Back when Siri was introduced in 2011, most people simply overlooked its potential. Everyone would just ask her silly questions like, “Hey Siri, do you love me?” or “Hey Siri, what’s the meaning of life?”
Fast forward to a few years, and virtual assistants have evolved dramatically, so much so that it is starting to alter the digital marketing landscape.
With the voice search revolution at hand, virtual assistants such as Alexa and Cortana have become vital for businesses and consumers.
Now that assistants are getting more sophisticated with each update, you can expect their efficiency and use to rise in the years to come.For your business to stay ahead of the curb, revamping your marketing strategy and optimizing for voice search is an absolute must.
- Voice Search vs. Traditional Search
- 1. Test your site’s speed
- 2. Optimize your page for mobile
- 3. Focus on Question-Based Keywords
- 4. Create content that answers your customers’ questions
- 5. Write content in a conversational tone
- 6. Target Long-tail keywords
- 7. Build domain authority through link building
- 8. Optimize for Featured Snippets
- 9. Make use of Google’s My Business Listings
- 10. Improve your online reputation
- Win Big with Voice Search
Voice Search vs. Traditional Search
By this year 2020, experts have stated that 50% of search inquiries would be done through voice.
But you may be thinking, how exactly does it differ from traditional search? Won’t the results you get stay the same regardless of what search method you prefer?
To put things simply, voice search changes the way we gather information. Voice search makes use of natural language—voicing out your queries is a lot quicker and easier as compared to typing.
Instead of taking out your phone to make a vague inquiry, asking your virtual assistant with the clarity and conciseness of natural language provides convenience and guarantees better results.Since voice will influence the effectiveness of certain search engine optimization (SEO) practices, you’ll need to take matters into your own hands and make the necessary tweaks.
To get you started on the right track, the guide below will discuss ten awesome SEO strategies that will allow you to make the most out of voice search.
How to Optimize for Voice Search
1. Test your site’s speed
Around 47% of consumers expect your page to load in two seconds or less. Now that people are living a fast-paced digital lifestyle, it’s expected for them to want quick and easy answers. Loading time and bounce rate are directly correlated, so if your site takes longer to load, your visitors won’t hesitate to look for solutions elsewhere.
Don’t miss out on any more conversion opportunities. Since you visit your site frequently, you may have overlooked certain aspects of its performance.
You should keep in mind what’s fast for you may be slow for other people, so don’t forget to test your site’s speed regularly.
Simple adjustments, such as compressing your files (CSS, JS, images) and using lazy loading for images, can make a huge difference to its performance.
2. Optimize your page for mobile
Laptops may have virtual assistants built within them, but it’s the mobile users who mostly do voice searches. Your visitors may be accessing your page through different devices, but it’s important to note that mobile bounce rates are 10–20% higher than in desktop.
Having a user-friendly interface and using responsive design will give your visitors a pleasant time navigating through your business page. Other than optimizing for mobile, you should make sure that your site works well across all web browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
More on how to optimize your website for mobile
3. Focus on Question-Based Keywords
People talk to their voice assistants the same way they do with another person.
Most, if not all, of voice search inquiries, start with question-based phrases such as “Why should I ___?”, “Where can I __?”, or “How do I ___?” Analyzing these phrases can help you understand your customers better since these inquiries are direct reflections of their intent.
Gathering insight on the common questions your audience asks won’t just be useful in boosting your online presence, but it can make a big difference to your content marketing strategy, as well.
4. Create content that answers your customers’ questions
SEO and content marketing go hand-in-hand. Following the previous point, you must produce blogs and resource articles that give valuable insights to your audience. With this in mind, you’ll need to create content that’s suited for different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and predict the roadblocks they’re likely to face.
Do they want to learn more about a particular feature of your product? Maybe they’re already comparing your services with another business?
Having your content aligned with various stages of the purchasing journey would increase the chances of conversion.
Other than giving your customers valuable insights into your products and services, it also plays a big part in strengthening brand awareness. Creating a resource, glossary or FAQs page is an excellent way to provide your visitors with quick, easy, and detailed answers.
5. Write content in a conversational tone
Writing in an orderly manner is essential, but if your writing style is too straightforward, your chances of appearing in a voice search inquiry will be much less. Since voice search users inquire in a conversational tone, your blog must be written in the same manner, as well.
