Nowadays we see the introduction of technical innovations more often than usual. With the enormous jump in mobile device usage, it is normal that new methods of user input should arise. It is predicted that voice search will be the next big thing after the touchscreen keyboard.
Even now, when we walk on the streets of Sydney, we see people commanding their phones to do stuff. Web traffic is going to be carried via voice interaction more and more. It is imminent – this is the future of SEO and that’s why we want to share some advice on how to optimize your website for better voice search visibility.
1. Structured data markup
As we know markup data is vital for good Search Engine Optimization. We need to use the appropriate tags and Google will reward us with better ranking. The same idea applies to voice searches as well. Whether a person writes or talks the essence of things he is looking for is the same.
Simply said, just label everything that you want to be noticed with the appropriate labels. For example, if your blog post is a review, label it as a review. Label your products at least with the product group they belong to. Include microdata, XML sitemaps, and locations. That way Google’s crawlers will understand your input as rich answers, which will improve your rating.
A good option is to use Schema Metadata as it will help you to keep your metadata structured and easy for crawling and indexing. With Schema vocabulary you will be able to describe what your website is about in a more comprehensive for Google way. Using Schema is not that popular among marketers but is surely the future of SEO as the competition is getting severe day-by-day and in order to stay on top, you need to adopt every good practice.
2. Google’s Answer Box
It is a well-known fact that Google is the most popular search engine worldwide as its market share for the previous year is 86.80%. Having a good search rating on Google has huge benefits and definitely is improving your brand’s visibility. Being featured in an answer box is the crème of Google’s services when it comes to web popularity.
Have you ever searched for something in Google and got the needed information on top of all search results in a box just below the search bar. Most of the times you don’t even need to enter a website because you already have the correct answer. This field is called Google’s Answer Box and might bring both huge benefits or it can work against your website.
If you happen to be featured in Google’s Answer Box be sure to induce a few more clicks into your website by using the appropriate wording in the beginning. The Answer Box might work against you if the featured in its website has the same answer as your side. That way no user will go to your page when its listed below if the right answer is right there, on top.
3. Long Keyword Phrases
Since the modern day man is too busy and doesn’t have time to waste for writing, most of the searches in Google were made by short simple words that just catch the essence of the item or topic that is sought. Until now SEO keywords were all about short expressions that describe the topic the most closely. This concept is going to change entirely with the introduction of voice search.
When the search is handled through voice interaction adding a few more words to your query will not be such a burden, but will make your search more accurate. This means that business owners and marketers should reconsider their SEO strategy and include the long-tail keyword as well.
In that sense, if optimized wisely, adding a few more words will narrow down customer searches to the exact brand or even product. By optimized wisely we mean to select keyword phrases that would hopefully match the questions that are going to be asked. If you’re still discussing you 2023 marketing strategy don’t be afraid to add long keyword phrases as eventually, they will bring new customers to your business!
4. Optimize for local listings
When working with SEO it is always a good idea to improve your local SEO first and then move on to a bigger objective. By local we don’t mean a whole country, we mean a specific city like Sydney let’s say. That much specificity is needed because a huge amount of voice interactions are searches for directions to local businesses. Fixing everything else besides your local SEO will be a mistake, as it is imperative that you make it up in the regional SERPs.
Certain difficulties might come from the fact that people are using various devices. Regional results will come mainly from Apple Maps and Google Maps, but you need to be sure that your business data is updated on all your listings.
Something important we should mention is the “near me” function, as these queries need to be addressed as well. The “near me” search induces an app to find a certain type of places based on the GPS location of the user. In order to catch traffic from this feature, it is imperative to optimize your Google My Business listing and choose the business categories that will drive customers. Keep in mind that the more specific, the better.
5. Pay attention to your mobile site
Over the last year, we can’t stop to emphasize the importance of optimizing every site for mobile devices. If we have to summarize the future of SEO in one word – it will be definitely mobility. The expansion of voice search is walking hand to hand with the growth of mobile device usage, so soon building a responsive website will not be enough to achieve full mobile optimization. Your website must be 100% mobile-friendly and after that, you can start its voice optimization.
It is more than clear that voice interactions are made primarily on mobile. In this line of thought, SEO specialists need to ensure that the mobile version of a website focuses on both the user experience that your audience is expecting and the content, of course. It is important to check if your pages load fast enough via AMP. If your website is loading slowly you will lose prospect customers, as a delay of 4 seconds in speed is enough to bounce off a lot of users.
A good advice is to run your website through Google’s mobile site checker. That way you will find out where your website stands among the competition and what does it lack.
