There’s been a lot of talk about voice search. From the worldwide launch of Google Home and relatedly, the hundreds of millions of devices with Google Assistant, Amazon Echo and other Alexa-devices, and the explosion of other voice assistant technology like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, optimizing for conversationally driven search is increasingly important.
With the sharp increase in the number of shoppers using virtual assistants to find and buy items, it is increasingly vital to get your site organized and optimized for voice search.
The good news is that adjusting your website, SEO, and marketing strategies to speak to this growing trend will have implications beyond voice search. Google delivers accurate results because, according to Moz, it’s based on semantic search and is, “an algorithm seeking conversation.”
In other words, the search engine listens when people talk -- and you need to be sure your website provides answers with high quality, accurate, and easily understood information.
Here are four ways to optimize your site for voice search:
Use long-tail keywords
Google and other search engines deliver results to people based on the way they ask for them, taking intent and context into consideration. This makes it even more critical for you to include long-tail keywords, which are highly searchable phrases that clearly demonstrate user intent. In fact, Microsoft has found that voice queries tend to be longer than typed ones. For example, “President’s Day discount new iPhone” is a long-tail keyword that tells you the user is looking to take advantage of President’s Day sales and buy a new iPhone. Someone searching for “new iPhone,” on the other hand, may be looking for other things, such as the latest information about the device, technical specifications, or other troubleshooting strategies.
Optimize for mobile
Voice search and mobile devices are a natural fit. It’s much simpler to talk into your phone to get a quick answer than it is to type on a tiny screen or stop to tap away when you’re driving or otherwise on the go. Mobile queries done by voice are growing, and expected to continue to grow annually. Google prioritizes mobile-first indexing, which makes it even more crucial for your site to be mobile friendly. Take action to verify the mobile version of your site, avoid Flash, minimize load time and check that each page on your site is mobile ready.
Use structured data
Make it easier for search engines to scan and understand your site’s content by using structured data. Go to Schema.org for a full listing of standardized formats that organizes your website page’s information and classification in a way that’s easy for Google to digest.
Create valuable content
The top rule for SEO proves itself again as it speaks to your readers’ challenges and addresses their pain points. Google consider “lack of purpose” to have the lowest quality. To avoid this, integrate popular questions and meaningful answers -- from short and sweet to detailed and rich -- into your content. Take it one step further and read what you write out loud. If it makes sense, then Google’s voice recognition software will get it, too, especially since it’s about equivalent to humans’ ability to understand language.
It’s clear that voice search is not all talk and it’s time to start taking action. Not only will you be rewarded with better results for voice queries, but it’ll give your SEO a boost for today’s “conversation-seeking” algorithms and the users they -- and you -- are aiming to engage.