Although voice search has been around since 2011, it has only recently become a household name in search marketing and SEO strategies.
Today, over a billion voice searches are conducted every month. A major reason behind this is that 71% of users prefer conducting voice searches to typing due to the constant efforts that have been implemented to improve its accuracy and versatility.
Hence, considering the pace at which the world is moving and the shift in online searches, I wouldn’t be wrong if I brand voice search optimization as the future of online search.
So, how can you ensure your website is optimized to receive the benefits of this up-and-coming trend?
To make this task easier, I’ve compiled and shared below the best ways you can optimize your online presence for voice search in 2023 and beyond.
Voice Search Optimization Strategies
The following are the top effective strategies for voice search optimization.
Target Long-Tail Keywords
Around 70% of searches that are inputted in Google are for long-tail keywords.
The prime difference between manually entering your search query and using voice search for it is that when users use the latter, they tend to behave like they’re conversing with a human.
What happens, as a result, is that they don’t use many short keywords and go for long questions and phrases instead. This is why your content needs to be optimized for long-tail keywords.
But only including those keywords in your content is not enough. It’s also integral that they are phrased conversationally so that when Google is looking for a perfect match to a question, it will pick your answer from the vast pool of other pieces on the web.
Lastly, it has been discovered that long-tail keywords that are in the form of a question are used more often by searchers.
Of course, you’d have to figure out the exact context of those questions according to your niche and then craft your content accordingly.
Create a Strong Content Strategy
In the words of Lee Bolman, “A vision without a strategy remains an illusion.”
If ranking for voice search queries is what you wish to achieve, then a strong content strategy is what I would recommend to achieve this goal.
Start with mapping out who your customer is and their journey. Then, brainstorm questions for each part of their customer journey to ensure you have the solution for all their needs.
With the right content strategy, you can be assured that all types of content can fit into your site structure, leading to increased website visitors. Remember your content needs to be informational, transactional, and navigable.
Here are some tips for a strong content strategy to ace voice search optimization:
Solve a Problem: With every piece of content you post, solve a problem. When you select a topic, cover all aspects of that theme in your post. Go through other search results of the same query and ensure your content is 10x better than theirs.
Tell a story: 55% of consumers can more easily recall a story than a collection of facts. If you want your content to have a lasting impact and achieve more views, focus on sharing your stories.
Make it appealing: The key is to use loads of pictures, infographics, and videos in your posts to hook the attention of your audience and make it visually appealing.
Focus on creating long-form content: Long-form content can garner 77.2% more links as compared to short articles. The greater the number of links, the more the chances of your content being spotted by Google as a high-authority source. For maximum impact of long-form content pieces, aim for articles that are over 2000 words.
Incorporate Mobile-Friendliness into Your Website Structure
With mobile phones accounting for the most number of voice searches from any device, optimizing your site for mobile devices is a no-brainer.
But that’s not it. Even Google has launched mobile-first indexing with the explanation that “Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.”
This means that only websites that have fast response times and offer a hassle-free user experience will be picked by Google for its first-page rankings.
Lastly, use structured data to ensure content relevance for voice search results.
Improve the Loading Speed of Your Website
Google rewards websites with fast loading speeds with higher rankings on the search engine. This applies to voice search optimization as well, wherein improved loading times can lead to better rankings.
Besides, TTFB (Time To First Byte) also plays a significant role in upgrading your Google rankings. This is the duration that your website visitor has to wait until they receive a response to their request.
Moreover, it’s vital to note that mobile bounce rates are 9.56% higher than those on desktop. Smartphone users already have a short attention span, and those using voice search on their devices are even more prone to this.
Hence, to ensure they don’t leave your site without making a purchase or signing up for that newsletter, it’s crucial to improve your loading speeds, especially for mobile devices.
Work on Your Local SEO
It has been reported that 58% of searchers using voice search avail of this feature to search for local business information.
Thus, your local SEO can’t be ignored during voice search optimization since most of these voice search queries are for local businesses.
Take a look at the example below:
This proves that websites have a higher chance of achieving organic rankings when they work on their local SEO optimization strategies.
Here are a few local search ranking factors you need to know:
- Google Assistant tends to provide detailed answers with approximately 41 words.
- Local SEO techniques can be applied to Google Assistant
- You can boost your rankings on Siri by receiving high Yelp ratings and good customer reviews.
With that said, let’s take a look at local SEO strategies for voice search optimization:
- A Google My Business (GMB) profile is a prerequisite for anyone who wants their business to appear in Google’s searches. Remember to mention accurate details about your business, such as its name, phone number, address, etc.
