How to Optimize Content for Voice Search to Grow Your Business in 2019

how to optimize content for voice search
last Updated: September 24, 2021

how to optimize content for voice search

Curious about how to optimize content for voice search?

Well, did you know that in 2017 alone, over 33.2 million smart home devices sold worldwide? In November 2018, Canalys was still forecasting 75 million smart home devices would be sold last year.

Smart devices are taking over. That means voice search technology is taking over as well.

Anxious to learn more? Then hold on to your hat and jump on board. This train’s leaving for voice search central.

What Is Voice Search?

Voice search uses speech recognition technology. It gives users the ability to perform an online search through speech rather than text. In other words, users use their voice rather than the keyboard to search for a specific subject.

The rise of smartphones has created the need for better, faster internet interactions. Also, the small screens on smartphones and smart watches make it more difficult for users to perform a web search.

That’s one of the main factors which has led to breakthroughs in voice technology.

The application of voice search is often used for the following:

  • Making search engine queries
  • Clarifying a piece of information
  • Asking for specific information
  • Launching programs or apps
  • Selecting different options
  • Voice dialing

The development of this tech has also led to smart speakers. They’re a type of speaker which is connected to the internet and accepts voice commands. Many smart speakers have neither screen nor keyboard, so speech is the only input they’ll accept.

Some of the most common smart speakers available today are the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. Each comes with a unique AI that responds to your queries through digital voice replication. In other words, they talk back.

The AI’s are Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, respectively. Even Microsoft is getting in on the action with their own software, Cortana.

These pieces of AI software are found in a variety of digital devices beyond smart speakers, smartwatches, and smartphones. They include earbuds, refrigerators, alarm clocks, tablets, desktops, and the list goes on.

Do I Need to Optimize My Site for Voice Search?

Stanford recently found that searches performed by speech are 3x faster than text searches. When you add that to the convenience of using your voice instead of a keyboard, the choice is simple. Voice searches will soon outweigh text searches.

You might be thinking, but isn’t voice recognition software often wrong? In simple terms, no.

It is possible to confuse the software. But we’ve come a long way since the days of Dragon Naturally Speaking software back in the late ’90s.

According to a recent Microsoft report, Cortana only has a 5.1% error rate. That means Cortana’s testing at 95%. So, it’s getting a solid “A.” And that’s across multiple devices and dozens of languages.

mobile SEO

Great, so voice searches are the new thing. But how does any of that affect SEO optimization for voice search? Well, let’s talk about that.

Sit down in front of your desktop and open your web browser. Now pick a piece of furniture in your living room.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume your piece of furniture recently broke. You want to replace it. You’re going to run a search to see if you can find a local merchant who sells your piece of furniture or one like it.

It’s likely that search would look something like this: black leather couches near me

Now let’s pretend you’re performing a search by voice to find the same piece of furniture. Voice searches are designed to recognize natural speech. Therefore, you’d speak to your device the same as you might your neighbor.

You might say something like this: Alexa, where is the nearest place I can buy a black leather couch?

Is there a difference between these two queries? To us, perhaps not. But to a search engine, it’s like comparing apples to papayas.

6 Pro-Tips for How to Optimize Content for Voice Search

So, we now know Google looks at voices searches differently. We also know voice searches are rapidly gaining popularity. Then how can we optimize our web content for this new and upcoming tech?

Believe it or not, we start with the basics. We must first make sure we’re doing that properly because it’s all intertwined. Afterward, we can move on to the SEO optimization for voice search.

1. Make Sure to Claim Your Google My Business Listing

If you haven’t heard of Google My Business Before, it’s easy to use. Essentially, Google My Business is a way to manage your online business presence across all Google platforms. That includes search engines and maps.

You can also help your customers learn a little more about you and what you have to offer.

  1. Go to Google Business and click on Start now located at the top right-hand corner.
  2. Now, Sign In to your Google Account. Create one if you don’t already have one.
  3. Type the name of your business. Then click Next.
  4. Type the address of your business. Then click Next. You might be asked to reposition a marker over the location of your business a Google map.
    1. If you own a service-area business, follow these steps:
      1. Check the “I deliver goods and services to my customers” box. If you wish, you can also check the “Hide my address” box.
      2. Then click Next.
      3. Select your delivery area and click Next.
  5. Click the search field provided to select your business category. Then click Next.
  6. Type your business phone number or business website URL. Click Next.
  7. Click Continue to complete your sign-up.
  8. Select your verification option:
    1. You can also verify at another time by selecting “Try a different method” or “Later”.

