As our lives become more stressful, we dream about having a personal assistant to keep us on track. Whether it’s Siri, Cortana, Alexa, or Google, voice search is becoming more integrated into our everyday lives. These intelligent personal assistants are able to do it all: tell us the weather, read the news, make a call, turn the lights on — you name it, they can probably do it.
Why take the time to type out a question that you can say aloud and have it answered instead? Sure, asking a question via desktop is short, sweet, and provides you with a multitude of options. But with voice search, options aren’t popular — it’s all about finding the absolute best choice to answer your question.
It is estimated that by 2020, 50% of all searches will come directly from voice commands. By considering new content strategies, using your local backyard advantage, and catering to Voice Assistants, you can put your business ahead of the curve and bridge the gap between voice search and meaningful content.
With the popularity of voice search steadily increasing, the way we utilize search engines is evolving. When you interact with a Voice Assistant, you are more likely to speak to them the way you would a friend. This conversational tone is changing the way we conduct keyword research to make the most out of a website’s content.
Instead of one overarching keyword strategy, two separate strategies should be created and implemented for optimal success. One strategy will be for text-based searches, which commonly consist of two to three words. The other strategy will be built around voice-activated searches, which will require a more extended, sentence-like structure.
Longer phrases that contain more specific keywords phrases are known as long-tail keywords. The examples below will show the difference between long-tail keywords that are used in a conversational manner versus standard keywords.
Here is an example of how you would search for information through voice search:
How do I write good content for voice search?
What type of keywords should I use in voice search?
Here is how you would ask for the same information through desktop/text search:
Writing content voice search
Voice search keywords
For many businesses, content marketing strategies are already in place. However, the rise of voice search creates a need to implement newer and more functional strategies, which may need to be regularly amended.
Small Business Advantage
Small businesses have home-field advantage when it comes to the realm of voice search. Why? Studies show that voice searches are more likely to be locally based. According to Google, 28% of local searches result in a purchase. There is also a sense of urgency that comes along with these local-based searches.
Imagine you are driving and decide you want a fresh slice of pizza. How do you know where to find the best in town? By using your voice to activate Siri or Cortana through your mobile device, you’ll find where to get the best slice in a matter of seconds. The same idea applies when using Voice Assistants through devices that live in your home, like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Google Home.
In order for voice searches to efficiently display accurate information pertaining to your business, you will need to make sure that all of the relevant information about your business is readily available.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure your business is among the top results:
- Create a Google My Business listing: Remember to update the listing regularly with appropriate keywords.
- Add a Yelp listing: Voice searches through Siri and Alexa position Yelp results first, so you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity.
- Revamp or add an FAQ page: Your customers have questions. Give them the answers they need by filling out your FAQ page with common questions that someone searching for your business may ask.
Keeping your business information up-to-date is essential for the present and future success of your company.
Catering to Voice Assistants
As Voice Assistants become more advanced, the way we implement content needs to evolve to keep up. When writing content geared toward Voice Assistants, there are a few tools to keep in your back pocket.
Sound It Out
Keep in mind how your content sounds when it is read out loud. Is the sentence phrased in a way you would speak to a friend? Or does it seem more robotic? You want your content to sound conversational, in a way that makes sense. Using adverbs such as who, what, when, where, why, and how, can be beneficial, as they are common terms that are used at the beginning of a voice search query.
Boost Schema Markup & Structured Data
Schema consists of microdata or a specific vocabulary of tags that you can add to your HTML. Adding Schema markup, or structured data can improve the way your website is portrayed on search engines like Google or Bing. This data allows search engines to easily understand the content on your site in order to provide users with the best results. Structured data is most often used to provide additional information about events, organizations, people, places, and products. When using voice search, users are typically looking for specific answers to narrow questions. Leverage Schema.org markups to ensure you’re providing users with the data they crave.
Organization Is Key
It’s no secret that data organization is crucial for your content to be read in a way that is meaningful. Although a table may be visually appealing, it may not be the most effective when communicated through voice search. Instead, try organizing content in the form of a list. By doing this, you can utilize Schema, and you have a better chance of appearing as a Google “Featured Snippet.” If you choose to keep your information in a table for visual reasons, creating a paragraph below that turns the table information into more of an explanation can make the data more precise for Voice Assistants to understand and relay to users.
Embracing The Change
Every day, people are searching for everything from the best services around to the most common questions. Ensure your business doesn’t miss out on great opportunities by optimizing your content for voice search. Keep in mind that just because you optimize for voice search doesn’t mean you have to neglect other areas. Having a well-rounded marketing strategy will position your business for ongoing success in this everchanging digital climate.