a necessity.
How to optimize for voice search?
A report suggests that50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
Voice search optimization is a must for small and large-scale businesses. People are using voice search in their home, at the office, while driving, and even when they are crossing the road.
Both small and large businesses are figuring out the best ways to optimize their website for voice search.
Mostly, people are searching for location-based information. For instance, people are more interested in searching for deals and sales at nearby places, personalization tips, and even upcoming events that they can go-to near their homes.
Mostly, businesses treat voice search optimization as an afterthought. They usually try to change the already present content and attempt to customize it for voice search. This approach might look effective temporarily, but in the long run, this strategy will be obsolete.
If you are interested in standing out from the crowd in search engines, you must meticulously consider voice search optimization while creating the content on the website right from the beginning.
Begin with Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are simply three or more words that are targeted towards specific search intent. Often, a long-tail keyword consists of a primary keyword, the general keyword, along with one or more specific keywords. Let us say you are on vacation with your wife in Malaysia, and your better half wants to eat the best shawarma in town. Of course, there might be hundreds near your hotel, but how will you know the best one if you do not search them first.
The traditional way to search on Google is to type in ‘Shawarma’ and start reading reviews to check which one is the best. Conversely, with voice search, you must make this request, “Ok Google, who serves the best shawarma in Malaysia?” – and ta-daa, this is a long-tail keyword that will focus voice search optimization strategy on the best place to eat shawarma in Malaysia.
Not so complicated, right? I am sure when you brainstorm ideas for long-tail keywords, you’ll come up with questions that you can feed-into page headlines, title tags, product descriptions, or even create an FAQ section that will add these questions in detail or the best strategy will be to create a full-fledged blog to answer these type of questions.
Optimize for Local Search
Mostly, people search for a business or places to visit near them. As I’ve mentioned above, this didn’t happen just once, whenever I travel across to some country, the first things that I search on Google via voice search is either a “Pizza place in Singapore” or simply asking, “What’s the yummiest Pizza place in Singapore?”
In the above example, the catchphrase is “Pizza place in Singapore,” or if a user searches by “Pizza places near me,” Google will simply track your location and present you with the relevant result.
It is worth mentioning that the words “near me” are universally recognized. Whenever a user uses these keywords, the Google voice algorithm will come to action and show you Google business listings. This is where you need to get your business.
On Google business listing, you must list down your business name, phone number, email address, or a social media page where the user can contact you instantly. When you list down that information, you are helping Google to rank your website in local search results.
Content Development in your website structure
While you develop a content strategy for voice search optimization, you must map out long-tail questions on various points of the customer journey. This will ensure that your brand is available for the customer on every stage of the customer’s needs.
While creating content, consider these in the customer journey:
Awareness: “What’s the best music system?”
Interest: “Ok, Google, book Doctor’s appointment for me this Tuesday.”
Evaluation: “Who’s better Amazon or BestBuy?”
Purchase: “How much does Amazon Echo cost?”
Customer Support: “I want to contact Google Customer support.”
Loyalty: “Which products work best with Amazon Echo?”
These are general questions that people ask whenever they plan to do voice searches from their device.
It is important to keep user search intent in mind while developing content for voice search. As we have mentioned earlier that unlike traditional web search, voice search relies on long-tail keywords and full-sentences.
To get maximum results, you need to calibrate voice search; you need to take input from designers, developers, managers, and content creators just to get an idea on how various people search via voice search, and you can add all these search variations into your website.
Create Google Actions and Alexa Skills
Another effective strategy to optimize for voice search is to create Actions from Google App or develop customized skills for Alexa. These enable you to communicate better with the user in their language.
It is like making back-and-forth conversations with the user, which makes it relevant for them, and they are engaged more.
However, actions or skills should not just be created for the sake of just putting content. Both Google and Alexa have tons of actions in their respective libraries.
You can choose from those actions and make things easy for you.
For instance, if you are willing to find content related actions for which users use structured data or Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), you can check out claim your Actions where you will find the relevant actions.
Recognize Natural Speech Pattern
If you think about it, mostly, people do not speak, text, or email in the same way. For instance, while sending a text message, you might say, ‘let’s grab a drink,’ but if you pose the same question face-to-face, you might say, ‘Hey, how about grabbing a drink after work today?’ That is the natural speech pattern that you will speak if you talk to a person face-to-face.
As mentioned earlier, voice search optimization is all about full-queries. Just a few keywords will not do. For your brand to optimize your website, you must understand the difference of vocabulary between people when they speak and write. While speaking, people tend to use long-tail keywords to make other people understand exactly what they mean. So, while searching with voice, people will interact in the same manner.
For SEO, it is essential to understand this fact and make the content around this core strategy.
Improve the loading speed of the website
It is a debate that has been going on for months, does website speed matter in SEO or not? If we move forward with the debate in a logical manner, we will realize that if a website loads fast, it creates a good user-experience that Google loves.
So, when optimizing a website for voice search, speed cannot be ignored at any cost.
Websites that take longer to load are abandoned quickly, and those who load quickly have more chances to generate a lead. The loading speed of the website has a direct impact on the bounce rate, which means optimizing it is a must in any case.
To understand its importance, Google released a Speed Update on its blog forcing website owners to optimize the loading time of their website. For voice, the search for the rules is the same. A slow website will take an eternity to load, which will drive people away. So, you need to optimize the website so that it loads fast.
You can do the following to optimize elements on your website:
- Optimize your images before you upload them online.
- If you are using WordPress CMS, remove unnecessary plugins.
- Use the Content Delivery Network (CDN).
- Use the power of Minimalism to reduce speed and attract more people to your website.
All these tips can help you to improve your website speed to an exponential level, and your bounce rate and conversion rate will improve.
Tools like Google Page Speed Insights and Pingdom can help you correctly understand the elements that are causing a delay in website speed. Once you clear those elements, everything will be accessible from then onwards.
With each passing year, voice search is on the rise. Whether you believe it or not, soon it will be everywhere, and people will be discussing about it. Hence, for marketers, it is necessary that they optimize their website for voice search before things get serious or out of hands.
The tech giants namely, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have understood the importance of voice search optimization and implemented voice search strategies to attract the right traffic on their website.
The above-mentioned strategies will help your brand improve their search ranking with voice search optimization.
What strategies are you using to optimize your website for voice search, let us know in the comments section.