7 Techniques for Voice Search Optimization

In today’s world, humans and technology are interacting more and more, making life a little simpler.  According to Pew Research Center’s survey, 81% of Americans today own a smartphone, most of which have a mobile assistant such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Amazon’s Alexa.

With mobile assistants using voice recognition, voice searches are going to be an integral part of today’s SEO strategy.  As the browsing and searching habits of online users are evolving, businesses must adapt or face missing on worthwhile opportunities to gain additional traffic.

What is Voice Search?

Before looking into tips on how to use voice search optimization, we must first understand what it is and how it will help our business.

Anytime you speak to your mobile assistant, voice recognition is used to listen to your voice asking for a command. Voice recognition software will convert your spoken word to text.   This will show you search results, typically returned to you as a spoken answer, and it will be accompanied by a limited set of webpage results.

Google Voice was launched in 2008; this had many people wondering if voice search would be the future of SEO.  Voice search is just as important as common text SEO just a different medium of querying a search.  Now the real question becomes, how can we tailor content for voice searches?

Why Does Voice Search Matter

According to techcrunch.com, 31% of smartphone users worldwide use voice search at least once per week. 55 % of households are expected to own a smart speaker device by 2022. 

Voice search has now been around for more than a decade, with these statistics marketers have been forced to begin to pay attention to this new medium SEO specialists cannot ignore the growing number of people who are using voice search. They need to learn how to adapt so they can use it to their advantage People write and speak differently, voice searches are changing as well, opening many doors to creative ways of ranking keywords that have no competition yet.

The following tips will help with your voice search optimization moving forward.

1.    Identify Featured Snippet Opportunities

Similar to other SEO campaigns, it is necessary to thoroughly research keywords in order to start identifying which ones are most likely going to be searched for with voice searches

To begin your list, we must first understand what types of searches are most commonly being used with voice searches, along with the results they produce. The most common phrasing when using voice search is in the form of a question.  Therefore, the question or query is likely to start with words like “Who,” What,” “Where,” “Why,” and “How.”

People, when speaking, tend to formulate a full sentence rather than a quick text search, which is fragmented and less developed.

Regardless of how you conduct your keyword research, it usually will result in relevant terms you must plan to include in your content.  The goal is to win a featured snippet.  Featured snippets are designed to provide concise answers to common questions or searches.  Great ways to measure your keywords is by searching them in your favorite search engine, and then survey the results page. Is there an answer box present? Is the snippet in the form of a list, a paragraph or a table?  Take note of your research and its findings. Use this to outline your content to win a featured snippet, which will lead you to successfully taking the top spot and winning the featured snippet.

2.    Include Long Tail Keywords In Your Research

Long tails, which are long phrases in your content, are making their way into the keyword collective. These long tails will boost your chances of providing direct answers to questions the keywords are asking or answering. An additional tip when researching the search engine results page, survey the, “People also ask,” section to find out what Google is inquiring to find answers best fit for searches.  Use this information to tailor your answers within your content.

3.    Local Searches – Plan for “Near Me”

A large amount of voice searches are based around looking for local services. Ensure that you are making the best use of your Google My Business Result, and that you are optimizing it to give you the most exposure.  As you review your Google My Business rank, look for the most relevant listings in your niche. As you learn more phrases and keywords, you will be able to customize your content so you can become the first result.

Keep your Content Conversational

The goal for SEO is to always focus on optimizing for your users.  Any time you are optimizing for voice search, try to present your information in a question and answer style, as naturally that is how one would ask their virtual assistant.  A good way to encourage eloquent AI response is by keeping your word choice and sentence structures simple.  Your answer should be clear and direct for effortless understanding. Again, using natural keywords and phrasing in your content will ensure you get the best exposure.

4.   
Implement Q&A and Voice Schema

Being able to express what your content is all about is very important. The most important part of SEO is making sure meta robots and algorithms know what your content is all about.  Meta descriptions and canonical tags are a good way to begin planning your voice schema.  The main reason for this approach is due to voice assistants not always using keywords, header tags, or questions to provide answers.  However, using meta tags is a sure-fire way to ensure search engines are pointed in your direction. Using a Q&A schema is a great way to have questions and the user’s answer directed towards meta robots. 

5.    Optimize For Page Speed

As in any SEO campaign, your website’s speed will always be a factor. Make sure your content is properly optimized.  Ensure your site architecture is in proper order, your images are compressed, and as always, make sure your pages are all mobile-friendly.  Having your page optimized for voice search should be a huge motivator, which will help you gain a head start on your competition.

6.   
Double Down on SEO Best Practices

There is a small difference between voice search optimization and your typical text search, but at the end of the day, all of your SEO practices coming together will mean the difference between a great website and an amazing website. It will require a focus on the basics.  We might sound like a broken record, but SEO is all about finding the right content and the right answer to the questions being asked.  Voice search is just a means of getting that answer to your audience faster.

Voice search, although it is not new to the public, is something SEO specialists are factoring in to better their websites and business opportunities. It is now a new tool in your toolbox to help grow your business.

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