As technology continues to evolve, new forms of search have emerged, and one of the most significant developments in recent years has been the rise of voice search. Voice search has become increasingly popular, with people using voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant to search for information, make purchases, and control their smart homes. In fact, according to a study by Comscore, by 2020, 50% of all searches will be conducted through voice search. So, what does this mean for search engine optimization (SEO)?
Voice search is different from traditional text-based searches in many ways. For starters, voice search is more conversational, with people asking full questions instead of just entering keywords. This means that SEO strategies that rely on short-tail keywords may not be as effective as they used to be. Additionally, voice search results are often featured in Google’s “featured snippets” or “position zero” results, which can give websites a significant boost in visibility and traffic.
So, how can businesses optimize their websites for voice search? Here are some key strategies:
Focus on long-tail keywords and natural language
When it comes to optimizing your website for voice search, it’s important to focus on long-tail keywords and natural language. Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more specific and less commonly searched for than short-tail keywords. For example, “best Italian restaurant in Brooklyn” is a long-tail keyword, while “Italian restaurant” is a short-tail keyword.
By focusing on long-tail keywords, you can create content that is more targeted and relevant to specific search queries. This can improve your chances of appearing in voice search results for those specific queries. In addition, long-tail keywords are often less competitive than short-tail keywords, which means it may be easier to rank for them.
Natural language refers to the way that people speak in everyday conversations. When people use voice search, they tend to use more natural language than when they type out a search query. For example, instead of typing “best pizza Brooklyn,” someone might say “What’s the best pizza place in Brooklyn?”
To optimize your website for natural language, you should use conversational language in your content and meta tags. This can help your website appear in Google’s featured snippets, which often feature natural language questions and answers.
When researching long-tail keywords, you can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer to find relevant phrases with a high search volume and low competition. It’s important to keep in mind that the phrases you choose should be relevant to your business and the content on your website.
When creating content around long-tail keywords, it’s important to use the keyword in a natural and organic way. Don’t try to stuff the keyword into your content, as this can hurt your SEO performance. Instead, focus on creating high-quality, informative content that naturally incorporates the long-tail keyword.
By focusing on long-tail keywords and natural language, you can improve your website’s visibility in voice search results and attract more targeted traffic to your website. This approach also helps to establish your website as an authoritative source of information in your industry, which can improve your overall SEO performance over time.
Create content that answers questions
Creating content that answers questions is an effective way to optimize your website for voice search. Voice search queries are often phrased as questions, such as “What’s the best restaurant near me?” or “How do I fix a leaky faucet?” By creating content that directly answers these types of questions, you can increase the chances that your website will appear in Google’s featured snippets and other voice search results.
To create content that answers questions, you should first research the questions that your target audience is asking. There are several tools you can use for this, including Google’s Autocomplete feature, which suggests popular search queries as you type in the search bar, and Answer the Public, which provides a list of related questions for any given keyword.
Once you have a list of questions that your target audience is asking, you can create content that directly answers those questions. This can take many forms, including blog posts, FAQ pages, how-to guides, and videos. The key is to provide clear and concise answers that are easy to understand and relevant to the searcher’s query.
When creating content that answers questions, it’s important to use natural language and avoid using overly technical or complex terms. Voice search queries tend to be conversational in nature, so your content should reflect this. You should also try to provide as much value as possible to the searcher, such as by including step-by-step instructions or helpful tips.
In addition to creating content that answers questions, you can also optimize your existing content for voice search by incorporating relevant question-and-answer sections into your content. This can help your content appear in Google’s featured snippets and other voice search results.
By creating content that answers questions, you can improve your website’s visibility in voice search results and attract more traffic to your website. This approach also helps to establish your website as an authoritative source of information in your industry, which can improve your overall SEO performance over time.
Optimize for local search
Optimizing for local search is an important aspect of SEO, especially for businesses that have a physical location or serve customers in specific geographic areas. Local search refers to the process of searching for businesses or services that are located near the user’s location.
To optimize your website for local search, there are several steps you can take:
- Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing: Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google, including their appearance in Google Maps and Google Search. By claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing, you can provide information about your business, such as your address, phone number, business hours, and reviews, which can help your business appear in Google’s local search results.
