If you haven't added voice search to your search engine optimization strategy, start now with these five pointers.
Voice search allows you to issue a voice command to prompt results on a search engine. Companies like Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have already recognized the potential of voice technologies—we've all heard of Siri and Alexa—and want to help people find the correct information online.
Now, with search engines like Google focusing more intensely on ranking relevant content to each search, voice search plays an even bigger role. When someone asks a question, the most relevant article is put in front of them first. And with voice search, the search engine must provide a single answer right away—that's called voice-first indexing.
If you haven't added voice search to your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, start now with these five pointers:
1) Understand consumers and device behaviors. “Voice search algorithms use data, location and several data points to understand the context of a user's search," says Connor Martin, a writer at Writinity and Research Papers UK. “Similarly, marketers must understand the context in consumer behavior—what devices they're using, where they're searching online, what they're looking for online and so on."
Real-time data, along with extensive research on consumer insights, can help marketers understand how different types of people use voice search and on what device they are searching.
2) Be to the point. With Google relying heavily on knowledge graphs and “rich snippets"—well-crafted information Google pulls from your site's structured data to display in search results—to answer voice queries, it goes to show that users want quick results. People want direct answers, whenever they search with voice commands. Be to the point and deliver results instantly.
3) Use conversational keywords. Short-tail keywords—small phrases—used to be the norm in SEO. However, recently, short-tail keywords have become far less relevant, although they're not gone entirely.
Why? Because people are now using voice searches to ask questions. Commands are becoming more conversational than one-word searches. In other words, voice searches are becoming more like our speech. Therefore, marketers must focus more on long-tail keywords, which are conversational phrasings and sayings that allow search queries to be more detailed for Google to understand.
4) Restructure content to be persona-based. With voice search being more conversational than traditional searches, it's important to reanalyze your content and its structure. In fact, Google prefers short and concise answers to voice search queries. The typical voice search result is no more than 29 words.
If you want to rank better for voice search results, look at how your content is structured. You may want to have an FAQ section on your product pages and blogs. Plus, make sure that your FAQs are short and include question keywords so Google knows they're relevant.
5) Be mobile- and local-friendly. “Since people are already investing in mobile devices, companies must make themselves mobile-friendly by offering apps that make their services easier to use, especially when optimized to be 'near me' in the search results," says Jessica Gomez, a journalist at Draft Beyond and Last Minute Writing. “Plus, they must localize their presence so that they're easy to find whenever people search for them online. And with voice search, users can ask hyper-local queries, and get results quickly."
Cheri Jones is a business writer at Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays. As an entrepreneur, she has overseen business projects nationwide.