Voice search is the next big thing in web search. According to ComScore, more than 50% of all searches will happen via voice by 2020, and a vast majority of these searches will occur even without using a screen.
With increasing usage of smart home speakers and virtual assistants like Alexa, Ok Google, Cortana, and Siri, the trend has already started. Nearly a billion voice searches are done every month, and this number is only going to increase in the coming months and years. As a digital marketer and business owner, it’s time you start optimising your content for voice search and virtual assistants.
Before, you take a look at SEO strategies for voice search, you need to understand user behaviour behind voice search.
Why and How do People Use Voice Search?
The why is obvious – voice search is more convenient and easy, rather than typing on a keypad or keyboard. When it comes to ‘the how’, there are significant differences between how people search using a keypad and search using their voice. The structure and phrasing are entirely different.
Voice Search: Where is the nearest hair salon?
Text Search: Hair Salon near me.
Voice search tends to be conversational, thereby providing an increase in long-tail keywords. Apart from optimising for question-based search, you also have to focus on semantic searches. Semantic search phrases refer to a series of inquiries on a particular topic.
Where is the nearest hair salon?
What are the ratings for hair salons near me?
What is the trending hair cut style, right now?
In voice search, you have to focus not just on providing the answer to a particular query, but also on the intent behind the search phrases.
Another major distinguishing factor of voice searches is that it’s highly local. Users using voice search are 3x more likely to search for local information, compared to text searchers.
Now, that you’ve got a clear understanding of how voice search intent and usage is different from conventional text-based search, let’s take a look at some SEO strategies to optimise your content for voice search and virtual assistants.
1. Focus on Long-Tail Question Keyword Phrases
One of the most effective and impactful ways to optimise for voice search is to include question keyword phrases in your website copy and blog posts. Try to provide answers to the commonly asked questions about your business.
This is a great strategy to get featured in the coveted Google paragraph answer snippet. This not only boosts your overall page ranking, but voice assistants are likely to pull up information from Google’s snippets for user queries.
Answers featured in Google snippets are short, precise and concise. Use headings to indicate to the search engine that you are answering a question.
2. Lay Extra Emphasis on Local Content
Voice search and local SEO are intricately linked together. Searching for info on local businesses is one of the main reasons why users use voice search or seek the help of virtual assistants. Start by making full use of the free Google My Business listing. Ensure that your GMB profile is complete and updated. Try adding seasonal and local content to your GMB page regularly.
3. Go Mobile-friendly
There’s no doubt that the majority of voice searches happen on a mobile device. Ensure that your webpage design is responsive. Use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to see how your website ranks on the mobile-friendly index.
Next, ensure that your site has a fast loading time. Use PageSpeed Insights to find out your site loading speed. Next, optimise your content for mobile devices. Leave a lot of white space, make use of short sentences and easy to understand words, small paragraphs and make use of sub-headings that hook in the attention of the audience.
4. Create Blog Posts that Address User Questions
People use several phrases and structures in voice search. For instance, one user may ask, “What is the nearest salon near me?” while another user may ask, “Show salons near me.”
Apart from FAQ pages, create blog posts that address the common queries your target audience are likely to have.
5. Keep an Eye on Voice Search and Virtual Assistant Trends
Voice search is just getting started, and there is plenty to be explored. Make sure to monitor the behaviour of users and keep an eye on voice search trends. This will help you adopt new practices and stay ahead of your competitors.
Voice Search isn’t a Fad. It’s here to Stay.
Alter your SEO practices to include voice search and to get noticed by virtual personal assistants. By being an early adopter of voice search SEO, you can stay ahead of the competition and pull in your target audience from multiple channels.