People are using voice search way more than they used to.
They are using it via their smartphones, tabs, computers, or voice assistants like Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), Google assistant (Google), and Cortana (Microsoft).
It’s getting bigger and bigger.
It’s gaining ground and has become so huge because of the following three reasons:
- You can search for some information online even when you are busy or multitasking, or you are on the go and can’t type the text.
- It takes more time in typing a query into a search bar than speaking it into your device. And you also get the answers to your voice search queries instantly.
- According to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report, since 2013, the voice recognition accuracy rate is now over 95%.
The following recent stats will make it clearer as to why voice search is on the rise:
- According to a survey conducted by PwC, 71% of respondents said they would rather use a voice assistant than physically type to search for something online.
- Google’s Mobile Voice Study says 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day.
- According to ComScore, by 2020, 50% of all the searches are expected to be voice search.
- By 2019, 67 million voice-assisted devices will be used in the US. (AdWeek)
- 72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine. (Google)
- Smart speaker shipments grew nearly 200% year on year in the third quarter of 2018. (Strategy Analytics)
So, there is no denying that as far as web search is concerned, voice search is the future.
And therefore optimizing your content for voice search does make sense. It’ll give you an edge over your competitors.
Here are the five essential tips on optimizing your content to make it voice search friendly:
#1. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The keywords/phrases people use during voice search are different than the ones they use in text-based searches. Most of the queries in voice search are question-based.
So when you search for keywords, it should focus on questions referring to your products, services, and business.
And, the people generally ask complete questions during voice search unlike one or two-word queries in text-based searches.
Text-based: Italian restaurant.
Voice: Where is a good Italian restaurant near me?
Text-based: Next flight to New York.
Voice: When is the next flight to New York?
Text-based: Voice search optimization.
Voice: How to optimize content for voice search?
So, how to identify and answer the relevant questions?
Whenever people ask about your business, just pay attention to the words and phrases they use. They use the same words and phrases in their voice search.
Keep noting such phrases and questions. This will help you in creating content for your readers/customers. You can create content around the most important questions people ask about your business, products, or services.
This will increase the chances of ranking higher in search results.
You can either create a detailed FAQ page or a blog around long-tail keywords answering all the important questions people may have.
Long-tail keywords help you in creating a detailed and deeper answer to a specific question.
To get more ideas about long-tail keywords, tools like Answer The Public could be a great starting place.
And because the people are asking questions in a simple and conversational language, you should make sure that the content of your blog post has a conversational tone.
When you ask Google a question, its answer is usually short and concise.
According to Backlinko’s study, the typical voice search result is only 29 words in length.
So, don’t ramble. Just focus on short, clear, and concise answers.
Optimizing your existing content on your website is also important. Make sure that the content of your blog provides answers to all the relevant queries people may have regarding your business, products, and services.
#2. Make Your Content Mobile-Friendly
For the voice search, people usually use their mobile devices.
Therefore it becomes very important for your site or blog to be mobile-friendly.
Also, since Google has released its mobile-first indexing, mobile friendliness could be a determining factor for ranking your site.
There are tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to test if your site is mobile-friendly.
After you test your website, you’ll get a message, “Page is mobile-friendly”.
And, if something needs to be fixed, Google will recommend all the necessary steps you need to take to fix them.
You can also optimize the content of your site for mobile by manually checking the layout of your content and taking some necessary steps to write mobile-friendly content:
- The paragraphs should be shorter and make sure that there’s plenty of white space.
- Divide the content of your blog posts into sub-headings and use numbered lists and bullet points.
- Optimize the images for mobile.
- The titles of your blog posts should be short because the mobile devices don’t have enough spaces. And shorter titles/headlines also get higher CTR.
- The writing of your content should be of high quality. If you think that you are not good enough at writing quality content, you always the option to outsource it.
There are certain keywords that the users will use more often when searching via voice search on mobile than they would in traditional searches. People generally use the words “when”, “how”, “what”, “who” etc. in their voice search queries. So, you can use keywords built around these words.
Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP can also prove to be helpful in making your site mobile-friendly. It takes care of the speed and readability of mobile optimized pages.
#3. Use Structured Data
According to Tom Pratt, Director of Albert Road Consulting,
“Schema Markup is a form of microdata and is a shared project supported by all the major search engines. In simple terms, it is a piece of code which wraps a section of content on your website and identifies it to the search engines as containing specific subject or type of information. This makes it easily and quickly identifiable.”
Your visitors can’t see the schema markup language. It’s microdata; a piece of code that only search engines can read and understand.
But, why is microdata relevant to voice search?
