The state of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is changing quickly.
We started with short, 3 – 4 word search queries. Then as the internet got filled with more and more content and search engines got smarter at finding relevant information, our search terms started getting longer, and we saw the advent of long-tail keywords.
Now a new paradigm shift is taking place: Voice search.
More and more people are searching for things using their voices. And Google – the de-facto library of the internet – is getting better and better at answering their queries in a clear and concise manner. Voice search has grown 35x since 2008, and today more than 20% of all mobile search queries are voice search queries. This is the dawn of Voice Search Optimization.
If you’re not yet taking specific steps to optimize your website for voice search, you’re falling behind in the game.
But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this article, we shall tell you 7 key strategies that you can follow to optimize your website for voice search. But before we dive into that, let’s take a look at how voice
How Voice Search Differs from Regular Search?
There is a lot of difference between voice search queries and regular typed search queries. It’s because of these differences that optimization for voice search works differently than optimization for typed search. Here are some of the key differences between both:
- Long-tail keywords: The first major difference is that of keyword types. Voice search queries use very specific long-tail and conversational keywords instead of short keywords that are more general in nature and more common in traditional typed search queries.
- Localization: Voice search queries are often quite local-focused in nature (i.e. best Italian restaurants near me, movies running in theaters near me, etc).
- Personalization: Voice search queries also tend to be highly personalized in nature (i.e. find me a pair of shoes, Suggest me some movies, etc). Now, in response to such personalized queries, Google, too, tries to provide personalized answers that are more likely to resonate with the searchers.
- Presentation of answers instead of results: In traditional search, the searcher is provided with search results on a page. In voice search, however, Google tries to provide an answer through a featured snippet in most cases. The results are provided only when a straightforward answer is not possible.
- Different languages: Lastly, typed search queries are mostly in English, but voice search queries can be in any language. Google is also encouraging its users to ask questions in their native languages, which means English is not everything when it comes to voice search.
Understanding these differences is the key to effectively optimizing your content and website for voice search. Now having taken a look at these differences, we can dive deep into the steps that you can take to optimize your content and website for voice search. Let’s do that!
How Does ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) System Work?
The ASR system is a technology that’s used by voice assistants, which basically converts voice impulses it receives into the text to give the results to the user based on voice search. This technology allows users to use their smartphones, smart devices, cars, and smart speakers for voice search. Sometimes the AI may not recognize what you’re trying to say, so it gives suggestions on words that it is able to recognize.
The voice search engine works similarly to a traditional search engine; the only difference between them is that the voice search engine has to recognize the voice and change the spoken dialogue into the text to perform the query. AI and machine learning constantly improve voice search to increase efficiency and accuracy. Nowadays, most AI assistants can easily understand and interpret a human’s request using audio dialogues, and based on that, it provides accurate results.
Voice Search Optimization: 7 Key Strategies For Mobile
While there are many things that go into making a website voice search friendly, nearly all of them can be summarized into 7 key strategies. We shall give you a brief (but not too brief) overview of all those 7 strategies here, so you have a solid foundation in place for voice search optimization. Here we go:
#1. Understand Your Customer and Their Behavior
All marketing starts with understanding your customers, and this is even more true when it comes to voice search optimization. You need to understand your customers better than ever if you have to optimize your website and your content for these types of queries.
You should know what type of device your customers are using, from where they are searching, their age group, gender, purpose, and intent behind the search, voice assistant they use (i.e. Alexa, Google voice assistant, Siri, Cortana, etc.), and the most important factor in their purchase decisions. All these things can be learned by doing the following:
- Performing in-depth market research by interviewing your customers in-person
- Analyzing the customer profiles and marketing campaigns of your competitors
- Looking into your own marketing statistics and data
- Analyzing Google search trends for your industry
- Conducting targeted surveys and research using social media, etc.
Once you’ve done your research and collected a significant amount of data about your customers, you should create detailed personas of their profiles to get a solid idea of who your customer is. Only then you can try to optimize your website and content for their voice search queries.
#2. Focus on Long-tail and Conversational Keywords
As we explained above, voice search queries are not like regular search queries. They tend to be more long-term, and much more conversational in nature than a regular Google search query. So in order to optimize your content for such queries, you need to focus on long-tail keywords and conversational keywords while creating your content. Here’s how to do that:
- Invest in good keyword research tools (Semrush, Ahrefs, and MOZ are good options)
- Using the tool that you purchased, extract all of the highly searched but low competition long-tail keywords as possible that are related to your content or business.
- Try to incorporate multiple long-tail keywords in your content. But don’t do keyword stuffing either – the keywords should appear on the page normally.
- As you gain traffic and backlinks using highly-searched, low-competition keywords, eventually, you can try targeting some high-competition long-tail keywords too (once your domain authority has increased).
#3. Create More User-specific Content
One of the key differentiators between normal search and voice search is personalization.
