Consumer preferences and behaviors around search have done a 180 from just a few years ago.
Voice recognition technologies like Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri have grown more sophisticated and intuitive. Speaking commands to an AI assistant is faster than typing, and people of all ages have grown accustomed to getting answers from a simple voice command.
As a brand and marketer, optimizing your content for voice search can help your brand gain more exposure and capitalize on this growing trend.
Read on to learn tried-and-true strategies for optimizing content for voice search and how these queries differ from traditional web searches.
Why Use Voice Search Optimization?
Voice search is now more widely used than ever before.
According to a recent estimate, more than 1 billion devices have voice assistant capabilities.
The accuracy of voice technology is also accelerating quickly to make the experience even better. The AI technology behind these voice search technologies now has a 95 percent word accuracy rate.
Nearly all aspects of life, including phones, cars and homes, are trending toward voice-driven experiences. However, many brands have been slow to optimize their site for voice searches.
By understanding how people interact with voice recognition technology, you can improve your site’s visibility for voice searches.
Qualities of Voice Search
The context and nature of voice searches are unique from typical web searches. Understanding when, how and why consumers use voice search over web searches will help guide actionable next steps for optimization.
Here are some key voice search qualities and trends to keep in mind:
Voice Searches Use Natural Language
The way people speak differs from how they type — and that’s an important distinction when optimizing content for voice search.
When typing, people tend to use shorter phrases for simplicity’s sake. Voice searches tend to be more conversational in nature as you speak to the device like a person using question phrases.
For example, imagine you’re researching vacation destinations in Chicago. You would probably type “best hotels in Chicago.”
When doing a voice search, you’d more likely say, “What are the best hotels in the Chicago area?”
Voice Search Users Seek Immediate Results
Most users of voice search technology turn to voice assistance to obtain specific information fast. Some common uses of voice queries include:
- Instructing the device to call a specific person or business
- Asking for directions
- Dictating texts
Voice search technology can help people find immediate answers on the go when they can’t look at their phone or simply don’t want to.
Users Want Locally Driven Content
Voice searches are wildly popular among people seeking out local information. In fact, 22 percent of queries are based around local content. Voice searches are also three times more likely to be locally based than traditional web searches.
5 Voice Search Optimization Strategies
Search behavior has undergone a major shift in recent years. By implementing these voice search optimization strategies, you can best position your business to outrank competitors in the new search landscape.
1. Optimize Your Google My Business Listings
If you work at a location-based organization, voice search optimization should be at the top of your to-do list.
Approximately 50 percent of local mobile searches result in a visit to that business within 24 hours. Incorporating certain keywords as part of your SEO can help you capture this traffic.
Complete these steps to optimize your Google My Business profile for voice search:
- Describe your business location in relation to local landmarks
- Use “near me” in meta descriptions, title tags and anchor text
- Include names of local institutions related to your business
- Provide common phrases used to describe your city and region
Because voice technology draws in local business at a higher clip, it’s crucial to keep your neighborhood consumer base in mind.
2. Create a FAQ Page
The frequently asked questions (FAQ) page handles common business concerns, but it can also be used for content optimization.
FAQs can provide valuable content in the form of long-tail keywords.
Simply turn target keywords into common conversational phrases your consumers might use with voice search.
If you’re running a business in Miami, Florida, include FAQs, such as “What are the best restaurants are in Miami?” or “Where are the best places to stay in Miami?”
Using conversational phrases can help increase web traffic for voice searches.
3. Use Structured Data Markup
Structured data, also known as schema data, is HTML code that helps search engines better understand your website content.
Search engines pull structured data from websites to create rich snippets, or enhanced organic search results.
By adding structured data to your site, search engines can more easily pull and display your business information on the search engines results page, increasing visibility to your brand.
Common examples of structured data include:
- Operational hours
- Contact information
By providing this level of detail, structured data can help your business become a featured listing in local search queries.
4. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Because the majority of voice searches are performed on smartphone devices, be sure to optimize your site for mobile first.
Use layouts that allow visitors to view your website on any-sized screen with ease.
Mobile-friendly sites typically have the following characteristics:
- Brief, descriptive paragraphs
- Fast loading pages
- “Read more” buttons to hide lengthy content
- Phone numbers with active call links
- Images and photos shown in a carousel display
If you decide to create a separate mobile site, keep the content consistent and easily readable to help improve the user experience.
5. Target Conversational Keywords
To capture high-value queries, include conversational keywords for voice search optimization.
Begin by building a list of voice search keywords using analytics from past campaigns. Review the list and eliminate queries unrelated to your brand.
Looking at voice search queries will reveal exactly what potential customers are searching for.
Begin by adding conversational keywords to your campaigns. Common queries have the following words attached to them:
Gather data and gauge the performance of voice search keywords to determine whether they're drawing traffic to your site.
Use Personalize to Optimize Your AI Marketing
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