Electronic devices that perform tasks with simple voice commands used to be called figments of a wild imagination that belonged to the “Space Age.” Now, voice-search enabled technology (aptly named “digital assistants”) have been introduced to the market as regular household items. Isn’t that amazing?
According to Google, more than 50% of online search inquiries are done using mobile devices. From that percentage, 20% are done via voice-command searches! The demographics included in this are mostly teenagers and adults. 55% of teenage users and 41% of adult users use voice search at least once per day—which is understandable because they tend to have busier lives with school, work, and other tasks.
Voice Search: How does it work?
Voice search is made up of two crucial elements: natural language processing (NLP) and text-to-speech technology. This kind of feature isn’t necessarily new since it has been around since 2002, but it only started getting traction in the mainstream tech scene once smartphones became popular.
Here’s how it works: when a query is entered into the database, the device’s algorithm matches the question to the answer that matches it as accurately and as closely as it can. The NLP technology helps the device figure out the query’s intent and context based on the algorithm and the user’s very own search history.
When it comes to SEO strategies, conversational voice searches change the game, but only slightly. This means SEO strategies will have to adapt to this kind of shift in the way users use search engines. Voice searches tend to be more natural since human speech flows so much differently from typing out questions and hitting the Search button. Voice searches tend to use longer-tail keywords compared to question-based queries that are shorter.
It isn’t a big change, but it will require a few critical alterations to your site to help it adapt better. Here are six tips to boost your business with voice searches in mind:
1. Factor in structured data markups
Label everything that can be on your website: your product types, photo samples, feedback, reviews, locations—simply everything. Voice searches can pull up lots of data, and it’s easy to get drowned out if your site isn’t structured for it. Include appropriate attributes as well, like microdata and XML sitemaps.
2. Update your FAQ page
What do you think a potential customer would ask about your business? Build and update your content around the questions you come up with, and don’t forget to be as specific as possible, especially with your “who, what, when, where, why, and how” questions.
A great way to help your site in this aspect can also be creating blogs around the different questions to go into more detail and get other potential keywords in.
3. Use an informal tone
The best way to emulate natural human speech is to read what you write out loud. If you find that it sounds too stiff, then maybe it is, and it’s time to revise! Voice searches don’t sound like robots, and your content shouldn’t have to, too.
4. List things down
Using lists instead of long blocks of text will boost your content to appear on Google’s answer box. It’s more economical, and it’s easier for users to digest information quickly.
5. Improve your local SEO
Optimize your content for local listings! Many voice searches look for the nearest this or that in terms of local businesses, so use that to your advantage. The tricky part here is that different devices use different maps, so your site’s content and listings must be updated.
6. Get specific
Optimize your Google My Business listing and choose the relevant keywords and categories that your business belongs to. Terms like “food” or “restaurant” are too broad, so whittle it down to something more relevant like “pizza” or “pasta” instead.
With Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Voice Search, big tech companies continue to develop more voice-activated devices to fit consumers’ needs. Google Home, Amazon Echo, along with a wide array of tablets and smartphones, make everyday living a bit easier to manage. As these devices and voice search become even more mainstream, you’ll want to ensure that your website is already optimized and ready to serve prospective customers looking for you.
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