As a digital marketer, you need to stay on the cutting edge of trends to reach your audience. One of the most significant developments you should pay attention to is the rise of voice search. Voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are becoming increasingly popular, and more people are using voice search to find information on the go. This shift to voice will have a major impact on search engine optimization and how you optimize your content. If you want your content to rank well and drive traffic, you need to understand how voice search works and how to optimize for voice search engines. Voice search requires an entirely different set of optimization techniques focused on natural language and conversational content. Start preparing now to ensure your SEO strategy is ready for the future of search.
Voice Search Is Growing Rapidly
Voice search has seen massive growth and is changing how people interact with the digital world .By 2020, voice searches will make up 50% of all searches, predicts Comscore. As voice search continues to rise, search engine optimization (SEO) strategies will need to adapt to this new platform.
Voice search differs from traditional text-based search in a few key ways:
- Long-tail keywords matter more. SEO content will need to incorporate synonyms and related long-tail keywords to rank for these complex queries.
- Voice searches frequently produce lengthier, more conversational results. needs to be highly conversational and read like natural language. Aim for a casual, friendly tone using contractions and simple words and phrases.
- Featured snippets are critical. Featured snippets that provide a quick summary and answer are essential for voice search results. Optimizing content to rank for featured snippets will be key.
- Local SEO gains importance. Voice searches are often locally focused, so businesses will need to strengthen their local SEO to rank in voice search results. Listing business information like address and hours accurately across directories and your own website will be vital.
- Page speed matters more. Slow loading pages negatively impact the voice search experience. Improving page speed will become more important to rank in voice search results.
Optimizing for Voice Search
To optimize your content for voice search, there are several best practices you should follow:
- Focus on natural language
Write in a conversational tone using common words and phrases, not overly technical terms.When spoken aloud, your information should sound natural.
- Prioritize question-based content
Create FAQ pages and blog posts that answer common questions around your topic or product. Voice search is often question-driven, so this content is likely to rank well.
- Include keywords in headings
Use target keywords and keyphrases in your section headings, page titles, and content headings. Voice assistants scan these headings to determine page relevance.
- Keep sentences short
Aim for an average sentence length of 15 to 20 words to ensure your content is concise and easy to understand when spoken. Long, complex sentences do not translate as well to voice search.
- Use transition words
Transition words like “first,” “next,” “in addition,” and “furthermore” help create flow and logic in your writing. They indicate the relationship between ideas, which aids comprehension in voice search.
- Discuss one idea per paragraph
Limit each paragraph to one main thought or idea. This makes your content easier to follow when read aloud by a voice assistant.
- Summarize key points
Include a summary of your main points at the end of the page. This reinforces the key takeaways for anyone accessing your content through voice search.
Creating Voice-Friendly Content
To optimize your content for voice search, you need to make some key adjustments to your writing style and SEO strategies.
- Use natural language
Write in a conversational tone using natural language, as if speaking to another person. Use common words and phrases, contractions, and avoid overly complex sentences. Keep your content scannable and easy to understand when read aloud.
- Focus on long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords, like “how to grow organic tomatoes in my garden,” are well suited for voice search. Include these longer, more specific keywords in your page titles, headers, and content. Voice searchers are likely looking for in-depth information, so optimize for informational long-tail keywords.
- Include questions and answers
Many voice searches are framed as questions, so including FAQs and other question-and-answer content on your site helps ensure you show up for these voice searches. Answer common questions in a friendly, helpful tone.
- Be concise
With voice search, less is more. Keep sentences and paragraphs short and concise, around 1 to 3 sentences. Avoid unnecessary words and be deliberate with your word choice. Voice searchers want quick answers, so get to the point.
- Use structured data
Structured data, like FAQ schema and HowTo schema, helps voice assistants understand your content. Implementing schema markup on your site improves the chances your content will rank well and be selected as a featured snippet, which are commonly used to answer voice searches.
The Future of Voice and SEO
As voice search continues to grow, search engine optimization (SEO) strategies will need to adapt. Voice search provides new opportunities for businesses to reach customers, but also brings unique challenges that require an optimized approach.
- Optimizing for Voice Search
To rank well in voice search results, focus on optimizing for conversational, natural language queries. Use common phrases and expressions that people would say aloud versus type into a search box. Consider the difference between “how to start a business” and “steps to starting a new company.”
- Voice Search Queries are Longer
Voice search queries are typically longer, more conversational phrases rather than a few keywords. Optimize for long-tail keywords and create content that answers common questions in a helpful, engaging way. Provide value to searchers by giving them the information they need, not just what they searched for.
- Featured Snippets are Critical
Featured snippets become even more essential when using voice search. Aim to rank for queries where a featured snippet could provide a concise yet compelling summary of your content. Featured snippets allow you to stand out in voice search results and give searchers a quick answer, increasing the chances of a click-through.
- Mobile Optimization is Essential
Mobile devices are used for the vast majority of voice searches. Ensure your website and content are fully optimized for mobile to provide the best experience for voice searchers. Fast load times, easy navigation, and a clean interface are key.
As you have seen, voice search is poised to transform how people find information online. The rise of voice assistants and smart speakers means that more queries will be spoken rather than typed. For content creators and SEO professionals, this shift means optimizing for voice search will be crucial to reach audiences in the years to come. Make an effort to write in a conversational style and address common questions. Use keywords and phrases that people would naturally speak. Make your content as scannable as possible, with clear headings and an easy to follow structure. Voice search may be an emerging trend, but preparing for this new reality now will help ensure your content ranks well and gets discovered, no matter how people choose to search. The future is voice, and the time for SEO professionals to adapt is now.