- Use location-specific keywords: Use location-specific keywords in your website’s content, meta tags, and URLs to indicate the areas where you serve customers. For example, if you’re a dentist in New York City, you might use keywords like “dentist in NYC” or “dental services in Manhattan.”
- Build local backlinks: Backlinks from local websites can help improve your website’s visibility in local search results. Reach out to other local businesses and organizations to see if they would be willing to link to your website.
- Encourage online reviews: Positive reviews from satisfied customers can improve your business’s visibility in local search results. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business page, Yelp, and other relevant review websites.
- Create location-specific content: Creating content that is specific to your local area can help improve your website’s visibility in local search results. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you could create content about the best neighborhoods in your city or the local real estate market.
By optimizing your website for local search, you can improve your visibility in search engines and attract more customers from your local area. With the growing popularity of voice search, optimizing for local search is becoming increasingly important for businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition.
Focus on page speed and mobile-friendliness
Page speed and mobile-friendliness are important factors in optimizing your website for voice search. Voice searches are often done on mobile devices, so it’s important to ensure that your website loads quickly and is easy to navigate on a small screen.
Google has stated that page speed is a ranking factor, and slow-loading websites can negatively impact user experience and result in lower search engine rankings. In addition, slow page speeds can cause users to abandon your website, resulting in higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates.
Mobile-friendliness is also crucial for voice search optimization. Google has implemented a mobile-first index, which means that websites are ranked based on their mobile version rather than their desktop version. This makes it important to ensure that your website is mobile-responsive and easy to navigate on a small screen.
To optimize for mobile, you can start by using a responsive design that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes. You can also simplify navigation and reduce clutter on mobile pages to make it easier for users to find what they are looking for.
In addition to improving page speed and mobile-friendliness, you can also consider implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is an open-source framework that allows you to create fast-loading, mobile-friendly pages that can be cached by Google for quick access.
By focusing on page speed and mobile-friendliness, you can improve user experience and increase your chances of appearing in voice search results. These factors also contribute to overall SEO performance, as they improve user engagement and reduce bounce rates.
Utilize structured data markup
Structured data markup, also known as schema markup, is a way to provide additional information about your website’s content to search engines. This can help search engines understand the context of your content and improve its chances of being featured in Google’s featured snippets.
There are many different types of schema markup that you can use to enhance your website’s content, including organization, local business, product, recipe, and article schema.
For example, if you have a local business, you can use local business schema markup to provide information about your business, such as its name, address, phone number, and business hours. This can help your business appear in Google’s local search results, which can drive more traffic to your website.
If you sell products on your website, you can use product schema markup to provide detailed information about your products, such as their name, description, price, and availability. This can help your products appear in Google’s product search results, which can increase your visibility and drive more sales.
If you publish articles on your website, you can use article schema markup to provide information about your articles, such as their title, author, and publication date. This can help your articles appear in Google’s featured snippets, which can drive more traffic to your website and increase your authority in your industry.
Using structured data markup may sound technical, but there are many tools available that can help you implement it on your website. For example, Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper allows you to easily add structured data markup to your website by simply highlighting the relevant information on your web pages.
Utilizing structured data markup is an important part of optimizing your website for voice search and improving its visibility in search engines. By providing search engines with additional information about your content through schema markup, you can increase your chances of appearing in Google’s featured snippets and position zero results, which can drive more traffic to your website and improve your overall SEO performance.
In conclusion, voice search is becoming increasingly important for SEO as more and more people rely on voice assistants to search for information. Businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition should start optimizing their websites for voice search now.
To optimize your website for voice search, focus on long-tail keywords and natural language, create content that answers questions, optimize for local search, focus on page speed and mobile-friendliness, and utilize structured data markup.
By following these strategies, you can improve your chances of appearing in Google’s featured snippets and position zero results, which can drive more traffic to your website and increase your visibility in search engines. As the adoption of voice search continues to grow, businesses that adapt and optimize for this new form of search will be well-positioned for success in the future.