It’s estimated that 50% of searches will be done with voice search in 2020. Optimizing for voice search is no longer a latest marketing trend–it is a necessity. Those who ignore its popularity risk losing a lot of ground compared to those who have already positioned themselves to capitalize on it. As voice recognition continues to improve, and usage of voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google continues to grow, it only becomes more essential. If you haven’t started already, here are 4 ways to start optimizing for voice search in 2020.
Optimize for Question-Based Keywords
It’s important to figure out how your audience speaks when searching for your business and products. Voice searches are more conversational and longer than text based searches. Most start with who, what, why, how, etc. Google and other search engines continuously crawl the internet to look for answers to these types of questions. To rank on the top of SERPs for voice searches, long-tailed keywords are key. While long-tailed keywords aren’t a new concept, the way they’re being used and why is changing. Before, they were mostly for the purpose of SEO. Digital marketers are now gravitating towards longer phrases for search queries. Those that have applied them have seen excellent results in search engine rankings. There are a variety of online tools that assist in coming up with relevant long-tailed phrases and optimizing content around them. Answer the Public and BuzzSumo are few examples.
Optimize for Mobile and Featured Snippets
Optimizing your site for mobile only becomes more and more crucial for businesses. When it comes to optimizing for voice search, it’s even more important. Most voice searches take place through mobile devices. A few things you can do to ensure your site is mobile-friendly are:
- Make sure your site is responsive.
- Avoid software that’s uncommon for mobile, like flash.
- Make the information people look for easy to find.
- Use large and easy to read font.
- Compress images and CSS.
- Make sure links are far enough apart to avoid tapping.
- Perform regular mobile and page load time tests.
You’ll also find a strong correlation between voice search and featured snippets. Featured snippets are selected search results featured on top of Google’s organic results, just below the ads. They aim to directly answer the user’s question and give additional brand exposure to the company that’s featured. Getting a featured snippet is difficult, but not impossible. You can increases your chances by:
- Making an entire search query the title of a content piece.
- Using the question explicitly in the content.
- Summarizing the answer in a single paragraph.
- Using lists when relevant.
- Using question and answer formatting.
- Re-optimize pages that already rank highly.
Pay Attention to Readability of Content
As we mentioned previously, people use a more natural and conversational tone when performing voice searches. To appear in search results, your content has to match the search terms. Avoid complicated jargon or lengthy responses. The simpler the language, the better the chances of your content appearing in the search results. On average, Google gives voice search results of only 29 words. Using clear, concise content is key when it comes to voice search optimization. There are a variety of online tools that check the readability of your content, such as Hemingway.
Utilize Google My Business and Implement Local SEO
Another extremely beneficial tool when it comes to voice search is Google My Business. Having a listing makes it easier for customers to find you and get more information. It’s also important to use the right keywords to describe your location. One of the most common searches people do is “___ near me.” Strategically inserting phrases like “near me” in Meta descriptions, internal links, anchor texts, and title tags increases chances of resulting for those searches. If there’s a well-known landmark near your business, it may help to include that somewhere as well. Structure your data in a way that makes it easy for users to get as much information as possible. It’s essential to have contact information, open hours, etc. This all makes it easier for your data to be processed and for people to find you.
The use of voice search will only increase in popularity as time goes on. It might not be used by everyone just yet, but that’s where we’re trending. Whether marketers like it or not, it can no longer be ignored. To be digitally successful brands have to start optimizing for mobile, voice, search, etc.