By Berta Ventura, on 27 May 2021
Voice search has been growing steadily in the past few years. People are increasingly using it to search for things while they are performing other tasks because it’s faster and requires less effort. 1 in 5 searches are now made by voice, according to Google. With voice search becoming so popular, Google is changing how it serves search results, which can have an impact on your SEO and SEM strategies.
In this post we’ll discuss voice search SEO, why you should make it a priority, and share some tips to help you improve your rankings.
How Does Voice Search SEO Work?
Voice search changes how people search for things. Searches are more conversational and longer than traditional typed queries. The way people talk is a lot different than how they write and this can transform how Google delivers search results. For example, you might type “best Thai food” into your device but say “Where’s the best Thai food near me?” when using voice search.
Voice search uses natural language so Google needs to process and understand the whole context of the keywords used. Instead of focusing just on short tail keywords, it’s now more important than ever to prioritize long tail keywords because of these more conversational searches.
Overall, voice search SEO needs to focus more on conversational, context based results. For this reason, you need to know more about your audience and understand their queries by analyzing search data.
Why Is it Important?
Voice search SEO is becoming more of a priority because, as mentioned, voice searches are on the rise, especially among Gen-Z users. Not only is it factor in now, but it will continue to grow in the near future as voice searches become even more common. Here are a few reasons why voice search SEO is important.
Google Will Be Optimizing for Voice Search
Just as Google prioritized mobile first for SEO, it’s likely we’ll see voice search being heavily prioritized too. Google wants to deliver the most relevant results to people’s questions. As voice search technologies advance and SERPs react accordingly, you’ll want to optimize your content to answer voice based queries.
People Are Using Their Devices More
Due to the pandemic and how it’s shifted our working lives, we now spend even more time on our devices. As we work from home and are more connected than ever, voice search makes sense as a time saver and multitasking option; we don’t have to stop what we’re doing to have our questions answered.
Location Is Important
Location is also an important factor as more people are using search phrases like “dry cleaner near me” and search engines are serving up results based on people’s locations at the time they’re searching.
Google Is Becoming an “Answer Engine”
Google is answering more and more questions directly through voice assistants or by displaying the answer at the top of search results as a featured snippet. This is shifting Google from being a search engine to being an answer engine. That means users don’t have to sift through results to find the answer they’re looking for. It also means that if you’re not at the top spot, you basically don’t exist.
How to Optimize for Voice Search SEO
Now that you know why voice search SEO is becoming more of a priority, what steps can you take to optimize your content for the increase in voice searches?
Create Conversational Content
It’s clear that Google is mirroring conversational queries with search results that are more conversational in nature. Voice searches contain long tail keywords and full sentences as opposed to short searches that are typed. Your blog titles, video titles, and other content headers should follow this more natural language approach. Titles such as “What are the best bike shops in L.A.?” will give you better results than “Best bike shops Los Angeles” as they reflect how people speak and therefore how they make voice searches.
Consider making an FAQ page where each question begins with ‘Who’, ‘Where’, ‘What’, ‘Why’, ‘When’ or ‘How’, as these are typically the words that voice searches begin with. Try to make your content more like a real-life conversation and it will have a positive impact on your voice search SEO.
Prioritize Local Search
If you have a business that relies on local traffic then you should prioritize your local search SEO. 58% of users have utilized voice search to find a local business and that number is only growing. When people are traveling and on the go it makes sense to use voice search to find restaurants and services as they move. Prioritize for “near me” searches and of course for mobile as that’s how people on the go search.
Know Your Customers and the Devices They Use
What percentage of your customers use voice search? Are they millennials or Gen-Z? Where do they live? Analyzing your site and industry data can give you insights into where your voice search SEO efforts should be focused. This includes which demographics use which devices, another insight that helps to pinpoint where you should direct your energy.
Use Schema Markup
Markups are pre-defined guidelines or values that you can follow to help search engines understand your content. Schema Markup is an HTML add-on that puts your content into a context that Google can understand. Google is looking for answers to users’ questions and adding a Schema Markup helps you provide those answers. This in turn has a serious impact on your SEO, especially concerning voice searches.
Assistants like Alexa and Siri have made voice searches more approachable and commonplace. With this shift towards a more natural question/answer based search experience, brands need to adjust their SEO to meet changing trends. It’s likely that voice will become even more popular and so prioritizing mobile and voice searches is an SEO strategy that’s likely to continue. In the end, you want to provide the best possible answers to the questions your target audience is asking, and to do so in a conversational style.