Most of the time, people use voice search for local businesses. And they look for information such as an address, directions, operational hours, contact information and the likes.
Also, when you search for recipes, it shows pictures, ingredients, necessary steps, star rating, and calories. It shows these things only because structured or microdata language was used.
Though schema markup or structured data does not impact directly the page rankings, it still helps optimize your content for voice search. It does this by helping the search engines better understand the content of your site and how it should be ranked and categorized.
Your structured data pages shouldn’t be blocked using robots.txt files. Otherwise, your site’s traffic may drop which can result in the disappearance from ranking.
The Structured Data Testing Tool will help you to test your structured data if it’s working.
Depending on the type of content you are sharing, Google’s structured data markup helper will help find the code you need to add to your page.
#4. Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Most of the voice search queries focus on local search.
According to Bright Local’s key findings,
- 58% of consumers used voice search to find information on a local business.
- 46% of voice search users look for a local business on a daily basis.
According to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet trends report, voice search is three-times more likely to be locally based than text search.
So, you must optimize your site for local.
Users search for local business in two ways. For example,
- Thai restaurant in Delhi.
- Thai restaurant near me.
In the first case, Google will try to generate results from the content of your site. So to rank higher in SERPs, you need to optimize your content for local keywords.
But, in the second case, Google uses the Google My Business Listing information in its results. Google does this after determining the user’s location.
And, that’s the key reason to claim and optimize your Google My Business Listing.
How to optimize for Google My Business Listing?
You can consider the following important points for optimizing your Google My Business Listing:
- To make your site more useful and relevant to your users, you should include all the current and accurate information in the listing, such as your name, address, and phone number (NAP), opening hours, etc.
- Google My Business has also a very important feature – choose a business category.
You can use this feature to describe your business.
Always choose the right category. This can help you to connect to customers searching for the products or services your business deals in. This can also help your site in ranking higher for such queries in search results.
- Don’t use a free Gmail account. Use business email associated with your domain.
- In the introduction field, you have the opportunity to fully describe your products and services.
- Uploading a few high-quality pictures of your business will make your listing persuasive and more attractive.
- Finally, be consistent with your information. There shouldn’t be any difference in the information between your listing, your website, and any other local business directories.
If there’s even a slight difference, you may lose Google’s or other search engine’s confidence. This, in turn, will affect your local SEO and chances are that your business may disappear from search results.
#5. Aim for Featured Snippets
According to ROAST digital agency’s Voice Search Ranking Report, up to 80% of answers in response to voice queries are drawn from the featured snippets.
Brian Dean’s study says that 40.7% of all the voice search answers came from a featured snippet.
What is a Featured Snippet, anyway?
It’s also referred to as answer box or position zero. It’s called position zero because of its location at the top of SERPs.
When you ask Google a question, you can notice that Google takes the answer to that question from a website and places it in a box on the top of page one of the search results. This box is a Featured Snippet.
For example, if you search, “What is on-page SEO?”, this is what you will see:
So, aiming for the featured snippet becomes very important.
Google places only that answer in this box which it rates the best and considers reliable and helpful.
And when it comes to voice search, Google will read out the information from that box only.
So always focus on providing the quality, relevant, and well-optimized content. Only then can your site rank in voice search results and Google will take the answer from your site and display it in the featured snippet.
How to optimize your content to increase its chances of ranking as a featured snippet?
Following are the points you should pay attention to while optimizing your content for a featured snippet:
- Your focus should be on ranking in the top 10.
According to Ahref’s study, 99.58% of featured snippets that Google features come from the pages that already rank in the top 10.
- Use headings, bullet points, or numbered lists. This will make it easier for Google to extract the relevant and straight-to-the-point answers to the queries.
- Try to answer “People also ask” questions in your content. More questions you cover in your content, greater will be the chances that Google displays your answers in featured snippets because the voice queries are question-based.
- Page speed is also a critical ranking factor. The search engines like Google favor those websites which load the fastest.
According to Backlinko, the average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds (52% faster than the average page).
The faster your site loads, the higher will it appear in SERPs and thus greater will be the chances that it appears in a featured snippet.
The most important thing is:
You have to stay relevant and competitive.
And to stay relevant and competitive, you have to adapt to the latest digital trends.
You can’t afford to ignore the potential of voice search.
Voice search will become more intelligent and accurate and its popularity will only keep growing in the coming years.
The best time to implement this technology into your marketing strategy is now.
If you don’t, chances are that you may be left trailing your rivals.
Follow these five tips on voice search optimization. This will help make your content stay on top in voice search results or get selected for featured snippets.