Voice search is the new big thing in marketing. Voice SEO is the process of ensuring a website’s content shows up in searches made through voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. These searches make up around 30% of total search engine queries, and as the technology becomes more popular, these numbers are sure to spike in the future.
There is a bit of a debate among marketers as to what voice SEO should look like, or whether it’s even necessary. Voice assistants convert speech to text to conduct a query, making them not that different from queries that are done through mobile devices or desktops.
However, it’s all in how the user forms the query, and the key differences people have in how they talk, versus how they write. There are some nuances here that voice SEO plans to address to optimise for voice search.
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Why Voice SEO Is Important
Voice search is not just a fad, it’s here to stay. While in the beginning, users may have turned to these voice assistants as means of quick fun and entertainment, AI assistants are moving from smartphones and into more facets of one’s daily lives.
Google Nest (previously known as Google Home) speakers allow people to control everything from the thermostat to the lights, meaning people rely on these assistants a lot more than just for voice searches. As the technology evolves, these assistants won’t just be able to recognize voice and convert it to text, but there will be voice understanding that enables the assistance to conduct better voice search queries, help with online shopping, manage daily schedules, and optimise a person’s life even.
For businesses, this means it’s high time to start focusing on building a strategy that focuses on voice SEO to ensure your page, links, and content are included in voice search results.
Why Do You Need Voice SEO?
People speak very differently from the way they write, especially in terms of how they type into search engines.
When you type, you’re much more likely to adopt a different style of writing that feels more efficient in terms of time. For example, most people will use a string of search terms instead of actual sentences when they look for things on search engines.
A query regarding the weather in Sydney will look something like “Sydney weather” or “current weather Sydney.” But when you talk to a person, you usually say “What’s the weather like in Sydney right now?”
When it comes to communicating with voice assistants, people are far more likely to use natural language when wanting to look for information to ensure the assistants understand them and are able to deliver relevant results.
This is all possible through Artificial Intelligence, which is getting better and better at understanding natural language and communicating with users almost seamlessly. More often than not, these AIs can participate in human-like conversations and respond to user requests with more and more accuracy. The better they become at it, the more users will turn to them.
It’s this growing popularity that makes it important for businesses to optimise for voice search. Even if the numbers stay at 30% for a while, that’s still 30% of search queries you may be missing out simply because your content is not equipped to let a voice Assistant deliver it to the end-user.
What Does a Voice SEO Strategy Look Like?
An SEO strategy designed for voice searchers doesn’t really look that different from a business’ regular search engine optimisation effort. The key change is in the approach. Here are some best practices to ensure your pages rank well in voice searches:
Researching User Behaviour
For successful voice SEO to take effect, you need to start at understanding how your target audience uses voice search, and even for what purposes.
Usually, voice searches have a navigational or informational purpose. A person asks their voice assistance to look up information about a topic or to access a specific webpage they are interested in. However, as technology improves, voice searches may go beyond these simple tasks.
For example, users may be able to also order their favourite products through an AI assistant. You can already add credit card information to Google, so placing an order through an assistant can be easily done without actually having to go on a page and hitting “add to cart.” This may be especially useful in the event of reorders, where the users want to buy more of the product they’ve already purchased.
Additionally, you should also look into the mobile devices your customers are using. Android phones mean voice searches will take place on Google, but what if your audience prefers iPhones? Apple’s Siri uses Bing as the primary search engine, and while much of Bing’s SEO expectations are the same, you should still look into the key differences that can help you optimise your content on Bing as well.
Include Long-Tail Keywords
Searches through desktops and mobile devices will likely never go away, so the need for short-tail keywords is still prevalent. However, even in written queries, businesses often experience more success when they also adopt valuable long-tail keywords that are able to match user intent.
User intent refers to matching the reason behind the search query. For instance, “best dog food 2020” can mean the user is just looking for information on the best brands of dog food, while “buy dog food online” shows a different intent entirely. If you just use the keyword “dog food,” search engines may have a difficult time matching intent.
And for voice search, long-tail keywords are more important than ever, because it can match the way a user will say their query to an assistant.
Improve Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business listings are essential for local SEO. When users look for “near me” type of businesses, they are met with these listings which can provide all the information they need right on the search result page.
You may be wondering why this is good since that means your website doesn’t get extra search traffic. Well, for local businesses, these listings can actually help them achieve their goals faster, which may be in-store visits, phone calls, bookings, and more.
A business listing makes it easier for voice assistants to perform these tasks as well. A person can ask their assistants for the best restaurants near them, and the AI can read their descriptions, address, and even start a phone call to make a reservation. This increases your odds of converting users by simply making your content available for local searches done through voice commands.
Use Schema Metadata
Schema is a markup language that allows websites to provide search engines with extra information about the content on their site, similar to metadata. But if metadata is more information about content, schema metadata is more information about your data.
Through schema, you can essentially describe your data to search engines, which makes it a lot easier for them to understand it and boost its visibility. But for voice search purposes, schema metadata also increases your chances of being added to a featured snippet.
Featured snippets are the boxes that appear on top of the search result pages, with information that explicitly answers the user query. There are several types available:
- Paragraph snippets
- Numbered lists
- Bulleted lists
- Table snippets
- YouTube snippets
Which one appears depends on the search query and the way the content is organised, but in any case, featured snippets are essential for voice SEO.
Again, a featured snippet means the user gets the information right on the result page, which means they may not click on your link, making you lose out on traffic. So why are they so great?
In voice search, the assistants will read that information out loud, and the source (your website). This can help boost brand visibility, but could also result in the user visiting your page if they want to read more. Featured snippets only provide a shortened version of the content you have on your page. Some users may find them sufficient, but not every time, so they may still bring traffic to your site.
Build FAQ-Oriented Pages
People begin a voice search query like a question, so they will use the words:
- And how
More often than not, they are looking for immediate information. If a person asks their voice assistant how tall Henry Cavill is, chances are they are not looking to read the actor’s entire biography.
Of course, every business has a set of common questions their customers routinely have, which is why it’s not uncommon to see a FAQ page on most websites. But for voice search, these pages are important, especially if you create content that can address these questions head-on in a conversational manner.
Why a conversational manner? Because it helps the user understand the information when it’s being read out loud by the voice assistant. Online content is already very different from written texts you’d see in a book. It’s a lot more direct and informal, but for voice search, you should ensure your content can flow like a real-life conversation as well.
Need Help with Voice Search Optimisation?
The job of an SEO is neverending. As search engines are hard at work improving their services to deliver better results to users, businesses have to stay on top of the trends and ensure their websites meet expectations. And voice search is just another new expectation that you need to focus on.
Australian Internet Advertising is here to help Sydney business owners leverage the full potential of voice searches, and increase their revenue through a good SEO strategy designed specifically for your business. Get in touch with us online to find out more, or call our office at 1300 304 640.