- Create listings on local business directories like Yelp, Yellow Book, Google My Business, Apple Maps, etc., and aim for the maximum amount of positive customer reviews to beat your competition.
- Optimize your URL, headers, content, title tags, and meta description. These are essential for your website regardless of whether you’re a local business.
Learn About Data Optimization
As you may already be aware, voice search only exhibits the most optimized result. This indicates that making your content as relevant to the search query as possible is key to successful voice search optimization.
Plus, your web pages must be easy to crawl and index. If you haven’t worked on this before, then creating a sitemap and submitting it to Google Search Console is an excellent place to get started.
Furthermore, you can opt for structured data markup as well. This enables you to create metadata for your content pieces that informs Google about its context without affecting how the content is displayed.
While structured data markup has no direct impact on rankings, it can definitely boost your content relevance for voice search queries.
The Future of Voice Search
AI has immensely influenced the way we interact with technology, and voice search SEO is a great example of its revolutionizing impact.
The trend of voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa has been on the rise, enabling people to perform activities and find answers to their queries just by speaking.
Did you know that Google Assistant alone supports over 50,000 smart home devices?
These voice assistants are aided by AI technologies to understand and follow spoken instructions in order to provide accurate and relevant responses to user queries.
A key component of AI integration in voice search is natural language processing (NLP). This algorithm is used to analyze and comprehend the context, nuances, and intent of the search query.
Hence, by adopting machine learning techniques like these, voice assistants continue to enhance their understanding and responsiveness, producing more precise and personalized responses with time.
AI-powered voice search SEO takes simple keyword matching one step ahead. This is done by taking into account the user’s intent, conversational context, and semantics meaning, presenting a shift from traditional SEO strategies.
How Has Voice Search Impacted SEO Trends?
It’s no surprise that SEO trends have been immensely impacted by the growing popularity of voice search, transforming the way your online presence is optimized for search engines.
Here are a few of the most notable impacts:
Popularity of Long-Tail Keywords
Voice searches lean towards the conversational end and are longer than manually inputted queries. This has resulted in a surge in the use of long-tail keywords in content writing, mimicking the way voice queries are phrased.
Businesses need to search and incorporate these long-tail keywords to boost visibility in voice search results.
Position Zero and Featured Snippets
Voice assistants take help from featured snippets to provide concise and straightforward answers to search queries. Not only that but 40.7% of responses for a voice search are plucked from a featured snippet.
Websites that can rank in the featured snippets section – also referred to as position zero – have a greater likelihood of being picked by voice assistant for search responses.
This is a prime reason why optimizing content for featured snippets is of critical importance for website SEO.
Local SEO Optimization
As discussed above, a large chunk of voice search queries are conducted for the purpose of extracting information about local businesses, such as exploring a nearby salon or restaurant.
Therefore, adopting local SEO strategies has become integral to garnering voice search traffic.
For this purpose, businesses can get started by creating a Google My Business Listing, collecting positive reviews, and updating their information regularly for utmost accuracy.
Attention to Mobile-Friendliness
Mostly, it’s the mobile phone users that perform voice searches. Thus, mobile-friendliness has become an essential aspect of SEO.
This includes efforts to enhance website responsiveness loading times and create a hassle-free user experience for the escalating voice search users.
Structured Data Markup
Structured data markup allows search engines to understand the context and content of a page more effectively.
A few markups you can integrate into your content include reviews, FAQs, and ratings, all of which can be used by voice assistants to find the most informative and detailed responses.
This makes it evident that voice search will continue to dominate search marketing in the near future, making it imperative for businesses to step up their voice search optimization techniques to boost their overall marketing strategy.
Remember that voice search is here to stay. If you’re not going to revamp your strategies accordingly, you may end up giving up your customers to your competitors, compromising your online presence.
That being said, what do you think about voice search optimization? Have you started optimizing your website already? If not, this is your signal to do so.
If you have any queries about the topic or are curious about other SEO trends, you need to look out for them, share your questions below, and wait for my next post for further SEO enlightenment.
Read More: Navigating SEO with Visual Search in 2023
Cyble Rizwan is a Senior Content Writer at SocialSharings. With more than 1.5 years of dedicated experience in copywriting and SEO, Cyble is deeply passionate about the digital world and follows the industry closely to stay on top of trends in digital marketing. Cyble is pursuing a degree in Digital Business and has written for several major brands such as Tenorshare, DOBA, and more.