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Voice search has become a new element of the SEO strategy in recent years. While the format is still relatively new, the number of people using voice search grows each year, especially with the popularity of smart speakers and smart home devices becoming more widespread.
Any top SEO service company has realized the value in optimizing your website’s content around voice search. This is particularly valuable for local companies. As search inquires using voice search often tend to be geared towards local results.
Understanding how to improve your voice search results will be a critical factor in building a successful online. In this guide, we will examine a good strategy in approaching web design for voice search.
The Basics of Voice Search:
In many ways, using voice search or typing out your search phrase is not that different. For most cases, the same software and process are used to return results. Don’t be surprised if you end getting identical results between the two methods.
The critical difference is the way the searches are formatted. The wording of a voice search is often phrased to sounds much more natural and intuitive to the conversation. Google implemented a semantic-based strategy into its voice search results. Usually, when asking a generic phrase such as “What is his birthday” the “his” will be interpreted by Google to be whoever you may be asked about before. Essentially, Google takes into context what you’ve been speaking about to optimize your voice search results.
This more natural way of searching through speech leads us to the first important strategy.
Focus on Natural Wording:
With written searches, the typed phrase can be fragmented and mostly keywords that infer the user’s intention. In your content, including the right keywords is often enough to get listed in top search results (among many other factors). But with voice searches, the phrasing is much more critical.
Your content needs to contain a more conversational tone. Imagine what question a person would ask you about your content. Then implement that specific wording. The focus here is addressing the user’s search questions more directly. Rather than only trying to pick up on what keywords they may use.
Using Long-tail Keywords:
The increase in the use of voice search has created the need for a new format of keywords. Referred to as “long-tail” keywords, these are more like key phrases. The idea being you target a specific phrasing a user is likely to say during a voice search.
Since these voice searches tend to be much more specific in their wording, you’ll have to be more specific in your targeted keywords.
A long-tail keyword strategy works great for attracting local audiences. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the kind of phrases related to your content. Being too general won’t do you any good ranking better for voice searches.
Use Google My Business:
Have a verified My Business profile will help stay on top of local search results. It also does a lot to improve your website ranking with voice searches.
As we have already said, this is because voice search phrases are often asking about local information. Having your address, hours, and other business profile information readily available makes it easy to voice search. It will also come into play when a user asks for “near me” results.
Keep your profile up to date, and verify your information across multiple sources. The more local authorities you are listed in, the better chance you will be recommended by Google.
Keep Answers and Information Simple:
Google has emphasized content that can return short and quick answers to any person using voice search. This makes sense because of how targeted a voice search is. The user often asks a specific question and looks for a particular answer rather than general knowledge about a broad subject.
Try to keep the number of words targeting that phrasing of the voice search shorter if you can provide the answer in less than 40 words; excellent. You have a good chance of getting your answer recommended as a top result. You are giving you a better chance of having users visit your website in the process.
Use FAQs Strategically:
An FAQ is one of the best ways to provide explicit content that answers the user’s voice search. It is a straightforward way to naturally phrase content in a way that is more naturally spoken. You’ll be able to hit any keywords by predicting the exact questions the user wants to ask. Then the answer will be right there as well.
This format makes it easy for search engines to display a quick snapshot of your content. Google loves to provide content that is readily displayed on the front of the search page. So, use FAQs to break up your content into strategic bits that you can aim directly towards the audience’s questions.
However, the strategy only works if the content is well-formatted. This includes the visual appearance of the information as well as the readability. It needs to appear visually clean to provide easy snippets in results. Also, if the sentence structure is too complex, the content won’t rank as high. Wording short is as concise as possible. The answer should be clear without any heavy language getting in the way.
Finally, to fully optimize your FAQ, use backlinks. Having backlinks listed directly in the question or answer can boost SEO. It is a common trick used for content in general, but most voice search results have a backlink with anchor key phrases. The same strategy can be used for image backlinks as well.
Don’t Overlook Schema:
Metadata is an advanced strategy for creating good SEO results. It requires you to change the Schema, or markup language, on the inner side of the web design process. The goal is to provide more information for search engines to pick up on.
Providing better metadata is important because it allows you to be more specific about what is in your content. This is important in voice search because the search phrases will be targeting more detailed content and answers. Schema markups result in giving Google more context about what you have to offer, which in turn makes it easier for Google to determine whether to recommend your content or not. The result should help you rank higher overall.
Use Ad Campaigns for Local Searches
Advertising can be a powerful tool to increase the discovery of your website. For voice search, you can optimize your ad campaigns even further. This requires you to target “near me” voice searches.
You can access a variety of location tools and extensions for your ad services. Enabling them will let you display information about your business directly with the ad content. This includes things like the address, contact information, or hours your business operates. Each one is important for local search results. It is very common for users to ask voice search this kind of data.
Google also offers local ads on its Maps platform. If used correctly, you can get your voice search results to display at the top of any search results. Of course, the user is notified that the result is a promotional listing. If you have the right content, it doesn’t matter, though. Taking advantage of targeting local ads for voice search can be hugely rewarding.
Basic SEO Factors Are Important:
Many of the same factors that go into traditional search results matter with voice searches as well. Optimized websites with fast load times rank better. Even if you implement the other strategies on this list, it won’t matter if your website runs slow.
Use plugins to make sure all the images and files on your website are compressed to the optimal size. Don’t overload your content with too many video files, even though video and graphic media are helpful for better SEO.
Most voice searches are done through mobile platforms. It should go without saying, but all your websites should be mobile responsive. Take the time to format everything as clearly as possible. If you want better voice search rankings, then build a mobile adaptive website. This means menu navigation, scrolling, and the content will automatically adjust to the user’s mobile platform. Google has been ranking mobile-friendly sites much higher for a long time now. If you haven’t taken the time to upgrade your mobile experience, do so now. It will significantly help boost voice search results for your website.
The rise of innovative home technology and intelligent speaker devices seems to be the future. You can expect that without a doubt, this technology will only accelerate the process of voice searches becoming the norm. Eventually, we may even see voice searches completely replace typed searching altogether. We don’t expect that to happen for some time, though.
Since voice searches are already important, it is best to implement these techniques into your SEO strategy today. The payoff in the future will be big, especially if you operate a local business website. In that case, catering to voice searches is not optional. The most competitive websites will be doing everything they can to dominate the voice search results.
Now that you have a better idea of what voice searches are and how they function, you are ready to boost your rank. Just remember that the most critical key is keeping content conversational. Voice searches are almost always spoken like dialogue. If you use single keywords without considering how a person talks, you won’t be able to rank at all! In this case, it is better to think as a human would rather than a machine.