Taking a personal approach to your readers will allow them to digest your content with ease. Unlike in research papers, textbooks, or manuals that use complex industry jargon, toning down and making it sound more human makes it more valuable and engaging.
Asking questions, opting for simple sentences, and using an active voice are some simple ways you can produce conversational blogs.
Looking for more tips on how you can improve your writing style? Take a look at this guide on how to write in a conversational tone.
6. Target Long-tail keywords
Since voice inquiries are conversational, they’re significantly longer than keyboard searches. Targeting long-tail keywords is a good practice for both traditional and voice searches since its generally less competitive.
With the right approach, you can gain opportunities to boost your site’s rank in the search engine’s results pages (SERPs).
Source: Neil Patel
You should also consider creating longer forms of content. Lengthy resource articles give you a better chance to rank since you have the opportunity to incorporate long-tail keywords into your content naturally. At the same time, detailed blogs provide a ton of value and help your readers gain the insight they need.
More on how to optimize for long-tail keywords
Sites with lots of links appear more often in voice searches. Similar to how students cite references on their research papers, having several good quality backlinks is the easiest way for Google to see you as a credible source.
Google is programmed to give searchers the best result possible, so if other sites regularly link your content, Google will also consider that the information your providing is well-researched and valid.
Other than creating content for links, you should also consider guest posting.
According to research, 60% of blog owners write around 1–5 guest posts per month, and this ultimately reflects how effective this method is. Since it’s a practice that benefits both parties involved, the chances of your pitch being accepted are relatively high.
8. Optimize for Featured Snippets
Consumers don’t necessarily have to skim to the bottom of a page to get the data they need. Ever since Google introduced the featured snippet, they can have their answers the moment they land on the SERPs.
Around 40.7% of voice search users get their answers from the featured snippet. Optimizing for it is an absolute must since it can make a huge difference in how your page performs in both traditional and voice inquiries. Making sure that your content is well structured, using the supporting images, and answers the questions of users are some ways you can boost your rankings.
Google has also developed a video featured snippet. Instead of linking to your blog or a whole video on YouTube, Google only shows you the relevant clips. Most people would rather watch a video than read an article, so you can take advantage of this fact by investing in video marketing.
9. Make use of Google’s My Business Listings
“Near me” searches have grown by 150% over the past few years. This kind of inquiry already expresses a consumer’s intent to purchase, so you’ll need to take advantage of this opportunity.
One simple way you can boost your conversion rate is to make sure that your Google My Business Page is up to date with all the necessary details.
Source: Tillison Consulting
Similar to the featured snippet, it can let searchers know everything they need the moment they land on the results page. Having the reviews, location, and contact details of your business pop up immediately will remove barriers that may prevent them from closing a deal. Making sure that all the details are correct and updated also give searches a good impression of your business.
10. Improve your online reputation
Maintaining your market image is incredibly vital for any modern-day business. Whenever a consumer is in the middle of choosing which company to transact with, he or she will most probably ask a friend or two for some suggestions. This is done to gain an idea of how it is to partner with this particular brand, and this is why word-of-mouth marketing is still a powerful tool.
Other than taking note of the recommendations of their peers, most consumers make it a point to read online reviews. Since online review platforms allow clients to share their experiences with a brand, new prospects can inform themselves if partnering with a brand is the right thing to do or not.
Your business page may rank high on the SERPs, but this won’t matter if people don’t see you in a positive light. Improving the reviews you get on your Google My Business listings and other relevant platforms will allow you to make the most out of your SEO efforts and pave the way for more conversion opportunities.
Customers are likely to spend 31% more if a business has earned a positive reputation in the market, so make sure to be responsive, consistent, and approachable when providing service.
Win Big with Voice Search
Stay one step ahead of the competition. It’s no secret that voice search has transformed the way businesses and customers interact with each other. Regardless of what size or industry your business is operating in, optimizing for voice search will improve your marketing ROI and your company’s bottom line.
It’s important to note that the SEO landscape is an ever-evolving field. The practices mentioned above are proven to be effective, but you’ll need to stay updated since a change as significant as the Hummingbird update may arrive in the not-so-distant future.
Developing the habit of informing yourself with the latest trends in the industry will allow you to remain relevant in 2020 and beyond.