There was a time when people speaking to and getting voice responses from their computers, watches, and phones seemed rather unusual — but not anymore.
As digital assistants become a common feature in smartphones and the many gadgets people use on a daily basis, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that voice is the future of web search.
For brands and businesses, this means that many of your consumers are using spoken search commands when looking for products, services, and information online. So, if you haven’t optimized your website for voice search yet, there’s no time to waste!
Here are six simple but effective strategies to optimize your content strategy for voice search:
1. Focus on Local Searches
A high percentage of search queries are location-based and local in nature. With this in mind, local businesses of any kind should pay more attention to localized search engine optimization.
Something as simple as claiming your Google My Business Listing and adding accurate information about your business (business hours, precise location, phone number, e-mail, and website) can increase your chances of showing up for relevant voice searches. You may also consider creating informative blog content that specifically caters to your local area.
2. Create Scannable Content
The quality of your content is critical to making your website discovered for voice search. Google’s algorithm focuses on search intent over keywords, which means that context and category expertise must be top priorities when developing your content strategy.
Also, try to keep your content as simple and straight to the point as possible. Avoid complicated words and use short sentences when you can. Users, nowadays, tend to skim rather than read through paragraphs. Concise, easy-to-digest content helps ensure that readers glean the information they need in a matter of seconds.
3. Use Conversational Language
People are typically more conversational in tone when performing spoken search queries. They tend to use longer and more specific phrases, or even complete sentences.
When inquiring about the weather in New York, for example, you’re likely going to ask your voice assistant, “What’s the weather in New York today?” If you were using the search bar, you’d simply type “weather New York.”
The way we talk is distinctly different from the way we type. Optimizing content for voice search, therefore, requires marketers to focus on the way people naturally speak and how consumers might ask for content relevant to the products or services you are offering.
4. Target Long-Tail Keywords
Websites used to favor shorter, more competitive keywords to lengthier ones, but the attention has shifted with the growing popularity of digital assistants.
Since people are more inclined to use conversational language when interacting with their voice assistants, it would also make more sense to target common phrases and long-tail keywords when optimizing content for voice search. If possible, create more content that target location-specific keywords to increase your chances of appearing on voice-generated local searches.
5. Write in Q&A Format
Think about how your audiences usually interact with voice search. They usually ask questions, right? People don’t just ramble when speaking to a digital assistant. They raise specific questions (who, what, where, when, why, and how) to get accurate answers.
This being said, one of the best ways to optimize your website for voice search is to create content in the form of questions and answers. As a marketer, you should be able to anticipate any queries your users might have, and then resolve them through your website content. This could be in the form of a dedicated FAQs page or blog posts that answer common questions.
6. Think Mobile-First
We live in a world where people and devices are mobile, so it comes as no surprise that mobile devices are the primary source of voice search traffic. Websites are accessed through a mobile device 60% of the time, which means you’ll need to have your content mobile friendly, if you want it to rank for relevant voice search queries.
Applying the following basic principles of mobile-friendly web design and content writing will help improve the mobile friendliness of your website:
- Use plenty of white space
- Make your paragraphs short.
- Use subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists.
- Optimize your images.
There are also plenty of online tools to test the mobile-friendliness of your website, most of them you can use for free.
Keeping Up with The Times
The world of digital marketing is constantly evolving. As technologies advance, so do consumer habits. As a brand, you need to keep up and move in with newer trends to stay close and connected with your audiences.
Optimizing your website for voice search can be a long and difficult process, but it is necessary for staying relevant and competitive. Anyway, you don’t have to do it alone, you can always hire an SEO agency to help you achieve your website and content optimization goals.
About the Author
Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of SEOPhoenix.net. Shawn started his career in I.T. troubleshooting workstations, servers and networks, then went on to doing SEO as a side project and quickly found success in ranking websites. It was easy for him to grasp not only the algorithms but also the technical side which most SEO strategists miss and neglect because of its complexities. SEO Phoenix then grew based on its own rankings and referrals.