Not only do the searchers ask their queries in a more personal manner, but the search engine (or voice assistant) also tries to answer them on the basis of their preferences and personal needs. Google has invested tons of resources in learning as much as possible about its users, and therefore it can identify which search results are more personalized to the searcher and, therefore more likely to resonate with him/her.
In such a situation, if you want to succeed with voice search, then you need to create more and more personalized and user-specific content. This means:
- Content that answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) of your customers in a clear and concise manner
- Content that addresses them personally/individually
- Content that allows them to figure out things based on their own individual preferences (i.e. online calculators, product suggestion tools, product comparison tools, etc.)
- Content that uses conversational language (i.e. uses words like “I”, “we”, “you”, “me”, etc.) and a friendly tone.
These are just a few of the many ideas that you can follow to create user-specific and more personalized content. If you can create some more unique types of content that are highly personalized in nature, then you can take your voice search optimization to the next level.
#4. Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Since a lot of questions asked in voice search tend to be of local nature, you need to work on your local SEO in order to optimize for it. And claiming your Google My Business listing is the first step towards local SEO. There are a number of things that Google learns about your business from this step, which include:
- Where is your business physically located
- What are your operating hours
- Your website
- Your contact number and email address
- Your products and services (you can even sell your products through your Google My Business listing in Google Maps and Google Search)
- And much more.
All these things are precisely what people ask for in Google searches, and when Google knows them through your Google My Business listing, it can provide the answer to your searchers, thus boosting your business in the process.
#5. Optimize for Local Search
After claiming your Google My Business listing, the next step you need to take is to work even more on your local SEO. And local doesn’t just mean based on location – you also need to optimize your content based on local languages. Here are a few steps that you can follow to optimize your content for voice-based local searches:
- Include more location-specific keywords in your content.
- Translate your content in all local languages – when it comes to voice search, English is not enough.
- Include directions to your office/physical address on your website, and make sure it’s understandable for visitors and Google both. The best way to do that is by embedding a Google map.
- This one is not related to SEO, but it can definitely help you with voice search optimization, too – invest in local search engine ads. When more and more people visit your website from a particular location, and you’ve Google ads running in that particular location, it’s the best way to tell Google’s algorithms that your business is a local business.
All these steps can boost your local SEO significantly, thus boosting your voice search optimization too and making your business more visible to local voice searchers.
#6. Use Schema Markup
We told you how to tell Google everything about your business through a Google My Business listing and local SEO. But those are not the only things that Google uses to learn about your business – structured data, also known as schema markup, is also used by Google’s algorithms to understand the content of your website in a better way.
Schema markup goes into the source code of your website. It doesn’t show up to the visitors of your website, but it’s highly important to Google and its crawlers as it helps them identify the nature of the content. A lot of featured snippets – blocks of information that appear on search pages to directly answer a question asked by the searchers – are generated on the basis of schema markup alone.
Therefore, if you want to optimize for voice search… it’s imperative to use structured data carefully on all your web pages. Now, if you need help with using schema markup in your web pages, you can head over to Schema.org to take a look at all the available schema types and how they can be embedded into webpages.
#7. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Finally, optimize your website for mobile devices. Almost all of the voice searches are done on mobile devices, so if your website is not optimized for them, then you don’t stand a chance of appearing in the voice search results. Here are a few steps that you can take to optimize your website and content for mobile devices:
- Test your website in multiple screen sizes to ensure that it looks good and works fine. If not, then work on making your website mobile-responsive.
- Test the page load speed of your site on mobile devices using Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool, and improve it if it’s less by following the suggestions given by the tool.
- Use Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) technology to optimize your pages.
- Compress your images and include Alt-text in all of them.
- Avoid overuse of graphics and animations on your pages.
There are many other steps too that go into making a website mobile-responsive, but these are the most important ones among them. For more details, follow Google’s mobile optimization guidelines.
Why Should You Invest In Voice Search Optimization Strategy?
If you have an online business, then creating a voice search optimization strategy is essential for your business because, according to recent research data, it was found that the revenue generated from voice search sales was around $2 billion in 2022. Almost 40% of internet users in the US use their voice assistant to search for products online. You can also capitalize on this revenue by creating a great voice search optimization strategy.
Through voice search, all the traffic that comes to your website will be 100% organic, and for that, you don’t need to run any paid ads on search engines. Voice search will open up the possibility of attracting users who rely on smart assistants and smartphones to search for businesses & products online. If you are targeting voice search, then it will be fruitful for your website’s SEO & rankings as well.
Conclusion: Voice Search Optimization (2024)
Voice search is not just an important aspect of today’s digital marketing landscape – it’s the future. As search engines (mainly Google) and voice assistants get better and better at understanding the queries of their searchers, they will provide more and more accurate results to the searchers. That accuracy, in turn, can make more and more people use voice search instead of the time-consuming traditional search process.
Therefore, if you want to have the edge over your competitors, you should work on the optimization of your website and content for voice searches. We hope the steps outlined above will put you on the right track for that. Now, if you still have any questions, feel free to share them in the comments, and we shall try to answer them at the earliest. Otherwise, kickstart your voice search optimization today. All the best!