When Siri first entered the market everyone was baffled by the entire concept of people talking to their phones and actually getting a response. Today it’s all we can think about and do, we let virtual assistants do everything for us. From setting alarms, a reminder to asking it to play our favorite song, it simply makes our life easier. We knew it would revolutionize the future of the digital world, but we didn’t know it would play such a vital part in search engine optimization as well.
Would you rather type or speak? Well, the best conversation happens when we speak and that’s the concept that I feel has made voice search a big deal today. As they say, once you’re talking to Alexa, there’s no going back. Smart speakers are finding their way into every household and this puts a lot of pressure on SEO to adapt to this new trend.
Voice searches are growing by the day, people want faster results, and asking is faster than typing. No wonder people prefer virtual assistants over keyboards in addition to it being convenient. I’d rather say “What’s the time in Toronto right now?” than type it on Google. Websites have now realized the importance of voice search and are looking for ways to optimize their content to meet the user’s needs.
Google Voice Search
Google Voice Search, a microphone icon on the right side of the bar, permits users to search online using Google through spoken voice commands instead of typing. Google Voice Search can be used on both desktop and mobile searches. Users use commands such as “Ok Google” to activate the voice search and then ask their query for a hands-free experience or simply click on the microphone icon. Voice searches show different results compared to a typed search, the question becomes more conversational and gives it a more human touch.
Voice commands change how people search online. Firstly it makes the search longer and secondly it makes it more like a dialogue exchange. Users don’t use technical language like talking which makes the questions longer and thus needs better search engine optimization.
The Hummingbird Update
Years ago, Google introduced a huge update to its algorithm called the Hummingbird update. This update changed the world of search engine optimization for the better. What it does is, it uses phrases along with individual keywords to give higher, in-depth, and accurate search results. It focuses more on the context and intent of the query.
Now that you know what a Google Voice Search is here are a few ways how you can optimize your website for voice search.
SEO Strategies and Keyword Research
Research shows that “near me” queries have risen in the past couple of years. Imagine running late for a meeting and you’ve forgotten to book a table at a well-known restaurant that you cannot get into without a reservation. While you get dressed and are ready to head out of the door, you would naturally ask “Which is a great restaurant near me without a reservation policy.” Wow! That was a long and specific question. From a restaurant owner’s perspective, you would rather have this information on your website than lose on a customer. How do you do that?
When trying to optimize your content for voice search, you will have to try and understand how users speak about your brand or service. Based on that information, you will have to do a thorough keyword search and implement long-tail keywords into your content for you to rank on the top search engine result page. By using Keyword Tool you will find a cluster of words that you will then have to naturally utilize while creating your content. Remember to use keywords that are as natural and conversational as possible. This is how you can get a big boost in the search results.
Longer the better
Well, yes. Long-tail keywords will only help you further boost your ranking on the search engine. For example: “Vegan dishes are now available” this 5+ phrase, if a part of your content will pop up if someone searches for a restaurant serving vegan dishes and Google, will definitely use this as a voice search result if it’s a part of your content. Of course, one shouldn’t go overboard and fill an entire page with long-tail keywords, instead of powder it in a few places while creating your content.
FAQs all the way
People have questions and they want answers. Research conducted recently showed that when a user asks a question on Google, the result mostly consists of 29 words. So keep in mind that when writing a blog it has at least 30 words that can be used as an answer by Google. But who writes a 30-word blog? Here is where FAQs come to the rescue. Every website today must have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. As question keywords are skyrocketing it’s the best way to optimize your content for voice search results and make it a part of your voice search marketing strategy. If a user asks a question “Which is the fastest way to get to Sahar Plaza?” Google will definitely use the answer acquired from a FAQ page.
Features snippets are highly used for search engine optimization purposes. When asked a simple question on Google for example using Google Home, it will give you only one answer which is why you must include this in your content strategy. If you don’t rank in Features Snippets, you are practically invisible online. As an additional SERP feature, it appears on the top of your result page, giving that particular website greater visibility, and knowing our fast-paced generation, they will certainly click on the link without thinking twice. Make sure that your snippet has relevant information with an optimal word count and written in a natural way for better understanding.
Schema tags are the semantic vocabulary of tags that can be added to your HTML. It helps improve how search engines read your page in SERPs. If you’re a local restaurant planning on organizing a fun week celebrating different events on each day, by including schema tags, when someone looks for these events online, your website will feature showcasing this information as a snippet below your website’s link. How would Google know what you’re content really means rather than what it states? With schema markup tags it will know what your content means and how to use it when a query is raised. No, you don’t need to learn to code, you simply need to use schema vocabulary in the same HTML pages as markups and there! You got yourself a very interactive and attentive snippet that users will certainly appreciate.
Google My Business
Have you googled my business? Businesses today, especially since the start of the pandemic need to have an online presence for their customers to know that they are still functional and practically alive. Google My Business helps owners manage their online presence and get noticed in their locality. It helps you update your working hours, post pictures of your business, and reply to reviews shared by your existing or potential customers. Replying to these reviews helps highly with search engine optimization. Three things to always keep in mind when handling an account as such are Relevance – knowing that your business fits the customer’s search criteria with proper information. Proximity – The only way you can appear in local searches is by including your location. You can create content that resonates with the locality of your business which will pop up every time someone searches for something, your business does in the same area. Prominence – The more your listing is filled with reviews and information, the better its prominence. Keeping your account updated with pictures and reviews of local happenings.
We as users cannot do anything without our phones anymore. This calls for more mobile-friendly webpage designs. You can always test your website’s Google guidelines by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. If I haven’t said this enough it’s a fast world with users becoming more and more impatient every day. Your webpage needs to load faster with users having a shorter attention span. You can check your website’s load speed on PageSpeed Insights. Now that the design and speed are fixed, let’s get to the content. The way your content appears on the mobile-friendly website is very important if you want the reader to actually read it all. Headings are the way to go to give a clear idea about your content and grab your reader’s attention.
What lies ahead in the universe of Voice Search is truly unknown and ever-changing for the better. However, to keep up with the market’s demanding needs it is always a good idea to jump onto the trending horse for better ranking and to boost their SEO. Continue to update your strategy with new additions, because living under a rock never did anyone any good. Lastly, Voice Search Optimization will give your content a human edge that will only profit you in every way possible.