If you have SEO knowledge, at least on a basic level, surely you know the fundamental elements for proper optimization: keyword research, content strategy, domain authority and backlink profile.
Now, we must remember that while technology continues to advance, trends in digital marketing will be constantly changing. Currently, there is a booming trend that is not being properly exploited by SEO: voice searches.
If you haven’t done a voice search before, I’ll explain briefly what it is. With your voice and a virtual assistant (Amazon Alexa, Cortana, Siri or Google Assistant), you can buy products online, set reminders and, of course, perform searches.
According to Comscore forecasts, by 2020, 50% of all online searches will be done through voice searches. Considering this, is your SEO properly optimized for voice searches? If not, here are four practical tips to optimize your SEO for voice search:
1. Think Featured Snippets
Voice queries that can be answered with a featured snippet almost always hit the mark. Google Assistant tries to do this as much as possible, reading most of the fragment aloud to the user.
Now, how can you be the featured snippet for a voice search? How can you ensure that Google will read the content of your site out loud to a user who is doing a voice search? Here are some tips to achieve it:
Get to page one. Only 30% of the featured snippets are extracted from position one, and the remaining 70% from positions two to five. This means that, while you are on page one, the most important thing will be the relevance of your content.
Research one specific query. To become the featured snippet, your content must be optimized to answer specific user questions. Through tools such as SEMrush or Answer The Public you can generate content ideas to answer specific questions from users.
Respond to queries briefly and in digestible format. Your content is more likely to appear in a snippet if it’s presented as a paragraph, list or table. In the case of paragraphs, try not to exceed 50 words and make sure it contains short sentences, along with your targeted keyword. In the case of lists and tables, being easier to follow by visual logic, it is likely that they will also appear in the results. In any case, try to make your content easy to understand.
By combining these three steps, you’ll be on your way to becoming one of Google’s feature snippets, and later, the content of your page will be the best answer to a user question.
2. Optimize Your Content For Voice Search
Typed queries in search engines are usually concise and detailed; an example of a typical typed query would be “Scranton Italian Restaurants.” However, in voice searches, the game changes. As virtual assistants become smarter with each voice search, user queries become more conversational.
So, one person could ask to Siri: “Show me the cheapest Italian restaurants in Scranton.” In response, Siri could say: “Here are the best Italian restaurants near your location.” This almost sounds like a conversation between two people.
Therefore, the content that voice search engines will find must be properly optimized, and it will require the use of long-tail keywords, such as “cheaper Italian restaurants in Scranton.” At this point, it’s essential to use short words and everyday vocabulary.
To optimize your content according to what people are looking for to get to websites like yours, you can also use SEMrush and Answer The Public tools.
3. Perfect Your Mobile-Friendliness
Most voice searches are performed by people who are traveling or who are in unknown places and rely on voice searches to take them to points of interest. That’s why it is essential that your website is compatible with mobile devices.
Make sure your website design is responsive, so it can adapt to any screen. Also, you have to work on your website’s loading speed; it should take three to four seconds to load, and not exceed five seconds. By doing so, you can ensure that mobile users will stay on your website when they select a voice search result.
4. Focus on Local SEO
If your pages are from a local entity, they must be properly optimized for local SEO. As a matter of fact, 22% of voice searches are related to local businesses such as restaurants.
For this optimization, you just have to follow the normal local SEO optimization protocols:
Include geotargeted and “near me” search terms in your meta tags and landing pages.
Create separate location pages for all your brick-and-mortar spots.
Claim your Google My Business page, and keep your information up to date: business hours, address and phone number.
By doing this, when users perform searches such as “show me restaurants near me” they will find themselves face-to-face with your business.
As we move through the next decade, the frequency of voice searches will increase. It will most likely affect SEO, but that doesn’t mean that SEO cannot adapt to this trend. Following the tips presented here, you’ll be able to adapt quickly and be at the top of the results of voice searches with the same efficiency as in the typical typed queries.