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Wonder what the weather will be like today? Ask Alexa. Need to add an item to your grocery list? Tell Google. Want to call your spouse? Have Siri dial for you.
It used to be that we could accomplish almost anything at the click of a button. Now, we don’t even have to lift a finger. All we have to do is speak, and the simplest tasks, like ordering takeout or changing the channel on the TV, are accomplished.
Voice command has been a modern comfort for quite a while now. Not only has it made getting off the couch unnecessary, but it’s also shifted the way we conduct searches and how search engines generate results. Instead of typing a few disjointed words in Google and hitting search, we’re speaking our search phrases, and when doing so, it’s in a more conversational flow. This simple shift in our search approach, while convenient for most of us, is forcing marketers and brands working on their SEO strategies to go back to the drawing board.
Getting your content to rank in voice search means adjusting your content so that it aligns more with the conversational flow in which voice searches are being conducted. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
1. Claim Your Business Listings
Searches performed on smartphones, and other hand-held or wearable devices tend to show business listings first in the results. The reason being is that tech assumes users are trying to find a local company. You need to claim all online listings of your business so that when people are voice searching on their phones or another wearable tech, the likelihood of your’s popping up is increased. This includes Google, Yahoo, Yelp, and any other listing site that’s relevant to your industry. The more local places you can be present, the better.
2. Reduce Load Time
Making sure your website is optimized is a step in the process you don’t want to overlook. The speed with which your website loads plays a key role in how your business will rank in search engines. This has always been the case for typed search, and it’s no different for voice search. Think about it. If your website takes forever to load, why wouldn’t pulling it for a search result also be delayed?
3. Use Long-Tail SEO
Frequently when we create content with SEO in mind, we focus on keywords, keeping them short and sweet. The reason being is that when people search for things online, they tend to use short phrases or even one or two words. This has always yielded the best results, but when it comes to optimizing your content for voice search, don’t neglect long-tail keywords or phrases.
Long-tail SEO is probably one of the most effective ways to optimize for voice search, primarily because most searches conducted by voice are significantly longer than text searches. Additionally, long-tail SEO enables you to optimize for featured snippets, which can boost you to the top of the search results.
4. Produce Content That’s Locally Focused
Research indicates that most smart-speaker owners are conducting searches for local items. While most of these are for food and drink reservations, a price of an item from a local business, or to book an appointment, it never hurts to make sure you’re thinking local when it comes to your content. Yes, there are benefits to a content strategy that allows you to appeal to a wider audience. But if you’re too consumed with reaching those that reside outside your state or geographical lines, you’ll fail to even get on the radar of customers that are more accessible to you. So, make sure you’re getting published or featured in local news and media outlets, creating content specific to your town or city, and that you’re on local business review sites and lists.
5. Utilize Structured Data Markup
As mentioned, voice search results depend heavily on things like business listings and featured snippets. Another strategy that works similarly is structured data markup. Structured data allows users to get more information about a business directly on search engines, without the need to actually click through. For instance, address, phone number, menu, details about events, price range, etc. Structured data also enables search engines to scan and present info to users in a much faster and more efficient way. If this sounds confusing, or if you need help in this area, here’s a Structured Data Markup Helper and a step-by-step guide.
Voice search SEO may be different than what you’re used to, but that’s no reason to pretend like your business will be fine if it doesn’t rank in voice search. The reality is, voice search is going to only become more and more of a reality. In fact, it’s predicted that in 2020, 50% of searches will be done by voice. Adjusting your SEO strategy by following the tips above is a great way to start, but don’t stop there. Make sure you’re staying up-to-date with the most current voice search trends out there so you can be ready to adjust your strategy as needed.