With more than half of the world’s online population accessing the Internet through their smartphones and mobile devices, it has become a priority for brands and businesses to not only capitalize in a mobile-friendly website, but also optimize their pages for voice search and build a powerful keyword strategy that focuses on this technology.
What is voice search and how does it work?
In a nutshell, voice search is the act of conducting an online search through a voice command. Instead of typing the query on the search box, you speak to the device or virtual assistant to find the information you need.
Any device with a voice assistant or dialog system (like Siri, Alexa, etc.) is capable of running a voice search. When asked a question, the virtual assistant will transcribe human speech into text, perform a search on different third-party sources (mostly on search engines), and then return relevant information to the user, either by speaking back or executing the command.
How can I optimize my website content for voice search?
Voice search offers plenty of benefits for website owners, including increased traffic, improved online reputation and click-through rates, and an overall better on-page SEO. However, for your brand to enjoy these benefits, you must first optimize your content for voice search.
Here are six simple but effective strategies that will make your content voice-search ready:
1. Create Persona-based Content
Content is at the core of every web marketing strategy. That being said, creating rich and compelling content that addresses your audiences’ questions and issues is one of the most effective ways to optimize your web pages for voice searches.
Users typically phrase their voice search queries with the five Ws and one H – who, what, where, when, why, and how. Taking the time to answer these questions directly, whether in your service pages, blogs posts, or in the FAQs section of your website, appeals to Google’s ranking algorithm and would increase the odds of your website ranking in relevant voice search queries.
2. Build a Powerful Keyword Strategy
A good keyword strategy is vital for successful search optimization. When optimizing content for voice search, focus on long-tail keywords and location-based keywords.
Since voice searches are typically conversational in nature, it makes sense to sprinkle your content with conversational phrases and long-tail keywords that are relevant to your field, business, or industry. Long-tail keywords can make a huge difference for your SEO rankings, so take time to research the specific terms your customer or clients use.
Research shows that most people who use voice search are performing location-specific searches. This means they’re looking for goods, services, or business in their locale.
To improve your chances of coming up in local searches, think local first when it comes to your content strategy. Use keywords that take your location into account, whether it’s your town, city, postcode, or state in general.
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3. Utilize Structured Data
Incorporating structured data (schema markup) into your web pages helps search engines better understand what your content is all about and present info to users in a faster and more efficient way.
There’s one type of markup that is specifically designed for voice searches – the Speakable markup. This markup allows you to identify sections of your content that are suitable for audio playback. Using this markup helps search engines quickly identify which part of your content to play back in response to a user’s query.
If you’re not yet familiar with schema markup, now is the time to learn about it. Understanding this HTML add on can boost your position in both traditional and voice searches.
4. Shift to Mobile-first Technology
Majority of voice searches happen on smartphones, so it’s crucial for your website to be optimized for mobile devices. If users cannot properly access your web pages or read your content from their phones or tablets, they’re likely to leave and find another site that provides a better mobile experience.
Additionally, Google now uses a process called mobile-first indexing, which means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your content for indexing and ranking.
5. Analyze How Your Audience Use Voice Search
As a marketer, you need to have a better understanding of how your consumers utilize voice search. Unlike traditional searches, which are pretty much straightforward and use the same keywords, users tend to be more playful and creative when interacting with virtual assistants.
Research and data collection can provide you a clearer insight into your consumers’ behavior and help you leverage your content strategy for voice search technology.
About the Author
Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of SEOPhoenix.net. Shawn started his career in I.T. troubleshooting workstations, servers and networks, then went on to doing SEO as a side project and quickly found success in ranking websites. It was easy for him to grasp not only the algorithms but also the technical side which most SEO strategists miss and neglect because of its complexities. SEO Phoenix then grew based on its own rankings and referrals.