How to Optimize Your Content for Voice Search

When voice search initially hit the mainstream, it was something of a novelty. It was a fun, futuristic product that hardly seemed poised to turn the entire digital marketing world on its head. And yet, that’s exactly what it’s doing. Voice-activated tech has turned refrigerators into computers and speakers into personal assistants. Is your content marketing strategy including voice search? Find out how this search method should be influencing your SEO. Click To Tweet

About 65% of Americans between the ages of 25 – 49 use voice search every day, and that number is rapidly increasing (Statista). Most estimates show that by 2020 half of all online searches will use voice. Such searches might be a question posed to Alexa, or a command given to Siri, but what those on the front lines of marketing have realized is that this kind of search is changing the terms people use to find a product or service. While a person might type “web designer Houston” into a Google search, they’ll likely word it differently for voice (“Hey Alexa, what’s the best web designer near me?”).

Voice Search & SEO

Some would view this new technology as a major problem for SEO strategy, but you should see it as an opportunity. Not every business has recognized the need to adapt their marketing efforts to reflect the evolution of search. Start optimizing your content now and you’ll be ahead of the competition.

Conversational Language

Content needs to mimic voice search by taking on a more conversational tone. Since users of voice search are essentially carrying on a conversation with their AI device, your content should reflect that language. For example, if you own a contracting business, you might take the search term, “What is the best material for kitchen countertops?” and create content that restates the question in a header and then provides a clear answer in the content. Not only will conversational language help you rank for voice results, but it’s shown to be more popular with savvy consumers, who are looking for authentic content.

More Long-Tail Keyphrases

While it’s a bit premature to dismiss traditional keyphrases altogether, consider combining some core keyphrases with a series of long-tails. Optimizing for voice search is essentially taking your FAQ page and sprinkling the questions and answers throughout your website. 

Featured Snippets

Google Home and Google Assistant read out featured snippets when they answer voice search queries, so earning this coveted position should be a top priority. There’s no definitive guide to help you gain that top spot, but research suggests that it’s a combination of factors. Featured snippets do the following:

  • Answer Questions: Find common questions the same ways you found common keyphrases. Once you’ve established which related questions are being asked the most, answer them in your web pages and blog posts, using natural language.
  • Answer Questions Clearly:  Google will only feature the best answer, so make sure yours is clear and concise. Answers that feature a paragraph or list format seem to enjoy more popularity, showing up in featured snippets 91% of the time.
  • Engage Users: You should already be creating engaging content, but Google and its users have become pickier and more discerning when it comes to web content. Language that is overtly salesy, or prioritizes keywords over quality just don’t appeal to search engines or potential customers.

Local SEO

It’s never been more important to optimize your local SEO strategy. Many voice search users are looking for local business information, so you need to ensure that your Google My Business Page is current and correct, and your online reviews are positive.

Pro Tip: Google users may soon be able to filter search results by rating, making it harder to remain visible if you have poor ratings.

Making Small, Smart Changes

While the use of voice search is still growing, smart marketers have already started optimizing content to get the most out of search marketing. Fundamental changes like this can be intimidating to the average small business owner, but even making small, smart changes to your SEO can reap big rewards. Start with blog posts that answer relevant questions, then consider working with a digital marketing firm to optimize your website for voice search.  

Contact Us to learn more about adapting your SEO strategy to thrive in this evolving search environment.

Michele Redmon

Michele is a web content writer at ITVibes in The Woodlands, Texas. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in Criminal Psychology. Her writing has been featured on several websites, including Huffington Post and Hello Giggles. Michele enjoys spending time with her family, gardening and watching true crime documentaries with her cats.