February 11, 2021
/ by Maureen Beard
See the original post on Beyond Bylines.
You’ve most likely heard about voice search over the past few years. Maybe you’re wondering if voice search really is the next big thing.
While you shouldn’t place all your focus on voice search, digital marketers and content creators can no longer ignore the importance of voice search in SEO and organic search.
According to Statista, there would be over 4 billion digital voice assistant devices in use in 2020. Google found 20% of searches are conducted on a voice-enabled device.
As the number of online users increases and voice assistant devices grow, brands must incorporate voice search into their content strategy.
Voice search allows you to speak into a device to conduct a search query for results.
Voice technology, such as Google Brain Rank, uses speech recognition to identify what a user is saying. It then reads back your results.
It’s important to remember that voice search is more natural and conversational in tone. Most searches are performed on mobile devices and tend to focus on local search results.
Natural language means search terms tend to be longer than text-based searches. In general, voice search is focused on providing immediate results for the user's current location.
While it may seem daunting to adapt to new technology, don’t worry. You can begin to optimize for voice search by building off traditional search engine optimization (SEO) best practices.
Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you optimize your content for voice search.
It’s important to remember that voice search is a component of SEO. Voice search provides you with another tool to rank high in organic search, increase traffic to your website, engage new customers, and provide a high-quality user experience.
So, establishing a strong SEO foundation should come as no surprise. Make sure you are creating high-quality, authoritative, relevant content that engages your audience.
A few basics to remember:
As noted, voice search is conversational in tone. People use natural language when speaking to a smartphone or virtual assistant.
When we have a conversation, we speak in full sentences (“What are the best luxury hotels in New York City?”). While on a desktop, searches tend to consist of a few words or short phrases (“hotels in nyc”).
Think about how audiences speak about your business, industry, and services to optimize content for increased organic traffic. How would you ask a question? What kinds of questions do people ask to find your website? Think in terms of speaking as opposed to keywords.
A few ways to find out what your audience is looking for:
Remember: While longtail keywords are essential to optimize for voice search, shorter keywords should still be a part of your keyword strategy and incorporated into your content.
Longtail keywords are essentially answers to questions. You should be creating content around answering questions your readers are asking in search queries.
Voice search queries contain a lot of questions: how, what, when, why, and where. When people speak to a voice assistant, they tend to be specific in hopes of getting a more accurate answer.
Create content that answers a specific question, such as:
In addition to the analytic tools mentioned above, social media is another resource for understanding your customers' and potential customers’ questions and the answers they are seeking.
Once you know the questions readers are asking, you can create content around answering these questions.
There is no doubt; voice search is faster and easier than text-based search. Speaking into your smartphone allows people to multitask while searching for immediate answers.
A BrightLocal study found 56% of voice searches are done on smartphones, while 46% of users are searching for local businesses.
More people are using smartphones to ask for directions, find the nearest business, or look up movie times (at least in pre-pandemic times). So when there's a relevant local angle, content creators need to ensure they optimize their posts and website for local voice search.
Here are a few ways to start optimizing for local and mobile search:
Creating content that is clear and concise is fundamental when it comes to SEO and traditional search. The same applies to voice search.
While Google isn’t the only search engine, it is still the most widely used search engine. Therefore, it's important to understand Google has emphasized voice search optimization.
The leading voice search feature on Google is the featured snippet, also known as position zero.
When you enter a search query, you’ll notice a box that shows up with your answer. Google refers to this as a featured snippet.
The featured snippet is a brief description of a webpage that appears below the paid ads and above the organic search list. Feature snippets most often show in paragraph and list formats.
You don’t have to place first in organic search results to appear as the featured snippet. You only have to appear in the top 10 and optimize for the featured snippet.
Here are a few tips for optimizing for the featured snippet:
While it’s not easy, claiming position zero is the #1 reason you’ll feature in voice search.
Voice search continues to evolve within the SEO and digital marketing landscape. Marketers and content creators must adapt their strategies for their brand to stay relevant. The above tips and search tools will help you create and optimize your digital strategy to compete for voice search.
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