The digital marketing world keeps on evolving to deliver the best innovation. One time, blog content was the trend. Then, it was live video and now, it's voice search. But how do you optimize your website for this new trend? In this article, I'm going to teach you exactly how to prepare for the voice search era.
The Voice Search Revolution
You might think that voice search is still a novelty for everybody, but we're in the middle of this revolution already. Recent statistics show that about 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search every day. Among all mobile queries in Google
, 20% are made through voice searches.
Since 2008, the use of voice search has grown exponentially. This growth may be due to the fact that it can be used in both mobile devices and desktop computers. About 25% of Windows 10 desktop users use voice searches.
Many people are also speaking to their smart speakers and desktop computers. That's why it's predicted that smart speakers will become a necessity for every home in the future. When this happens, SEO also needs to adapt to this change.
Now, you might be curious why voice search is growing so fast. Here are three reasons why:
Faster Than Typing: Voice search is almost four times faster than typing. This means faster answers to your queries.
Perfect For Mobile: You know how difficult it is to type on the small screen of your mobile device, especially if you have a large thumb. So, it's no surprise that more people prefer to use their voice in mobile searches.
More Convenient: Compared to the usual typing of words on the keyboard, voice search allows you to use only your voice in searching the internet. This makes it effortless and more convenient.
To sum it all, it's clear to see that voice search
is a legit trend and not a mere publicity. It's a current revolution that already affects the SEO.
SEO In A Voice Search World
There's actually a difference when you use your voice in searching instead of the keyboard. More specifically it changes how, where, and when people search. Here is a more detailed discussion about these changes and how they affect SEO.
Voice Changes The Way We Search
Voice search makes it different for people to search in two ways. One, it makes searches longer. Two, it makes searches more conversational.
Compared to text-based searches
, voice search uses longer keywords. And these searches tend to be more conversational. According to Google, 70% of searches sound natural.
For example, you want to search how to make spaghetti. Using the keyboard, you'd probably type "make spaghetti" in the Google search bar. But with voice search, you'd simply say "Hey Google, how to make spaghetti?".
See the difference? You tend to use natural, human language instead of sounding like a computer. Obviously, this has a large effect on the way we conduct keyword research and on-page SEO.
Voice Changes The Place We Search
Voice search is being used in more places because it's so convenient. Over the past two years, the number of "__ near me" now searches has increased by 150%. And the places where these searches are happening might surprise you. Many people are using voice search in public areas, like the gym, restaurant, and even public restroom.
For example, you're in a foreign place and looking for a pizza restaurant in New York. In the past, you'd probably type, "pizza restaurant New York" into Google. But with voice search, you'd simply have to find a Wi-Fi location and do a voice search in your mobile phone, then ask Google "Where is a pizza restaurant near me?".
Voice Changes How We Get Search Results
Google is slowing developing into an "answer engine". Instead of visiting a website to get your answer, the answer is presented directly in the search results. This resulted in the decline of organic clicks. A similar answer-focused technology is used to offer voice search results.
For example, you wanted to learn how many calories in a banana. In the past, you'd type "apple calories" into the search bar and be obligated to filter through 10 different results. But with this new trend, you can have your answer provided within seconds. Of course, there will still be the conventional set of 10 blue links, but Google typically reads the Featured Snippet
So the question is, what does this implies for SEO and content creators?
Our content needs to provide users with direct answers to their queries. Otherwise, you'll fail to attract the interest of your target audience.
Voice Keyword Research
Now let's get to business. In this section, I'm going to demonstrate how to conduct keyword research in the world of voice search. Here are three strategies to find voice search keywords.
Search For Natural Language Keywords
As I already mentioned above, voice searches use natural language
and sound more conversational than keyboard-based searches. So instead of using robotic keywords, like "build house Minecraft", you need to replace them with more natural language keywords like, "how to build a house in Minecraft".
Also, you may also want to examine the keyword if it sounds conversational. Keywords that sound natural tends to achieve a large increase in search volume as voice search develops.
Try Really Long Keywords
Most people fully avoid insanely-long keywords because very few people use them for searches. But as voice search becomes more popular, the keyword length tends to get longer. So be courageous to optimize your content in more than five words.
I'm not saying that you should optimize the whole page around with insanely-long keywords. The good practice is to scatter these lengthy keywords in your content. Google will use the keyword that they find anywhere in your content as a voice search result.
Focus On "Question Keywords"
Question keywords have increased to 61% annually, thanks to the growing popularity of voice search. In the past, you might search for a few keywords to rank better in Google. But with voice search, you're going to ask Google a question.
For example, you'd say "what to eat on Atkins diet" instead of just typing "Atkins diet". The next step after finding a bunch of voice search keywords is to optimize your content,
which takes me to the next section.
