Artificial Intelligence is advancing rapidly that it now allows you to search about everything under the sun – through voice command rather than requiring you to type on your keyboard, which usually takes more time than speaking to your device. With this, the digital world became ever-evolving that voice search affects SEO on a whole new level.
Voice search engine optimization became one of the strongest fundamental efforts that will help your business grow, and ignoring it can lead to a painful business demise. So, today, let’s talk about how to optimize your website for voice search and, most importantly, how to optimize content for voice search.
Let’s get started.
What is Voice Search Optimization?
Voice search optimization is the method of optimizing your website for search queries done through voice command – it is basically a voice-based search engine optimization that is necessary for sites that want to be visible on the first page of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) when it comes to voice queries.
Often, these voice search results are more specific that AIs such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri only pick a single result – helping the user narrow the search to the most relevant web page.
This process can include but is not limited to optimizing your blog posts or web articles, your business information such as location, products and services, contact details, and operating hours.
Why is it Important to Optimize for Voice Search?
It is important to optimize for voice search because it is the future of Internet searching.
Did you know that in 2019, there are 3.25 billion smartphone users around the world who are utilizing digital voice assistants? And one survey suggests that since 2018, voice search is becoming the top choice of people when searching through a mobile device – mobile browser is still at the top spot, though.
However, in 2019, Voicebot.ai reports that 58% of adults in the United States alone have utilized voice search – 33% have been using voice search monthly since early 2019, growing the data by over 25% of monthly voice search users since September 2018.
The trends suggest that by this year, 2020, 50% of all web searches will be coming from voice searches – this leads to SEO experts believing that the future of search is personal digital assistants and voice.
Indeed, these numbers serve as a wake-up call for brands all over the world – voice search optimization is necessary for the success of your business, especially if you run a considerable portion online such as an e-commerce store.
Benefits of Voice Search Engine Optimization
The benefits of voice search, as you can tell, are always in favor of the users – people who find voice searching convenient than any other method of searching on the Internet.
In fact, Google’s research found out that voice assistants have significantly been impacting consumer behaviors because of the following reasons:
- It supports easy multitasking
- It allows users to perform things faster compared to other devices
- It delivers instant answers and additional information to search queries
- It helps make the daily routine of users easier
Moreover, SEO specialists particularly find voice search engine optimization beneficial because search algorithm updates from the past years have been gradually pivoting to a “mobile-first” culture of search engine marketing (SEM).
So, search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing prefer mobile-friendly websites as well as voice-friendly – indeed, these two characteristics of search convenience go well together.
How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search?
You see, to optimize your website for voice search, you have to follow through the methods similar to optimizing your website for regular browser searches, such as the following:
Build a Strategic Website Structure and Sitemap for Google to Crawl
A strategic website structure for voice search mainly includes topical content on the home page such as an FAQ – Benu Aggarwal, an online marketing expert and the founder of Milestone Inc., suggested a strategy of integrating FAQ pages into every vital web page of your website.
Take a look at this:
This chart shows how deep you can go with voice search engine optimization by tweaking your site structure and content strategy.
Once your site structure has been optimized for voice search, ensure that you create a sitemap and submit it through Google Search Console, so Google will find your website easy to crawl and index.
Implement Structured Data
When you utilize structured data, you make it easier for search engines, especially Google, to understand what your web page is all about. As a result, they will prefer to pick your web page when a user does a voice search on a query you targeted with your content.
You see, voice searching can be hit and miss because digital voice assistants often show only one result that is best optimized for voice search engines.
So, implementing structured data is like giving the search engines the most important details about the content on your web page – this is why it gives you leverage to become the coveted number one result for a voice search.
These are some of the most common types of information that you can markup with structured data:
- News articles
- Other creative works
- How-to content
Optimize for Local Search – Leverage Your Google My Business Listing
Optimizing for local search such as submitting information to local online directories, updating your business information in each of your web pages, optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) account (this is very important), and targeting “near me” keywords in your content are one of the often-overlooked strategies for voice search optimization.
Remember that local SEO shouldn’t be ignored because a massive amount of voice searches are location-based questions. Plus, Google tends to show businesses that have updated GMB listings.
Take a look at this random voice search using a smartphone:
The top results are GMB listings of pet supply stores that show important information that a search user needs to decide whether to come to a location or not, such as reviews, distance, and operating hours.
