The rise of voice search requires adjustments to your SEO strategy.
Voice search is on the rise and will soon become an integral part of achieving strong SEO results. According to a Google study conducted by Northstar Research, more than half of U.S. teens and 41 percent of U.S. adults use voice search daily. It is predicted to expand even more as we become a world of multitaskers. Users described using voice search as making them more efficient, safer and ready for the future.
The time to begin incorporating voice search preparations into your SEO strategy is now. Here are some tips on how to approach voice search and get started:
1. Consider interrogative words and long tail queries
Success in voice search is understanding that we speak using interrogatives (who, what, where, why, when, how) when we try to obtain information. Targeting these phrases will allow content to appear in front of the right user.
How to get started: Research how users click into your site from search results within Google Search Console. Are you receiving impressions for interrogative phrases? Optimize your existing content to align with interrogatives and long tail queries to begin expanding your SEO strategy for voice search.
2. Write for Quick Answer results
Quick Answer results are based on how we read aloud. Writing content that flows like conversation is very important when preparing for voice search queries. The algorithms determining SEO rankings cast a wider net around search intent than ever before so make sure every page is structured with this consideration in mind to prevent missed opportunities.
How to get started: Are you capturing any Quick Answers relevant to your industry? If not, are you even in the race? Digital marketers use industry-leading tools to offer insight into keywords containing Quick Answers within their results. You might not be far off from achieving the coveted position #0 – where Google Voice search will read your answer out loud to searchers.
3. Provide complete context for cumulative queries
Typing the question, “What’s the best sushi restaurant nearby?” into Google search presents not only page titles targeted toward that search but brief snippets of information about the content of a page in the form of meta descriptions. To get further information, a user either needs to click into the result or create a new query that is more specific.
However, when using voice search to ask Google a question like, “What is a good sushi restaurant nearby?,” the lack of a visual result may require further questions. Voice search creates a unique opportunity to ask contextual questions that can add further information to the answer (“Is there parking at the location?” or “What side of the street is it on?”). This is unlike a traditional “search refinement” and requires a different approach when optimizing.
How to get started: Leverage heading tags (H1, H2, H3, and so on) for new and existing content to provide complete context for Google. Think in terms of cumulative questions like, “Where can I get new tires near here?” Are they open on Sundays?” “Do they sell tires for my truck?” and “Is financing available?” Don’t rule out simple questions as a major traffic driver from voice search.
4. Optimize for local search — it isn’t optional
Google uses a combination of device location information and search queries to provide answers to questions that are location sensitive. Optimizing pages and creating content geared toward this type of long tail traffic is important. It sends strong and consistent local signals that will help you be found by nearby searchers.
How to get started: Every business with a brick and mortar location requires an embedded map, accurate name-address-phone (NAP) information, and an outbound link to a claimed Google Maps listing on their site. This simple implementation will pay dividends outside of just voice search, too.
5. Explore new and unique targeting opportunities
In many cases, voice search is used when it is difficult or impossible to physically type into a search engine. A few examples that have already begun to be discussed and explored include cooking and recipes, physical fitness, and directions or nearby attractions while driving. This is a more complex form of user intent and will require brand new, possibly revolutionary tactics.
How to get started: Check out your website analytics for information about time of day, location, device, affinity category and demographic information. Look outside digital analytics and see what’s happening with your current and past clientele. Create a hypothesis and ask some unusual questions about your business beyond standard keyword research. What queries are people using during different stages to find you when the need is greatest? A little brainstorming in these areas can reveal the hidden avenue voice searchers are taking to align with moments of intent.