By the end of 2019, the US alone will have more than 67 million voice assisted devices in use. And of the 2 trillion global Google searches performed each year, half of those are expected to come from voice search by 2020.
Voice search is changing the very way that online content is created and managed. Traditional content creation methods are unable to cater for this huge shift toward voice assistant devices. Which may prove challenging for many digital marketers and content creators.
To help you stay ahead of the game, we have pulled together a list of our top tips for optimising your content for voice search. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.
1 – Up Your Question Quota
The majority of searches performed online are question phrases… people just love to ask Google for an answer. But there is a difference between the way that people ask questions via a text search and a voice search.
Whenever a user performs a typed search, it’s typically a compact, shorthand version of how they would vocally present the phrase.
As an example:
Typed: Red velvet recipe
Voice: How do I make a red velvet cake?
To improve your chances of making it in the voice searches, you need to ask more questions with a natural structure and tone.
The perfect place to use full question phrases is in your headers. You can then use the header body to answer the question. Try to weave in semantically related questions where possible. And always aim to ask and answer those most important questions as naturally as possible.
2 – Avoid Fluff and Filler
As people type less and talk more, avoiding fluff and filler has never been as important as it is today. The intention of voice searches is to deliver accurate and easily digestible results.
Try to keep your verbiage as clear and succinct as possible. Avoid complex phrases and difficult to understand words. And get straight to the point.
While listening to lengthy audio output is much easier than reading large blocks of text, we live in a world where people demand instant gratification.
Make your message as clear as possible from the get-go and try to include a summary at the beginning. This helps both reader and search engine understand what to expect from the content.
3 – Get Conversational
The search engines are always going to favour good content above all else. So creating this as you always do is important. However, what will change is the way that you write.
As voice devices read your content aloud to the user, natural language is going to start to dominate. Look at the way you normally write and compare this with how you would have a conversation with someone.
You will probably notice stark differences between the two. And typically, typed text is much more formal and less natural sounding to the ear than spoken text.
Don’t be afraid to interject linguistics, speech disfluencies and filled pauses into your content. As voice assistants evolve to become more human sounding, these all help add to a more natural experience.
Colloquialisms are good. But remember that they tend to be regional and not everyone is going to understand their meaning. Think of the bigger picture but add as much character as you can.
4 – Put Yourself in the Searchers Shoes
We all know the importance of keywords. And while they are slowly starting to take second place to context, they are always going to play a vital role in SEO.
There are literally thousands of tools out there to help you discover the best keywords to use. But how do you find natural sounding question phrases instead?
The first thing that you can do is think about how you would ask a question out loud. Then head on over to Google and perform a search for the exact wording via the voice search function.
Scroll on down to the bottom of the page to wear the ‘people also search for’ section is. This will throw up a lot of related question phrases you can use along with your primary search phrase (PSP).
While SEO tools are useful. Sometimes the most powerful tool we have is our own thought process. Use this as the foundation for discovering more semantically related phrases.
5 – Optimise Old Content
If you are thinking about getting ready for voice search, optimising your current content is much easier than creating brand new content. It also gives you a better understanding of what you need to do when new content is needed.
Now, while it would be easy to focus all of your energy on optimising for voice search… it’s important to remember that other avenues are always going to be used too.
Just as some people have decided to hang onto home phones, cable TV and CD players, desktop searches won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. So you need to find a balance between traditional SEO and voice focused SEO.
In all honesty, they are two of the same things. The only difference is the way that your content is delivered and the way that you need to construct it. As an example, instead of foregoing keywords completely, use conjunctions and articles to create natural sounding phrases.
Voice search SEO is still pretty new. So many of the techniques and strategies you will need to use are still being worked out.
6 – Build on Mobile Search
Mobile search changed the way that SEO and content was implemented. A brand-new set of search queries, such as ‘near me’ entered the world of search terms.
As mobile devices use GPS and Wi-Fi signals to determine a user’s location, optimising for geographic keywords and Google my business became vital.
And here’s the thing:
Voice search and mobile search are much closer together than voice search and desktop search. But why?
More often than not, people use voice search when it is not possible to use text search. And these searches are performed on mobile phones and voice assistant devices.
So understanding how to optimise your website and content for mobile search can go a long way with helping your voice search efforts.
7 – Get Structured
You’ve probably seen content featured at the top of traditional searches. These might be a bullet point lists, ingredients or event dates, etc.
But what are they?
These are known as rich snippets. And the only way you can ever be featured for them is to use structured markup.
Structured markup let’s the search engines better understand the context of your content. You provide all of the information needed and Google does the rest.
And there are literally thousands of different types of structured markup out there. A great example of how structured markup help is with video content.
Google is smart. But it’s not quite ready to be able to watch videos and determine what they are about. And this is where structured markup comes into play.
You basically tell Google (and the other search engines) what the video content is about. It then takes this information and is able to display the video in the search results to the right people.
Check out schema.org to find the perfect structured markup for voice search. These already exist and let the search engines know that your content is voice search friendly.
Final Thoughts on Voice Search Optimisation
When it comes to winning online, being ready to make changes as soon as possible goes a long way with helping.
You might think that voice search is not important for your business. But regardless of your industry or niche, it will be.
As more and more people move away from traditional text and screen searches, the search engines are going to be looking for content that translates well into spoken words.
If 1 trillion voice searches are performed each year and you are not voice search ready, your online business is missing out on a huge number of potential opportunities.
Head on over to our blog today for much more on the rise of voice search, actionable SEO tips and tricks, and a dedicated archive to everything digital marketing.