Are You Optimizing for Voice Search in Your SEO Strategy?

Implementing useful SEO strategies help make your brand more visible to your target audience online. All elements of your SEO strategy may be effectively working but what if you still want to make it better or catch up with better-performing brands? Herein lies the importance of voice search optimization.

silhouette of a man talking on the phone on the streetTruth is the SEO space keeps on changing and digital marketers need to keep up with these trends to optimize their SEO efforts. SEO strategies that work today may have been incredibly forward-thinking a decade ago and the strategies that work now may be outdated in the decade to come.

One of the most time-relevant strategies marketers can utilize now is to optimize your site with voice search in mind and how different that is from typical text search queries. With voice searches and use of virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Cortana Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri, there are new opportunities in the SEO space going forward to incorporate new phrasing and keyword selections.

So a big question to ask yourself as you making your search engine optimization plans is: how would I voice this question to my assistant? Voice searches are only going to get more popular in the future so the way you conduct your SEO strategies is also sure to change.

You can incorporate voice search optimization in the following ways:

  1. Short and Sweet Answers

Less is more is a principle that applies when using voice search keywords to improve SEO. If you can answer a question with a snippet, you should do so.

hands raised to answer a questionThe question, therefore, is how can your pages be the featured snippets for voice searches? Occupying position 1 on Google search results is ideal but you can also ensure that Google presents your site in response to voice searches by being on page one.

The majority of voice search result snippets on Google are not usually position 1 so as long as you are on page one, you have a high chance of having your page result featured as a snippet. You should focus on relevance in voice search positions and answering direct questions instead of the usual SEO goal of position 1.

Another way you can become the featured snippet on voice search results is to answer specific questions. Most snippets are often responses to general subjects and not specific topics.

You can utilize SEMrush’s topic research tool or the free Answer the Public tool to come up with content ideas and answers to specific user questions.

To have the highest chance of having a snippet result it is best to present your answers as paragraphs, bulleted or numbered lists, or tables. Make them short, preferably 50 words or less for more success.

Using targeted keywords in the content is highly recommended. Also, remember to use a simple and neutral language, if possible, to reach a larger audience.

If you can utilize the three voice search optimization strategies above in unison your search query results stand a higher chance to be a featured snippet on Google’s voice searches.

  1. Content Geared Towards Voice Search Optimization

The nature of your content is the most crucial element to increase your SEO success. Using voice search optimized content is the best way to accomplish this. So what is voice search optimized content?

There is a pretty typical manner in which people search for things on Google. Understanding how people search and tailoring your content to respond to who those queries are phrased will improve the chances of appearing for the highly desired snippet result.

Moreover, virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri, learn and get smarter with every voice search. Tailoring your keyword-driven content to how virtual assistants phrase their queries will also be deemed useful.

Another way to capture the snippet is to use long-form content. Using sentence structures and vocabulary that people would typically use in normal speech should optimize your content since most people don’t restructure how they speak when they search with their voice.

  1. The More Mobile-Friendly The Site, The Better

people holding phones while commutingThe majority of voice searches, especially those involving the phrase ‘near me’, are done on mobile devices. These searches are done by people on the move and people in strange, new places so making your site and content mobile-friendly will go a long way when improving your voice search optimization tactics.

One of the ways you can make your site more mobile-friendly is to make your site’s design responsive rather than adaptive. If your website is responsive, it will change to fit the screen of the mobile device through which it is accessed.

Another way to increase your mobile-friendliness is to increase your site speed on mobile devices. You can do this by using file compression, utilizing web caches, optimizing images for mobile, and minifying your code. The faster a result can load on a mobile device, the more likely your result will show. Google ultimately doesn’t want to show voice query results that don’t load easily on mobile devices.

You should ensure that your site loads in a minimal amount of time. The faster your site loads, the higher the chances are that a user will stay on the site and therefore is deemed a good result in Google’s eyes. If a searcher bounces from your site due to page speed load time, Google will more than likely de-rank your result to prevent the searcher from using a different, more efficient search engine to gather their desired information.

  1. Focus on Local SEO

Most voice searches will often be done by people who are searching for local entities such as stores or restaurants. Optimizing your pages for local SEO will increase the chances of users finding your brand when doing a voice search.

By using protocols for local SEO optimization, like geotargeting and using meta-tags on your site’s pages, you will increase your conversion rate of potential customers. You should also create separate pages if you have a business with separate physical locations to increase your chances for appearing in local results.

‘Google My Business’ pages are an important tool in this regard and you can improve your marketing success by keeping information on the pages relevant and up-to-date.

The more voice searches increase in popularity, the more voice search optimization efforts will be targeted towards them. The future is already here in the palm of your hand and it is in your best interest to be ahead of the pack.