It seems we like to talk more than we like to type, especially on mobile devices. A recent article by Blogging Wizard states that voice search is the second most popular channel for mobile searches.
It is no news that the world of search engine optimization (SEO) and how to get found on the web continually changes. A mobile-first strategy has been around since 2018, and if you are not using it on your website, then you need to make some changes.
What does this mean for your SEO?
It is not likely that keyboards will go the way of the cassette tape anytime soon, but advances in AI voice recognition technology have led to an increase in the use of voice search. According to voicebot.ai, “The percentage of adult Americans using a voice assistant in some form is nearly double that of smart speaker ownership, reaching 62% when smartphones, TVs, cars, and computers with voice assistants are included.”
People search for products and services differently when they are using a voice-enabled device as opposed to when they are typing on a keyboard. Voice search tends to be more conversational and that often means a greater need to understand the search intent. Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies are becoming more intuitive and able to process natural speech.
What do you need to do to be ready for this shift?
Ranking for Voice Search
One way voice searches differ from keyboard searches is that people tend to use full sentences and questions. They tend to ask questions that begin with who, what, when, where, and how. This means that long-tailed keywords will become an increasingly important part of the strategy. If you are already implementing long-tailed keywords as part of your SEO strategy, congratulations! You are already ahead of the game.
Featured Snippets Are More Important
If you are not taking advantage of featured snippets, it is time to get on board. Featured snippets are at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). They occupy what is known as the coveted “position zero.” There is still a lot of mystery about how to land at position zero, but it seems that using long-tailed keywords in the first paragraph might increase your chances.
People Also Ask
The “People Also Ask” section that appears between the sponsored results and top results on the SERP is an excellent way to cash in on voice searches. Incorporating these questions into your content will increase your chances of ranking for voice search. A good way to increase your brand authority is to write a short answer to them and include them prominently in your content.
Formatting Is Key
The mobile-first strategy made formatting a top priority for increasing your page rank. This means using headers, lists, tables, and heading tags in your content. Avoiding the “wall of words” syndrome is especially important in this brave new world. The most important thing is to make sure your content is well-structured so Google can easily understand how it relates to what people are searching for using either voice or keyboard.
Local Results Are Critical
Having a local presence is one of the most important factors when it comes to voice search. People are more likely to search for “restaurants near me” when they are away from their homes or office. You should take every opportunity to tag your location and surrounding areas and optimize for local search every chance you get. You get bonus points for using geo-targeting as part of a long-tailed keyword.
Google Business Profile
If your business depends on local traffic, then you need to take advantage of every opportunity to make sure you are showing up every place people look. Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), Yelp listings, Yellow Pages, and directories should be kept up-to-date. You need to think about making it easy to find you when the person searches using voice when they are in their car looking for products and services like yours.
Quality Over Quantity
One part of the Google algorithm that is easy to forget is that they track how people interact with your content. If you have a high bounce rate, then they think you do not have anything interesting to say. This means that you need to create killer content that will get your readers’ attention and keep it to increase your rank.
Killer content means finding out what your readers need to know the most and giving it to them in a clear format that is easy to understand. Another key is making sure your content supports your brand and your brand persona. Every part of your content needs to reinforce who you are and your brand’s values, so readers know what to expect.
Focus on Their Pain
Every person who performs a voice search has a certain problem they want to solve. Whether it is knowledge they are seeking or want a particular product or service, they have a pain point that represents their search intent. Your success depends on your ability to resolve those pain points for them. That is the real key to creating content that converts.
The increase in voice search means that you need to hone your skills and create content that adds value to the on-the-go seeker looking for answers. It’s not quite like learning a new language, but it does mean taking advantage of natural speech and long-tailed keywords that reflect the way people talk.
Guess what? By taking the time to supercharge your content for voice searches, you will be better poised to create content that converts searchers into customers, regardless of how they found you.