You’re kidding me, right?
“First, I had to optimize for search engines. Then, it was mobile. NOW you’re telling me I need to optimize for something else?” That’s right friend. Voice search is the next stage in the never-ending digital revolution and if you think we’re overreacting, it’s actually estimated by 2020 there will be more than 200 billion voice queries per month! Just think about how the popularity of home assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home have skyrocketed in the past year.
So, how do we optimize for voice search? The good news is you won’t have to throw out the book on SEO and start from scratch. Optimizing for voice search is really a matter of tweaking a few things to make sure your brand is on good terms with Alexa, Siri and the other faceless women who dispense knowledge to us. The bad news is unlike traditional search where you get a page of multiple results, voice search gives searchers only one. So the pressure is on to make sure you’re in that numero uno spot. But lucky for you, we’re here to help you understand how voice search works and share some tips on how to reach that coveted spot.
Voice search vs. traditional search
We tend to voice search when we want short, concise answers. “Siri, what are some Mexican restaurants near me?” “Alexa, can I use lemon juice to get out stains?” These are questions that can be answered in a few seconds. Nobody’s asking their home assistant for a step-by-step process on how to build a working car engine.
The length of search terms also varies between the two formats. When searching with a keyboard, we only use necessary keywords (“Running shoes Akron”) but with voice search, we use more conversational phrases (“What stores in Akron sell running shoes?”), sort of like we’re talking to another person, not typing commands.
These conversational phrases are known as long-tail + keywords. The “+” being the who, what, when, where and why present in voice searches. The key is finding what questions people are asking about your brand or industry and tying that into your web copy and headlines. Along with traditional keyword research, Answer the Public is a great tool that shows what long-tail + keywords people are searching for in your area. Sprinkle these into your SEO strategy to capitalize on voice searchers.
Claim your Google Business Listing… seriously
Ever wonder what that little box over to the right side of the results page is? That’s the Local Knowledge Panel and it’s another critical part of optimizing for voice search SEO. The panel contains information about almost any person, place or thing you can think of and most often, Google is getting its voice search results from these panels.
To utilize the Local Knowledge Panel for your brand, you’ll have to claim your Google Business Profile. But claiming your listing is only step one. Make sure you’re filling out all the information Google asks for and check your listing regularly for bogus changes since Google lets anyone suggest an edit for a business listing.
Google’s main priority is giving searchers exactly what they’re looking for, so the more details it knows about your business, the more likely it is to recommend it to searchers and especially voice searchers.
Use schema markups
These are tags that can be added to your HTML that describe your website to search engines. Schema markups make key information like hours or operation, directions and your address more visible to search engines, increasing the chance of that information being picked up by home assistants.
Schema tags are also helpful when a page could have more than one meaning. For example, if you have content about “squash,” you can add a schema markup telling Google whether you’re talking about the gourd or the sport old guys play at your local YMCA. This gives search engines more context so your page is only being presented to relevant searchers and has a better likelihood of being discovered by voice searchers.
Plus, only 0.3% of websites use schema markups, so you’ll have a leg up on the competition if you do. And don’t worry if you’re not a coder. Google has a service that creates tag data for you. This is just scratching the surface of what schema tags can do. If you’re interested in learning more, Moz has a full guide on the subject.
So is your site ready for the voice search revolution? If you need some help putting these principles into action, get in touch. We’ll be happy to bring your SEO strategy into 2019.
Check out these related blog posts:
• Do You Know these 10 SEO Terms?
• Tackle UX with These 5 Beginner Friendly Tips
• What Not to Do When Redesigning a Website