How to Optimise Your Business for Voice Search
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Voice search queries have become increasingly important for business owners. As smartphones and home assistants have become more technically effective, people are now asking for answers almost as much as using a keyboard. Voice search is only growing more popular. For businesses that have an efficient and effective digital marketing strategy, it might be tempting to ignore how important voice search is becoming. For those that are paying attention to the way that SEO is evolving as a result of voice search, changes are being made across the digital marketing landscape. If your business isn’t planning to optimize for voice search, then here’s what you need to know.
Voice Search SEO: Is it important?
With smartphone assistants and home hubs, it’s never been easier to simply ask search engines for answers. Millions of people use voice search daily, and the growing popularity and ease of getting voice search results means that the technology is only going to grow in use. That’s because voice search queries are faster, more suited to use on a mobile than typing, and simply, because voice is the interface that needs to be used for many devices. If we are looking at a future where we spend more time talking to computers and virtual assistants than we do by typing, then that means a huge shift in SEO strategy. For businesses that aren’t paying attention to Google voice search SEO, it’s only a matter of time before your digital strategy will start to fall behind.
The Importance of Google
There are a variety of key names in the voice search sector. There are three main digital assistants that consumers are using every day: Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa. Siri remains the most used assistant at the moment but Google Assistant is rapidly catching up. However, Alexa (and Microsoft’s rarely used Cortana) do not use Google to answer the questions that you pose. Siri used to use Bing but shifted to Google back in 2017. That means that optimizing for voice search needs to focus on Google SEO, but that it’s also worth looking at optimizing for Bing as well.
How Voice Searches Differ from Typed
When you consider the way that you type a query into Google, it is very different from the way that you ask Google a question using your voice. The search habits of modern consumers who use their voice instead of a keyboard has seen visible shifts in what people search for, how they word their queries, and even when they start a search.
- How: Voice search is significantly more conversational than a typed query. This is important for businesses because it changes the way that you need to use your short and long tail keywords when you optimize your website for SEO. Consider the different effects that the following might have:
Typed – hairdresser in LA
Voice – Where’s my nearest hair salon?
As you can see, long tail keywords are going to be much more valuable to your business as voice searches continue to grow in popularity.
- When: It used to be that Google searches were only carried out at home or in the office. That’s where the PC is used, after all. However, now that digital assistants are available on so many devices, search engines are now being used much more while people are on the go. Voice search is being used at all times of the day, with the morning and evening commute seeing especially high volumes of search engine traffic. People are using voice search queries whenever they want quick answers, and that might mean taking a fresh look at your existing digital content and optimizing it for more immediate solutions to industry questions.
- What: Of course, people search for billions of different things. If you have recognized the need to make changes to your existing digital strategy then it’s of vital importance that you develop a more detailed understanding of what people are looking for as it relates to your business. The answer is very simple: people are looking for answers. These answers tend not to be in-depth 3000-word articles. Instead, they are direct micro-answers that often mean that users don’t even have to visit your website to get what they need as Google will simply tell them the solution to their search engine query. Although a voice search will also give users the option to check through additional pages, the majority of people will simply get their answer and then put their phone away. Generally, people are using voice search for:
- Finding out local information
- Getting answers about general information
- As a personal assistant
For businesses with local trade, keywords have always needed to incorporate location. However, remember that conversational tone is more important than ever, and that will have an effect on the short and long tail keywords that you make use of. SEO can be a challenge to get right, and if you lack the skills or the time to get yours right, then it’s worth looking at SEO services that will ensure your online visibility is always having the maximum impact.
How to Optimize for Voice Search
Turning your business into a digital answer for voice search queries can have a very positive effect on your potential for growth. It might mean a transition in your existing digital strategy, but as mobile searches and home assistants become increasingly popular, voice search SEO has never been more vital. Here are some tips for turning your business into a goldmine of answers for search engines and voice search queries.
Use the right keywords
Keywords have been an important element of SEO for many years, but voice search queries mean that your existing keywords may not be working as effectively as they used to. The most valuable keywords are growing longer, largely because we speak in longer sentences than we type into a search engine query. Long tail keywords that focus on natural language are the key to improved performance on voice search queries. Look at long tail keywords that are around five words, and try to turn them into a question. Although you might type out the words “tips voice search business,” consider the different results you will get if you use your voice and ask “What are the best tips for businesses optimizing for voice search?” Finding the right keywords has always been vital, but the shift to more use of long tail keywords is gaining traction.
Optimizing Content for Voice Search Results
Content is where your optimization for voice search needs to be evident. Your content has always been the most important part of digital marketing, but content that has been designed around voice search SEO can be very different. Remember to:
- Answer questions: Consider the questions that your business is most commonly asked and create content that provides solutions to those questions. Embed your long tail keywords into your content, and the combination of the right keywords and the answers that you provide will immediately have a positive impact on your voice search SEO.
- Consider length: A good rule of thumb to consider is keeping your answers to around thirty words or less. While some voice search results will provide longer answers (sometimes up to sixty words), your voice search SEO will be more effective if you keep answers short. Check the current answers to the questions that you are answering and match the length.
- Long-form content: The key here is to include as many answers to as many questions as possible. Longer content is beneficial because it gives you more space to embed your long tail keywords. Remember to add them naturally, because stuffing keywords into content remains a black hat action that search engines will punish you for using.
- FAQs: Your FAQ pages can be very valuable for voice search SEO. Make sure that you structure your FAQs so that each question has both an immediate answer of thirty words or less, and a longer, more in-depth answer that uses more of your keywords.
- Snippets: Featured snippets are becoming just as important to consider as voice search queries. You need to work hard to become a featured snippet for search engines, and so this means using the back end data and the schema markup of your platform. Embed keywords into your page’s code so that search engines can more easily identify the value that you offer.
Producing content that is high in quality, written with your target audience in mind, and always optimized for SEO can very challenging. Don’t be afraid to make use of content writing services if you are having difficulties creating the content that you need to perform more effectively on search engines.
Local SEO and Voice Search Queries
Smaller businesses with more local trade are still not using digital marketing enough. Being able to attract local customers has never been easier simply by having an online presence. Using local search terms is vital for SEO, and including terms like ‘near me’ in your content is invaluable. Make sure that you have claimed and filled out your Google My Business listing, as well as any other local or industry online directories. This action alone can have a dramatic effect on your local business, with consumers now commonly asking for ‘restaurants near me’ or ‘dog groomers in Tampa.’
If you have followed the advice in this guide then you will notice an immediate improvement in your voice search rankings on search engines. There are some additional factors to take into account. Remember to:
- Write content at the 9th-grade reading level as these will appear much more regularly as a voice search result.
- Domain authority has always been important, so dedicate time to build yours.
- With videos becoming more commonly seen as a featured snippet, you must get your video content more highly ranked by optimizing them with keywords.
- Make sure that your website loads quickly.
- Have a mobile-friendly website.
Although SEO is different when considering voice search queries, it can have a huge impact on your online visibility. Voice search is a trend that is going nowhere, and as the technology continues to improve, it will only become more essential to factor into your digital marketing strategies. Take the time to develop voice search SEO and your business could be the answer to the questions that consumers are looking for.