2. Identify Long-Tail Keywords You Want to Target and Go After Them

If you don’t know how to find keywords, we’re here to help. When we use traditional, text-based search engines, we use short search phrases. This is a holdover from when scientists first created search engines.

It was the way the code parsed the phrase. Long phrases confused the engine. That’s no longer the case.

Now, it’s imperative you use longer phrases for your keywords. These phrases are called long-tail keywords. Here’s an example:

  • Short keyword: furniture store
  • Long-tail keyword: best furniture store in Brooklyn

You should already be cashing in on long-tail keywords for your business. They help differentiate what your landing page or video offers that others don’t. Differentiators are essential for gaining notoriety.

You can use keyword research tools like Keyword Tool or KWFinder. They’ll help you discover appropriate long-tail keywords for typed searches. Unfortunately, these same tools aren’t built for voice searches.

Why? Because people speak in question phrases, which we’ll discuss in the next session.

3. Focus on Conversational Terms

A question phrase tends to be about 5 words long. It also starts with one of the famous W’s. We’re speaking of course about Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.

These words are especially important to marketers. They often indicate at what page of the sales funnel a customer resides. With this information, they can guide customers to content specifically designed for that part of their sales funnel.

  • What type of laundry detergent is safe for infants?
  • Who owns the Dodgers?
  • How many batteries does my remote control take?
  • When is the next San Francisco Orchestra scheduled to play?
  • Where is the nearest bank?

If you are a marketer, you’ll likely notice that the degrees of intent increase as you move down the list.

4. Add an FAQ Page to Your Website

Don’t neglect the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section of your website. By its very nature, it’s already designed to capture voice search traffic. It focuses on questions.

And those questions start with Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. Sound familiar? Then add an FAQ to your website.

You can also add FAQ sections to your blog posts. Check out our example below:

Ask an SEO Expert: FAQs on How to Optimize Content for Voice Search

Q: What is voice search in SEO?
A: Voice search uses speech recognition technology to perform a search on the internet. Users can simply ask their smart device a question instead of the traditional manual search directly into the search engine.

Q: What are the best ways to do SEO optimization for voice search?
A: Here are the top 6 ways to optimize for voice search:

  1. Claim your Google My Business
  2. Use long-tail keywords
  3. Focus on the W’s: Who, What, Where, When,Why and How
  4. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
  5. Add FAQs to your website
  6. Create content for the search snippets

5. Focus on the Search Snippets

Have you already heard of rich snippets? They’re a small piece of information in your content specifically designed for search engines. The engines pick up relevant snippets and regurgitate your content elsewhere on the web.

If you’ve ever performed a Google search, you’ve seen snippets near the top of the results page. Google loves snippets. The snippets are there to help users find quick answers to their questions.

In traditional searches, users quickly skim the page for their answer. In voice searches, on the other hand, the search engine must give an audible response to the query. The snippet is read aloud.

If you didn’t create your content to fit easily into a snippet, it could be passed over for similar voice results. Consider length when you design your snippets.

6. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly

Voice searches happen mainly on mobile devices. If for that reason alone, you need to make your site mobile-friendly. If you’re not willing to do it for that reason, then consider Google’s mobile-first policy.

Google suggests using a responsive web design for your site. They’ve become popular over the last 7 years, so you can find a responsive template easily. The templates make your web content look good no matter on which device it’s viewed.

You’re not done there. Don’t forget about mobile SEO and load times. You’ve likely heard of mobile SEO, but you may not know why load speed is important.

Most smartphones download data at slower rates than desktops. That means it takes longer for sites to load.

If your site takes forever to load, viewers will skip to another site. Try PageSpeed Insights from Google to determine your site’s load time.

Mobile SEO and making sure that your site is mobile optimized is our number one tip for voice search optimization. So we want to dig a little deeper into mobile SEO and why it’s important.

