Contrary to what many people believe, voice search has been around for years.
In 1952, Bell Laboratories created Aubrey, a voice recognition device that could comprehend the numbers 0 to 9 and some chosen English words. IBM’s MedSpeak, capable of understanding continuous speech, came out in 1996. Microsoft joined the league in 2002 when it added text-to-speech technology to its products.
Over the years, voice recognition/voice search technology continued to evolve. Likewise, its popularity grew every year, as more and more people prefer using the technology over the traditional search method. In fact, more than 70% of smart speaker users regularly do voice searches.
Table of Contents
What is Voice Search?
Voice search is an advanced technology that uses speech recognition in helping users search for any information they need. Instead of typing in the search field, all one has to do is “talk” and request the device to find the required information.
Any device equipped with a voice assistant or dialog system is capable of performing voice searches. The most popular voice assistants are Google Voice, Alexa, and Siri.
Aside from searching for information online, voice searches may also carry out the following tasks:
- find video and audio files content
- voice dialing
- request for specific information on particular topics
- clarify requests
- choosing options
- launch programs
Voice Search Characteristics
There are three primary characteristics of voice search: conventional tone, questions, and long-tail keywords; local SEO; and immediate results.
- Voice search relies on a powerful keyword strategy, so it uses conventional tone and long-tail keywords. Users ask specific questions that include words such as what, how, why, when, and where.
When you use the traditional search method and type on the search bar, all you need is a short phrase that includes important words. An example is “bake a cake.” If you’re doing a voice search, you have to be more specific or detailed. You need long-tail keywords. So, “bake a cake” should be “Alexa, how do I bake a red velvet birthday cake?”
- A voice search integrates local SEO because more than 20% of voice queries are focused on local information. If you are looking for a dental clinic in your area, you can ask your device to “show the best dental clinic near me.”
According to Google, “things to do near me” is the most used voice query on its search engine.
- Voice searches are for users who prefer to get immediate results.
When a user searches for “the best Italian restaurant near me,” Google will immediately come up with a list of such restaurants, complete with their location, detailed address, contact number, and distance from where the user is. Users will also see reviews from previous diners.
Knowing these characteristics is an essential factor in coming up with effective strategies for voice search content.
Voice Search Content Strategies
For website owners like you, voice search offers multiple benefits, including increased site traffic, improved brand awareness and visibility, and a better click-through rate. To achieve these benefits, you need to know how to optimize your content.
Here are some suggestions to help you out.
1. Analyze customer type and behavior.
The customer should always be your first priority, so before anything else, understand your customers and their behavior through research and collecting buyer insights. The data gathered will give you an idea of your customers’ consumer behavior.
A good example would be determining how many of your customers prefer to use voice search when deciding which food to order from a restaurant. Another good example would be collecting data on how consumers prefer to communicate with businesses. How many of them prefer using voice-enabled devices?
Understanding your customers will give you several ideas on what type of content will engage and satisfy them.
2. Give importance to conversational phrases and longer/long-tail keywords.
As stated above, a good keyword strategy is vital for successful voice searches. Therefore, you need to focus on using conventional phrases and optimizing your content with long-tail keywords.
Your website content shouldn’t be stiff or formal-sounding; it should be simple and conversational. Furthermore, find time to research for long-tail keywords that are popular and relevant to your business and sprinkle your content with them. An easy way of incorporating these conversational phrases and long-tail keywords is by adding an FAQ page on your website. Some examples of questions are “How can I order food online?” and “Do you deliver orders to (a specific area)?”
Perform keyword research to find out which conversational long-tail keywords are used by the majority of your customers.
3. Apply local SEO to your website, and do not forget to update your Google My Business Listing.
As the majority of voice searches are local in nature, it is essential to incorporate local SEO into your content. For example, if you have a pie shop in New York, optimize your website content so that it mentions specific details about your business.
Include information about your location and address, operating hours, and what kind of pies you offer. So, when people search for “Where is the best apple pie in New York?” or “find the best pie shop near me,” Google will include your business in the list of the best pie shops in the New York area.
It is also a good idea to include the phrase “near me” in your meta description, anchor links, title tags, and internal links. Your content should likewise contain long-tail keywords or phrases commonly used to describe your area or location. So, if your business is in New York, use the phrase “the Big Apple” in your content.
Lastly, do not forget to create your Google My Business listing. Be sure to include your business’ NAP – or Name, Address, and Phone Number.
4. Shift to mobile-first technology.
Many users prefer a mobile-responsive site as most of them use their smartphones for voice searches. Additionally, Google now uses a smartphone Googlebot to crawl the web, a process known as mobile-first indexing.
To optimize your website for mobile use, you have to integrate features that help make voice search easier and more convenient. One good example is AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages, which significantly improves loading time by accelerating the mobile page’s rendering time.
Additionally, Google automatically stores AMP pages, so they do not have to be loaded the next time they are used. AMP’s concept is similar to what happens when you type a website into the search bar, and Google automatically finishes it for you. For example, when you type “fa,” Google will fill it with “facebook.com” because it knows that you spend a lot of time checking your social media accounts.
However, do keep in mind that mobile-first technology is not just about making your website mobile-friendly; it means designing the website for mobile devices first to guarantee a seamless user experience regardless of the device used.
5. Ensure that your website is voice-search-ready.
A user-friendly website with a fast loading time and good quality relevant content can attract visitors. However, it has to have the correct answers to common voice search queries to be considered voice-search-ready.
Use the strategies mentioned above to leverage your content’s capabilities for voice search. Start the process by working with an experienced SEO specialist.
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