How many times have you asked Google for directions or to find the best restaurant in your city? If you’re anything like us, it’s likely to be a daily occurrence.
It’s no surprise that through the rise of voice search apps and in-home smart speakers – like Siri, Google Voice, Alexa, and Cortana – voice search is fast becoming the preferred search method for users to find what they’re looking for online. According to Comscore, it’s anticipated that by 2020, roughly 50% of all searches will be made by voice.
Why are people using voice search?
Almost anyone can ask a question out loud faster than they can type it. Voice assistants empower users with the flexibility of multi-tasking; getting answers to their questions while watching TV, cooking or driving.
Going hands-free with voice search means users are not wasting time browsing endless page results – dramatically improving the user experience. Because of this, search engines are evolving with a greater focus on voice search optimisation to provide users with the most relevant responses to their queries.
What does this mean for your Search Engine Optimisation?
The whole purpose of Search Engine Optimisation is to improve the volume and quality of your search engine traffic. While many of the practices and processes involved in SEO already address the various needs of voice search optimisation, this strategy can be taken much further.
It’s time to start thinking towards the future of Search Engine Optimisation with voice search at the forefront of your strategy – here’s how:
1. Write Conversationally
Sounds simple enough but it’s important to pay attention to how you develop your website content. When we say “write conversationally”, we mean “write naturally”. The tone of your content should be more involving than prescriptive for the end-user.
Voice queries are typically more conversational than typed queries. They’re framed as complete, specific sentences, whereas typed queries are typically broken up by core keywords.
When crafting your website content, use common phrasing and maximise the use of long-tail keywords, like “Where’s the best place for dinner in Brisbane?” instead of “best restaurant dinner Brisbane” to help improve the context and voice-to-text readability.
Try speaking out loud to look for natural or colloquial phrasing that a user is likely to ask their voice search app. By using simpler language, the content is easier for Google to pronounce and the user to understand.
2. Focus on Short Answers
In the past, website content has been skewed towards paragraph formats, but there’s new data from Google to suggest that search engines prefer short, concise answers to voice search queries. With the typical voice search result about 29 words long, the simpler it is to access your query-themed content with a relevant answer, the more likely that the result will rank.
Try to anticipate your brand’s commonly asked questions to start the long-tail keywords across your website.
To begin this process, try to think about the common questions your brand is faced with – whether it’s by customers, clients, prospects or fans. While you may already leverage a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section, you can take this as an opportunity to expand on this website content, as appropriate.
Create content with short answers (two to three sentences) so that Google can then easily identify the relevant keywords as a match for the query.
3. Don’t Forget About Long-Form Content
While search engines are looking for shorter answers, that doesn’t mean that they’re not rewarding long-form content. Search results often come from web pages with a higher word count, which means that the more words, the more likely content can match a voice search result.
Expand on your short answers with additional explanatory information for search engine crawlers and help those users seeking more information. Plus, by creating quality, long-form content you’ll be able to significantly increase your page’s authority for the given topic.
4. Keeping it Local
Most commonly, customers are looking for products or services local to them. This is especially the case for voice search queries, where customers are asking voice assistants for something on the go and query their mobile devices for a quick answer. It’s important to leverage local phrasing, such as “near me” or “nearby” to further improve your search visibility.
To perfect your local Search Engine Marketing, ensure your business information is up to date and included on your website. It’s also a good idea to ensure this information is available on local listings, such as Google MyBusiness, Bing Places and Yelp. Ensure your content is frequently updated (e.g. events, offers, posts, responses) to improve its recency and relevance for the given topic or query.
5. Schema & Structured Data
Schema (or microdata) is additional code that can be added to your website which gives search engines a bit of context. It structures information in a consistent format, so that it is easy for search engines like Google to understand and utilise. Schema can offer support for your voice search strategy by demonstrating the content’s themes, meaning and relationship to search engines.
Need help to demystify the jargon of Search Engine Optimisation? NOUS can help. Our in-house expert digital team can work together with your brand to create a deliver a bespoke SEO solution. Give us a call on 07 3003 0722 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org