Voice search in digital marketing is gaining increased acceptance and more widespread usage every month, and if you’ve ever wondered how to rank in voice search, so you can capitalize on this runaway trend, the information below should give you a good head start. With the arrival of digital assistants like Siri in 2010, Alexa in 2014, and Google Assistant in 2016, the popularity of voice searches and voice search SEO has literally skyrocketed, and that means it’s one aspect of digital marketing that must be included in your overall strategy.
It is estimated that by the year 2020, more than half of all searches conducted online will be voice searches, so there’s no doubt that Google voice search and other personal assistant searches are here to stay. This kind of popularity makes it clear that your business can’t afford to overlook the voice search impact on SEO, and that you should incorporate voice search optimization as part of your overall SEO strategy. So that you don’t get left behind in this all-important area, feel free to make use of the information below as a kind of voice search optimization guide, to help you achieve the many benefits of this technology.
Emphasize featured snippets
If you’ve ever wondered to yourself “How does voice search work?”, here’s the answer. Anytime a voice search query gets handled by Google assistant for instance, it reads a special kind of search result known as a featured snippet. This snippet contains relevant information which provides a summary of a response extracted from a website, as well as a link to that site.
These kinds of featured snippets will be displayed at the top of the page in the form of a list, table, or paragraph. Virtually all featured snippets are sourced from pages which consistently rank in the Top 10 of search results. Featured snippets are one proof that a specific web page can be considered a legitimate authority on a specific topic.
Since they provide a concise and prompt answer to questions posed by consumers, these snippets can be invaluable as a means of increasing traffic. In order to have your website content displayed as a featured snippet, your business should place a high emphasis on creating engaging content which addresses specific questions posed by Internet searchers.
Prioritize local SEO
Many Internet searchers are seeking information about nearby businesses, which means the local audience should be your top priority. Optimizing your site for local SEO will invite a great deal more traffic to your website, and it will also help to improve your ranking when it comes to voice searches. The first step to take in order to optimize your local SEO is to make sure that your Google My Business listing is up-to-date and accurate.
Once you’ve verified this, you should turn your attention to securing as many online reviews from local customers as possible. There are a number of other steps you can take to emphasize your local SEO efforts as well, starting with improving your internal linking structure and navigation, and then adding in location pages. You should also make sure that there’s a good deal of local content on your website which users can relate to, and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that your website is very mobile-friendly. Since the majority of voice searches are now conducted by cellphones, you can’t afford to overlook the importance of having a mobile-friendly website.
Use conversational keywords
It’s important to remember that there’s a difference between true voice searches and typed-in text searches, since voice searches tend to be longer phrases which are more conversational. These longer voice search keywords are referred to as longtail keywords, and these come much closer to normal conversation than do text keywords. This being the case, your keyword strategy should move toward being more conversational in nature, and should approximate the way people really talk when they’re asking questions.
If you think for a minute about the kinds of questions you get when customers call you on the phone, you should have a pretty good idea of the same kinds of questions which might be used as voice searches. If necessary, jot down some of these questions you get on phone calls, and use them to match the keywords in your website content with what users would actually incorporate in their voice searches.
One of the best ways of making use of those longtail keywords which were described in the previous paragraph, is to create FAQ pages which specifically focus on those phrases and keywords. Use natural-sounding phrases and questions rather than some of the same old SEO keyword phrases you’ve been using up to this point. Create as many FAQ pages as you need to cover all of the potential longtail keywords which voice searches might make use of.
You should also expect some very specific kinds of questions from Internet searchers. As opposed to including responses to searches like ‘best local restaurant’, you should be prepared with responses for searches such as ‘best Italian cuisine’ or ‘the best steak in Buffalo, NY’. This may seem like a tedious task, but it’s one that’s well worth doing, because you will be answering questions which Internet searchers are seeking answers to, and that means it will take them directly to your website. It also increases your chances of being showcased in one of Google’s featured snippets.
Structured data markup
In order to give voice search devices additional information about your website and the content on your site, you should use structured data markup. More specific information will be related through structured data markup from schema.org, and that makes it easier for search engines to parse content on your website accurately, and to understand what your site is all about. This exercise is all about applying the correct schemas to your site, to facilitate search engine processing, and hopefully to provide a better ranking for your site as a result.
Google My Business
You definitely need to claim your Google My Business listing if you haven’t already done so, and if you have, you should make sure that all the information contained on it is accurate and current. This provides Google with one of the best ways to learn more about your business, for instance, the type of business you’re in, as well as all the static information like company name and address. With the majority of voice searches being confined to local areas, it’s literally indispensable to have your Google My Business listing fully operational and in use. A well-maintained listing like this will definitely boost your chances of appearing in response to a voice search, especially those conducted on a category of business that you belong to.