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Voice search optimization: Why and how

Voice Search Optimization: Optimize your keyword strategy – Voice Command.

Voice search optimization is an important topic in the digital marketing industry. A few years ago, voice search seemed like an absurd idea, limited to some science fiction films. Today, however, its popularity is increasing day by day.

cheerful young woman screaming into megaphone
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

If you’re a Star Trek fan, you definitely remember the scenes where actors used to talk to computers for answers. Everything seemed like something that would never come into existence. Yet here we are.

Today, voice search has become so common that, according to Google, it is the fastest growing form of online search.

So what does this new research trend mean for marketers and entrepreneurs? Why should entrepreneurs focus on creating websites optimized for voice search? Let’s see, let’s see.

The rise of voice search in numbers

Voice search basically allows users to query aloud, rather than typing them in the search box to get the results.

Speech recognition technology accurately understands what users are saying and then provides the best results orally.

Reports estimate that about 41% of adults conduct at least one voice survey every day. According to ComScore, 50% of total searches will be voice searches by 2020.

Let’s check out some of the critical statistics of voice search:

  • 61% of people between 25 and 64 and 57% between 18 and 24 say they will use voice search more actively in the future (PwC Survey)
  • Almost a third of the 3.5 billion searches conducted on Google every day are voice searches (TheeDesign Research)
  • More than 30% of web browsing will be done without screen by 2020 (Gartner)
  • 55% of households will have smart speaker devices by 2022 (OC&C Strategy Consultants)
  • More than 53% of smart speaker owners say it’s natural to talk to smart devices (Google)

Well, statistics don’t. It is quite clear that consumers are becoming increasingly familiar with voice search and using it for daily online searches.

Google Now, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are some of the top trending pitchers in voice search. Given the growing popularity, Google and other tech giants are investing heavily in voice-operated digital assistants.

How does voice search affect your site’s ranking?

So how does voice search affect your rankings (and ultimately company results)?

You see that researchers want faster answers to their queries, and Google values the user experience very much.

Voice search enhances the user experience by providing faster, more accurate search results with convenience. That’s the main reason why Google has really started emphasizing voice search optimization.

While the search engine giant hasn’t officially confirmed it yet, it’s only a matter of time before Google adds voice search to its algorithm and begins prioritizing sites that incorporate voice technology.

The role of SEO and voice search optimization

The primary purpose of SEO is to classify a site for specific search terms, so that users can get the best information as quickly as possible. However, you need to understand that SEO by voice search and conventional SEO are quite different.

Optimizing the site and content for voice search can help increase site visibility and credibility. Ultimately, this improves your site’s ranking and traffic through Google.

How do I optimize your site for voice search?

Users who perform voice searches often want to complete a specific action, such as playing a song, finding a restaurant, or finding information about a specific subject.

When people use voice search on their phone, Google provides only one top result. This main result is known as “zero position” or “featured snippet” or “answer box”.

The reports estimate that half of the surveys will be done by voice. This means that approximately 50% of your potential customers won’t be able to see your site, even if you’re in third or fourth position.

The solution here is to sort for number one and secure the zero position.

How do I secure zero position so that your site appears in voice search results? Here’s how. But before we begin, here’s a professional tip for you.

Pro-Tip

In addition to the tips mentioned below, here’s an alternative way to try to highlight in the answer box.

Lately, it has been noted that Google favors websites that provide interactive Web tools such as BMI calculators, revenue guides, price estimators, etc. for users. If you are a corporate business, you can develop an interactive web application for the corporate website to increase your chances of getting the answer box right.

1. Implement structured data

Structured data or schema markup is one of the ranking factors used by Google’s search algorithm to determine the relevance and position of a page in search results.

It is code or metadata that is added to the source code of the site. This code helps search engines better understand your content and classify it accordingly.

It also gives you more control over how you provide specific blocks of information to search engines and how machines interpret them.

Implementing structured data does not guarantee superior classification, but offers a competitive advantage, for sure. Increases your chances of getting into the answer box or featured snippet, and therefore in voice search results.

Here’s an example of what a rich snippet is like. Highlighted search sections are automatically selected by Google with the help of the schema and shown in search results.

How do you implement structured data? If you’re using WordPress, search for “schema” plug-ins and you’ll see hundreds of plug-ins that enable structured data functionality in WordPress.

You can also manually implement structured data on your site using specific schemas from schema.org library.

2. Improve page speed

You can find this tip in almost all existing SEO guides.

Page speed is one of the most significant ranking factors. It decides whether or not your page will be ranked in the top search results.

If you want to rank to zero and appear in voice search results, make sure the site loads quickly.

People use voice search for faster results; therefore, Google attaches high importance to page speed when it comes to voice search.

Use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to check the load time of your site. The best thing about this tool is that it offers numerous suggestions on how to improve page speed.

Make sure that you

  • Minimize HTML and CSS
  • Prioritize visible content
  • Optimize images
  • Remove unwanted theme elements and plugins
  • Enable data compression
  • Implement browser cache

One way to dramatically increase the speed of your mobile site is by implementing an Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Helps your mobile pages load instantly by pulling only a few blocks of content you need.

3. Understand the user’s search intent

Optimizing content according to user intent is crucial to getting a high rating on voice search results.

You need to understand if people want to buy something or want to get some information when you type a search query. User intent or search intent helps you understand why the person typed a specific question into the search engine.

The user’s intent is usually clearly expressed in queries using words such as “price,” “buy,” “download,” “how to do,” “what it is,” and so on. Other times, the intention is not clearly expressed.

But thanks to the Hummingbird Update, Google can now discover the context behind a search query and provide the best matching results.

For example, when a user searches for “Oscar winners,” he’s probably interested in the latest awards ceremony, not what happened ten years ago. Google understands this context and ranks sites that provide information about the latest awards ceremony and news of the latest Oscars.

Therefore, it is crucial to structure your content according to the user’s intent. Increases the relevance of your page to specific search queries.

So how do you write and optimize your content according to the user’s intent? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you provide the most accurate and immediate answer?
  • Is the answer structured in a suitable format?
  • Is your site’s content easily accessible by Google?
  • Is your site credible enough?

If you work with the result of the questions above, this can help you increase your chances of entering the answer box for specific search terms.

4. Target long-tail keywords in content

Long tail keywords are of a very specific nature. As the name suggests, these are search terms and phrases that are longer than a typical search query.

People act like they’re talking to real humans when they do voice research. They naturally ask longer questions than short keywords. For example, when typing a search query, a person can use highly relevant words and type something like – “best pizza in New York”

Whereas to perform the same search using voice, a person may ask, “Hey Siri (or Ok Google), where can I eat the best pizza?”

Therefore, it is important to discover and use the conversational search terms that people would use while chatting. You need to treat these terms as long-tailkeywords and incorporate them into your content.

You can use tools like Respond to the Public or KeywordTool.io to discover long-tail search terms and questions.

Long-tail keyword targeting is one of the effective strategies for optimizing voice search.

The funny fact is that 70% of all search queries are long-tailed, but most websites often ignore these keywords while looking for shorter, more competitive search terms. Long tail keywords are less competitive, but they are equally important.

Again, be sure to answer the researcher’s question as accurately and directly as possible. You can create H2 or H3 titles of questions (long tail search terms) and provide answers in body text.

To finish

Voice search is slowly becoming popular. People have already started using it, and more will be in this trend soon.

The potential of voice search has not yet been fully discovered.

There are many ways marketers and entrepreneurs can take advantage of voice search, create and optimize a voice-eat website, drive traffic, and increase sales. Whatever you do, make sure voice search is included in your SEO and website campaigns in the future.

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