Optimize Content Around Voice Search Keywords
The good news is you don't need to fully rebuild your website when optimizing your content for voice search. With only a few changes, you can prepare your site for this new revolution. Here's how:
Include Brief, Concise Answers
According to a recent study, Google tends to respond to voice search questions in a maximum of 29 words. That's why it's significant that you offer answers in your content in 30 words max. In this case, a blog post won't make sense so what you need is to…
Make Voice Search FAQ Pages
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) pages are great for voice search because question keywords are growing popular. Also, Google tends to provide a 30-word answer which is also an ideal setup for FAQ pages. That's perhaps why Google usually pulls the voice search results from an FAQ page.
Get In The Featured Snippets
Almost half of the voice search answers originate from the Featured Snippet. That's why it's safe to assume that this snippet acts like a voice search cheat code. If someone asks a question using voice, Google will just show the Featured Snippet result.
Since Google Home and Alexa search results only provide one answer, getting in the Featured Snippet is even more significant. You get no exposure on these devices if you don't rank in these snippets.
You can also put a lot of long tail keywords in your content. That way, your page can rank for various voice search queries.
Actionable Voice Search Tips And Strategies
Now that you know the basics of voice keyword research
and content optimization, here are some advanced SEO tips that you can follow:
Integrate "Filler Words" In Question Keywords
You know that question keywords are growing popular because of voice search. When you optimize for questions, don't forget to integrate "filler words". This includes "a", "for", and "me".
Using filler words is important because your ad is more likely to show on a voice search if you have more matches. Nice, right?
Use Simple Words
When writing content, make sure that you use simple words. Avoid jargon and complex words that might confuse your readers. As much as possible, write content in a 9th -grade reading level or even below.
Boost The Speed Of Your Website
In this fast modern age, everybody wants everything delivered quick. A voice search result loads 3.8 times faster than your typical website. More specifically, a voice search result loads in around 0.54 seconds.
Work On Your Domain Authority
Sites with loads of links tend to rank better in voice search. Unlike the conventional SEO, the page authority doesn't seem to be relevant to the voice search ranking. What Google needs to know is the trustworthiness of your site.
In other words, Google prefers a trustworthy and authoritative domain. You need to focus on beefing up your Domain Authority if you want to have a better ranking in voice search. When you achieve this, Google is more likely to use your site as a credible source, even if your page doesn't have a lot of links.
Write A Long Content
You might have heard that longer content tends to generate more voice search traffic. The average word count is 1,900 words but voice search result pages even get longer up to 2,300 words. Although it's not sure that Google's voice algorithm prefers long content, making a long-form content gives higher chances of matching a voice search query.
Optimize For "____Near Me" Searches
Local searches indicate city and state in the past. But now, local searches have become more specific from city to block. This all because of the popularity of "____Near Me" searches.
So if you operate a local business, optimizing around terms that people use is important. For example, you run a laundry business near Madison Park. You should optimize for near Madison Park to get a better ranking in local searches.
Recently, Google introduced Video Featured Snippets. It's a video result that allows Google to pulls out the part of the video relevant to your search. You need to rank your videos in search results so you can present your content in front of people using voice search.
Voice Search SEO Case Studies
To really showcase why the above tips and tricks are so important for effectively ranking for different voice searches, we’ve put together a few basic case studies that show the principles in action. These case studies make it clear that doing things like making your website faster, or adding questions to your website is just the thing that you need to do to show up in voice search results more effectively.
How a YouTube Channel Ranks for Voice Searches
An SEO expert
recently founded a YouTube channel and took added steps to help it rank for voice searches as effectively as possible. Even though the channel pages have a low domain authority, they still ended up showing up at the top of searches for many different search results, because of a few key strategies that were employed.
First, the expert added a mini FAQ section to the top of each and every one of the pages. This small section answered a few key questions in a natural way, and gave Google a keyword to help the channel rank for. Since Google loves ranking FAQ items for voice searches, this strategy makes perfect sense when you want to get your site ranking for voice more effectively. The expert also took the time to make a high-quality channel description that was used to create a snippet on Google. That same channel contains content that reads at a 9th grade level, ensuring that it’s simple and easy to understand. It’s these things that helped the page get ranked at the top of voice search, so try to keep them in mind along with the other SEO tips and strategies when trying to figure out how to achieve a top SEO ranking for voice.
Why Lifehacker Shows up for Many Voice Searches
Most people are familiar with Lifehacker and the different tips the site shares efficiency and improving different areas of life. Lifehacker is achieving top voice search rankings by offers pages that load exceptionally fast, having a top Domain Rating and by introducing information at an easy-to-read level with writing at a 7th grade level. It’s these simple elements that help Lifehacker dominate in voice searches. Not only that, but many of the leading Lifehacker posts include lists of simple steps that are perfect for Google snippets. This isn’t something that you’ll find on all online websites, but it is something that you can add to all of yours if you want to rank highly.
Ranking for voice search should be just one of your goals for the success of your website and your business’s web presence. Hopefully these tips will get you started off in the right direction and help you figure out the changes that you should make to your website to help prepare it for the future. Voice search is becoming more and more common as search engines and mobile devices get better at handling it. Eventually it’s likely to be the primary way that people ask search engines for help. When that happens, you want your website to be prepared to handle all those different voice searches.