6. Understand how voice search works
This advice applies for every new technology that gets popular and has to be used. Before you start to apply it in your activities – understand how it actually works. In order to use its strengths a deep grasp of the matter is needed. Otherwise, you might just waste your time with wrong actions.
The same rule will apply to voice search SEO. You cannot do a good job if you don’t understand what is needed for proper results.
First and most important, one needs to understand how the current voice search apps work. Some of the most popular apps that use voice search are Alexa, Cortana, Google Voice Search, Siri etc. Unfortunately, they use a result approach that is somewhat different. For instance, when giving results Google places a premium on answer boxes. Alexa, in opposition, provides location results that are based on postcodes and ZIP. Apple’s Siri uses natural language to answer voice questions of any kind.
Fortunately, you can find user guides on the most popular voice search apps over the internet. That way you can easily add some specifics in your voice search SEO optimization for every popular voice application.
7. Conversational Intent and Natural Language
As we said many times, modern web development and SEO is all about personalization. It has even evolved into a special marketing technique called people-based marketing. With the invasion of social media and other web services, Google learns more and more about us and this opened the door for this personalized marketing.
As voice search is growing in popularity business owners and SEO marketers need to break a leg and act more informal. After all, oral speech is primarily informal and nobody will try to sound fancy when searching for the closest restaurant or pharmacy. When optimizing for voice search you need to build your keywords with a conversational intent and aim at the natural language that we use in our everyday life.
A good approach is to pretend you are shopping online. Write down the questions that you ask yourself. Even make a small survey with your friends and after some modifications leaning toward your business – viola! You have your voice search keywords. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to exclude the keywords made for ‘written’ inquiries – you just need to be prepared with both set of keyword phrases.
8. Use Question Phrases
Even if you read about voice search for the first time, you’ve probably made the assumption that most of the voice interactions will be in the form of a question. After all, what we type on our PC is way different than the way how we say it in our head. Statistics showed that 61% of people who are using voice search ask questions to find the needed information.
So, thinking about the huge amount of questions we use in our speech, we need to use some common sense to determine what the best way to ask a certain question is. It is a good start to ask yourself, how you will compose your inquiry and simply think how a question is organized. Usually, a question starts with an adverb like how, when, where, why, who etc. Use that! Most of the voice searches will start with an adverb, like for example “Where is the closest bar?” or “Who is the main actor in Titanic? “
Think simple, see your own behavior, add a sense of logic and you will get to the most common questions that should eventually lead to your business.
9. Add Pages that Answers FAQ’s
While we are on the question topic we need to mention another related action that will improve your SEO towards voice search. You should definitely update your FAQ page if you want to catch as much traffic as possible. Improve your Frequently Asked Questions page with the usual concerns in your business field. If needed make a small survey and find out the topics that worry and interest your customers. This page is always appreciated by the user!
These topics have to be directed as an answer to a quick need. Start each question with a verb modifier. For the purpose of voice search, you need to be sure that they answer all questions starting with what, who, when, why, where and how. Try to answer the questions more broadly so that you provoke voice search with useful keywords. After all, this is what we are fighting for!
10. Testing and Tweaking
If you ever worked with SEO you know that optimizing a website is an ongoing process. Even the best specialist in the field does not stop after the first actions taken, no matter how accurate they are. The future of SEO in terms of voice search will continue this line of work. You will need to analyze the initial data, the customer behavior and then conduct further actions.
The scenario that you need to pursue is not that difficult and follows a certain logic. After you optimize your website according to our voice search advice and after you, you’ve selected and applied the new long keywords some time will be needed for you and your team to determine which keywords are bringing the most traffic. After this data is analyzed you need to create more phrases based on the outcome.
Let’s say that the phrases “I am searching for formal dresses” and “I am searching for cocktail dresses” are driving a lot of web traffic. According to this outcome, why not try including the long keyword “I am searching for red formal dresses”? Most probably it will be worth it! Use some common sense in your optimization activities and you will be ahead of the competition.
If you are working in the SEO sector, you know that one needs to be able to adapt to new trends and technologies fast. We need to be able to see a couple of steps ahead, into the future and it looks that the future of SEO is hidden in voice search. In order to stay competitive, business owners in Australia need to optimize their websites for better voice search visibility.
We decided to help you and gathered a list of good practices for voice search optimization . Follow them and you will be prepared for voice interactions with your users. You will gather more traffic and win new customers for sure!
Vaibhav Pandya is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Senior Contributing Editor at IndyLogix - Digital Marketing Agency, where he has spent 9+ years growing the organization and establishing it as a credible market leader. An operational executive by day and an avid writer by night, he loves to read, write, and speak about Digital Marketing, SEO, NFT, Blockchain, AI, Web 3.0, and more. Catch up with him at @pandyavaibh
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