Mobile devices, smartphones and smart home devices featuring digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant are all examples of how voice searching is a growing method for searching for content. It is quite obvious why this trend is growing; it is faster, easier and much more user friendly especially as assistive technology for users with disabilities.
An example of how SEO compares to voice SEO is when searching for a trade for example a plumber. For SEO we would target phrases such as:
• Plumber London
• Boiler London
However for voice SEO we target more voice-friendly keywords such as:
• Cost for fixing a boiler in London
• Worcester boiler engineer in London
So whats the difference? We must humanize content to suit voice seo and make keyword structures based on a conversational and informative tone. Consider the type of questions customers ask when they call your business to discuss a certain product or service, take note of common phrases or wording when they talk to you and optimise your online presence around these phrases.
How can we optimise for voice searching?
1. Long-tail Keywords
Short tail keywords are quickly becoming less relevant when considering the natural phrases people tend to use in voice searches. And with 20% of mobile queries being voice searches and the ratio of voice search growing faster than type search, it’s getting more important than ever before to ensure that you’re using the right keywords to capture voice searches.
As voice search gets more popular, it’s growing more important to be more conversational in nature. Focus on how customers speak when asking verbal questions which in concept can then be turned into a long-tail keywords to boost your SEO. These tend to be longer and involve very specific keyword phrases that are used by people closer to the point of purchasing something.
For example, if you are a boiler installer, the short keyword “boiler” probably won’t be too helpful to capture people using voice search. However, using keywords such as “Worcester Boiler Installation” will reflect what your potential customers are looking for.
2. Google Places
Let’s use our plumber in London example for how customers might search for a local plumber.
1. “Emergency plumber in London” This is a phrase we can target and optimise through the website for organic listings
2. “Emergency plumber near me” For the phrase “near me” Google then takes the users geolocation and directs the user to Google My Business locations in a close proximity.
This example shows how vital it is to claiming your Google My Business listing for local queries. With voice searches with a conversational tone we tend to see an even larger number of hyper-local queries.
3. Blog posts
Once you have collected your customer’s common questions and phrases, you can then create content for them. Many companies put these questions into a single FAQ as the quickest approach to get this data onto the website however I recommend creating blogs based on this research. Yes this sounds time consuming however blogs spreading the questions will help voice assistants become more successful pulling content from your site. The added bonus is also what blogs bring to your business, keeping customers engaged, building trust and establish authority.
4. Mobile First
The huge popularity of mobile devices at this point is common knowledge to all. However, with the emergence of voice search, mobile friendly sites in turn are more vital. With over half of all search queries coming from mobile and voice searches mainly on mobile devices it is quite clear a mobile friendly site is paramount.
A Google study found that 41% of adults and more than half of teens use voice search multiple times per day. The devices used primarily in this research was of course smartphone devices showing that it is vital your content is as mobile friendly as possible.
It’s safe to say the conventional typed-out searches isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Waking my girlfriend up whilst talking to my phone during sleepless nights may not be the best idea and for most occasions voice searching just isn’t suitable. However it is also quite clear that with many companies releasing voice assistants such as Google Home, the increase in this trend will only continue to grow.
It is our job to adapt to this by optimising our websites and take voice searching into consideration. Making future optimisations less robotic and more natural we can then prepare our content to rank successfully on voice searches.