It’s the same with the information search – it’s always evolving. Regular search (when you type a question into a search engine) is slowly becoming history. Voice search is rapidly progressing and it is only a question of time when it’s going to take the lead.
According to a 2018 estimate from Alpine.ai, there are over one billion voice searches per month. Also, as Location Word states, “40% of adults now use voice search once per day.” Voice search is obviously becoming the search mechanism of the present and the future. The list of devices that use voice search already includes Siri/iPhone, Android Phones, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, and is growing every day.
These digital assistants are making this process conversational. In fact, you get the feeling that you are talking to a real person. Because of that, optimization for voice search demands a different approach than the traditional type searches.
When optimizing for voice search, it is essential to use a lot of microdata, such as phone numbers, addresses, menus, etc. This data helps search engines realize what is what on a web page, which is crucial for a voice search.
In order for digital assistants to find the required data, your website needs an inclusive sitemap. The pages of this map that include microdata will be labeled. That way, assistants will have no problem finding the information needed.
Also, have in mind that voice searches favor local listings, which are basically in your microdata entries. In other words, if your business is specific for a certain area, it will rank higher in the voice search. Algorithms give advantage to local results and provide customers with vital information such as address, working hours, etc.
Make user-friendly content
User-friendly content has always been important, but with the growth of voice search, its importance has increased. Content that is clear and written in a way that can be spoken helps search engines understand what the text is all about. That way, search engine algorithms can provide more precise results for the voice searches. In other words, if your website has content that people are looking for, its positioning will be higher.
Ask yourself what kind of questions your customers will ask and provide the answers to them. Use direct answers to the questions and clearly state a certain paragraph or a part of your page is an answer to the question. Give your customers the information they need. Keep in mind that according to Google, “Voice search queries in 2016 are up 35x over 2008.”
Also, it would be good practice to create an FAQ page with the answers to the most frequent questions. Extract your customers’ most common questions from your customer support page or emails and make them work to your advantage. Precise answers to those questions are what search engines are looking for.
Use long-tail keywords
Keywords by themselves are no longer enough. They won’t get you to a higher position because algorithms are now more sophisticated. Things that will make an impact are long-tail keywords. According to moz.com “Long-tail search makes up 70% of search queries.” The evidence for this is more than clear.
When targeting your site, you’re looking for phrases that people use in everyday life. Instead of using only one word, such as “laptop,” you should instead use it in combination with other words. Try to make it sound as natural as possible. For example, “the cheapest laptops in the market” or “the best laptop for business” would work better than other word combinations. The more specific the long-tail, the less competition you will have and SERP rankings will boom.
Use trigger words and optimize snippets
To further optimize your content, use trigger words, such as “how,” “what” and “best.” If you focus your content on them, it will have higher chances of generating featured snippets. You should also make sure that your website is optimized for snippets. This means answering your questions in a way that’s useful for your customers. Think short, factual, and logical.
Analyze the traffic of the questions on your FAQ page, and optimize the ones that have the highest impact and bring in the most customers. Use high-quality content for those questions to improve your chances of getting featured by digital assistants.
Think about voice snippets
When writing content, try to think of how your content sounds out loud. If you want it to be found during a voice search, make sure you’re easily understandable. Also, think about how the content is organized and whether that’ll be suitable for voice assistants. For example, using large tables with lots of rows and columns may not be the best way to go. Instead, try bullet points or short paragraphs. When it comes to voice search, simplicity is key.
Google estimates that most sites will lose half their visitors while loading on mobile devices. To prevent this, Google actually has a free tool you can use to help you figure out if your website is on the right track. Since mobile devices are used for voice searches more often than computers, being mobile-friendly is definitely a must.
In fact, you should already be doing this. But if you’re not, it’s never too late to start. To do that, start by reducing your page load times as much as possible and make sure you’re using responsive design. Also, don’t make your buttons too small and disable pop-ups — they make people nervous.
It’s never too good to have too much of something. You may end up having a website that is targeted for one specific query, with very little real information. Be reasonable when it comes to this — You want to show up in voice search, but you also want to provide real value, because you won’t get anywhere without it.
To sum up…
Voice search is our present, and even more importantly, our future – so we should be well prepared for it. Optimizing your content for it will soon be a necessity, so why not start ahead of others? These tips should put you on the right track, but you have to see what will work best for your website. Know what those digital assistants are going to look for and how to lead them straight to your business.
Finally, do your research and work on your optimization, but don’t forget to provide your customers with valuable content — Otherwise, everything else is kind of pointless, right?
** About the Author: Sarah Loise is a key member of the MyMathDone.com community, where she is responsible for managing the website and creating content. In addition to that, she coaches young business men, making use of her deep understanding of commercial mass-produced systems, engineering and legal consulting regarding the marketing domain.