What is Mobile SEO?

Consider how customer behaviors have changed since the mobile revolution began. People are regularly checking their phones, reading through their social media and searching for information on the go.

With constant access to the internet, more people are opting for mobile searching now than ever before.

In fact, mobile and tablet internet usage exceeded desktop internet usage for the first time worldwide in 2016.

When it comes to Mobile SEO for websites, there are 3 mobile SEO best practices to consider:

Mobile-friendly website

This is a site that displays the desktop version accurately on a mobile device, like a tablet or smartphone.

Making your site mobile friendly is a must. Without your website formatting correctly on a mobile device, you will lose traffic.

However, relying purely on making your website mobile friendly has limitations. The site will not work perfectly with touchscreens.

For example, the text might be too small to read. Images can be distorted, and links might be difficult to click.

Mobile optimized website

What is Mobile SEO? Mobile SEO is the process of creating a version of your website specifically for mobile devices.

It’s essentially a lighter version of your full website. Here are some key aspects of a mobile-optimized website:

  • The buttons are bigger
  • The content is formatted for smaller screens
  • Images fit better
  • There are fewer graphics and pop-ups
  • There are fewer areas for typing

Also, this version offers a link to the desktop version of the website.

Responsive design

This is a site that adjusts main features to different devices. Overall, the design requires less scrolling and is flexible.

No matter what device is being used, the website fits the screen.

But sometimes a responsive design isn’t enough. Users don’t have the time or attention to go through complex processes on your site or to fill out online forms with lots of text.

Each of these mobile website options has their pros and cons. Find the option that best fits your budget and goals.

Why You Need Mobile SEO for your Website

There are several reasons why you need to invest in properly optimizing your mobile website. The most obvious one is that more traffic is coming from mobile devices.

Without an optimized mobile website, expect:

  • Lower ranking in SERPs: Search engines won’t rank you as a top source.
  • A drop in traffic: Less of your audience will find you through organic search.
  • Higher bounce rates: With slow load times and clunky design, visitors will leave fast.
  • Less conversion: If your call-to-action (CTA) is hard to find or click, nobody will buy.

Essentially, search engine optimization for mobile websites comes down to user experience.

As mentioned above, you need to optimize your mobile website with your audience in mind. Focus on the human being visiting your digital presence, not gaming the system for higher ranks.

An ideal user experience consists of:

  • Fast loading times
  • Content that’s easy to read or watch
  • Simple navigation of your site
  • Clarity of your main messaging
  • A distinct, easy-to-find CTA

There are several aspects of the user experience to consider.

First of all, don’t ignore the latest trends in user behavior. For example, one of the most popular trends now is multi-screening.

In 2016, nearly 47 million U.S. adult users accessed content on a digital device while also watching TV or a digital video.

This gives you the chance to improve brand engagement. If your site is hard to navigate, your audience will run to your competitor.

But with a beautiful, seamless mobile experience, you can attract and continually engage those multi-screening users through your site.

Second, you want to generate positive sentiment for your brand.

Don’t be the outdated website in your industry. Be the one with the awesome looking mobile website, delivering the best content for your audience.

As you build brand recognition, you will stand out as a top resource in your industry.

If you don’t know how to build your digital presence and drive traffic, consult an SEO expert to help you and start studying mobile SEO best practices.

Mobile SEO Best Practices

There are several mobile SEO best practices to follow for optimizing your mobile website:

  • Focus on page speed: Reduce redirects, minify your code, and make the most of browser caching.
  • Keep an eye on design: Avoid using Flash, which might not be available on a smartphone, and pop-ups, which can be disruptive and frustrating. Also, consider how users scroll with their finger. Prevent accidental clicks by avoiding the path of the scroll.
  • Don’t forget local search: If you’re serving locals, optimize for local search by standardizing your name, address, and phone number in your site’s metadata.
  • Think concise: When you’re optimizing titles and meta descriptions, remember you’re working with less space. Keep information concise while still being informative.

What’s Next?

Well, did you discover how to optimize content for voice search? We can’t stress enough how important voice searches will be in the next few years. They’re the next evolution in search engine technology.

If you have a have a digital business presence, now’s the time to jump on board the voice search train.

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