If you want to rank on top of local search results, whether it’s for regular web browser search or voice search, you must perform local SEO.
Speed Up Your Website
Speeding up your site will help you acquire the most coveted top result in voice search – page speed is a ranking factor, so making sure that your web pages are fast enough would pave the way for your website to not only become one of the top results but can also be the only search result picked by voice search engine bots for a particular query.
You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test how fast or slow your web pages are on different devices. The best thing is that the tool gives actionable steps that will help you improve your site’s speed, so you don’t get left behind in the competition.
Ensure that Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Therefore, a mobile-friendly website is a MUST – people who are fond of using voice search do it on their mobile devices.
Consider Using Amazon Polly
People who use voice search are commonly extra busy, and they don’t often have the luxury of time to stare at their screens and read about a certain topic they are searching for – what a treat would it be if your phone can read all the answers for you?
Introducing: the Amazon Polly!
Amazon Polly is a cloud-based service that can turn the texts on your website into a conversational speech. So, your website visitors can listen to all of your content – this is highly recommended if you want to build a huge following for your content and if you publish multiple blog posts in a week.
How to Optimize Content for Voice Search?
When you optimize content for voice search, there are a few things that you need to consider which are similar to optimizing for a web browser search. There is little difference, such as the syntax of search queries, the length of keywords, the underlying intention of the query, and the content types based on the perceived customers’ journey.
Here are actionable steps you can start with to optimize your web content for voice search:
Do a Keyword Research on Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords used in voice searches are often coming from questions that have a complete sentence structure compared to regular keywords that usually entail one to two words.
These brilliant tools will show you the most searched questions about a specific topic, so you can choose the most ideal long-tail keyword to target for your content – as always, I suggest that you pick the keywords with a high average monthly search but low competition in search and paid difficulties (this still depends on your search engine marketing budget, though).
Now, remember that when crafting content around a long-tail or question-based keyword, your focus must be to answer the question directly and give an in-depth explanation afterward, if necessary – while keeping your language conversational.
Anyway, my most favorite tool to use when looking for a good query to target is Google’s People Also Ask – I find this as the most reliable among all other tools because, hey, it’s from Google itself.
If you notice, when you type in a keyword, you will also see this question list just below the top result:
Create FAQ Pages for Voice Search
We already talked about how integrating FAQ pages to your primary web pages can effectively improve your voice search optimization.
Now that you have more options or tools to find more frequently asked questions by your target audience or potential customers – about your services, products, or your entire industry in general, it’s time to create more content for your FAQ pages, those that are more relevant, useful, and most importantly, optimized for voice search.
Consider the Customer’s Journey
When creating your content strategy, especially when choosing the types of queries to target, consider your potential customer’s journey about your products or services. Usually, it goes like this:
- Awareness: What’s the best dog food?
- Interest: What brands of dog food does Diamond Pet Foods make?
- Evaluation: Which company makes healthier dog food Diamond Pet Foods or Simmons Pet Food?
- Purchase: How much does Diamond Pro 89 pet food cost?
- Customer Support: Where to buy Diamond Pro 89 pet food near me?
- Loyalty: What dog treats go well with Diamond Pro 89 pet food?
See how many relevant and useful content you can create by following the customer’s journey? You can do this for each of your products if you have an e-commerce store.
The best thing is that by targeting the questions they have throughout their journey, you can craft multiple blog posts that are ready for voice search engine optimization.
The 3 Main Content Types You Can Create for Voice Search
You see, you cannot run out of content to optimize for voice search -the FAQs and other queries throughout the customer’s journey are not the only questions you can target. Here are the three main content types that are perfect voice search:
- Content-Type for Informational Intent: These can be product guides, how-to tutorials, and specifications, prices, and other details for the business, products, and services.
- Content-Type for Navigational Intent: These can be customer service info, store locations, press releases, and events.
- Content-Type for Transactional Intent: These can be product stories, videos, and product comparisons.
The rapid development of voice search has affected SEO in a way that voice search optimization is no longer a competitive advantage for website owners who choose to do it, but it is already a necessity for businesses and all brands that want to thrive in this digitally-driven world.
So, it is essential that businesses have websites and that their websites are optimized for voice search.
If you still don’t know how to optimize for voice search or you don’t have the luxury of time to tweak your web pages, it is always a wise idea to talk to voice search engine optimization experts.