As most people do not type the way that they speak, this has huge implications for the future of SEO. Websites that are currently optimised for search and rank well on SERPs may not be as easily found for a voice search.
The shift to voice search will change the way that digital content is managed, creating more challenges for digital marketers who are trying to ensure their content is found when a voice search is conducted.
To succeed in this next wave of SEO, you will have to adjust your current strategy and way of thinking to employ new techniques that answer voice search queries.
1. Conduct Keyword Research for Voice
People type and speak differently, so the first step in optimising your site for voice search is to understand the semantic differences in queries. In most cases, people will use more words in a voice search. For example, if someone is looking for a new smartphone, on a keyboard they’ll likely type ‘new smartphone’. On voice search, however they are more likely to say, ‘what is the best new smartphone?’
Long-tail keywords will become more relevant, so consider the questions people might ask related to your target keywords. As well as Google’s keyword planner, Answer the Public is a great tool to help with this.
2. Consider the Buyer Journey In Your Site Design
After you’ve conducted keyword research to discover the questions people ask around your brand, you should consider which stage of the buying journey they relate to. This ensures that your website can be found through voice search at any stage the customer needs.
Consider the following stages of the customer journey:
- Awareness: “What’s the best new smartphone?”
- Interest: “Can you choose the colour of the new iPhone?”
- Evaluation: “Which brand has the better camera, Apple or Samsung?”
- Purchase: “How much does an iPhone cost?”
Bear in mind that these content queries shouldn’t just be answered in blogs and then posted on your site. In order to be most effective, it should inform your entire site structure and on-page content strategy. This will involve getting involvement from a range of departments in your company such as developers, designers and content creators, to name a few.
3. Ensure Your Technical SEO is Up to Date
With regular SEO, any position on the front page is desirable. However, with voice search there is only one answer to a query so you need to be in the top spot. In order to do this, you have to show Google (or the search engine in question) that your website has the most relevant result.
This can be achieved through content, but also through technical SEO. Ensuring your pages are easy to crawl is key, so submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console is essential. Using structured data (schema) markup can also help Google bots better understand your content and its relevance to a search query. Reach out to a content marketing agency for assistance with SEO.
4. Optimise for both Mobile & Voice
Updates to search algorithms have forced SEO to focus on “mobile-first”. Given the current predictions for voice search, the focus may shift from mobile in the coming years. However, a mobile strategy is likely to be easily adapted to voice as these are interlinked.
Most voice searches come from mobile devices so most of the things that you do to optimize for voice search is also beneficial for mobile and vice versa.
Users expect quick results when searching for information on the go, so page speed is a mobile ranking factor. Improving page and site speed is valuable for both strategies. In addition, most mobile and voice searches are most often based on location, as users are looking for products and services near them. As such, optimising content for local search results, will help with both your mobile and voice strategies. Creating a Google My Business account is the first step to optimising your local SEO.
5. Stay One Step Ahead
There are already many steps that you can take now to ensure your SEM strategy is optimised for voice. Home voice assistants and the use of voice search on mobile are only now gaining popularity. As Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and other big technology brands are constantly innovating and developing new features for to improve voice search, consumers are learning more about the functionalities and capabilities of these programs and starting to adopt them in their every day lives.
The most important thing you can do to stay ahead of the curve with voice search is to be prepared for technical developments and ready to update your strategy as they are rolled out. In addition, as more people adopt the technology, you should use analytic insights into how they interact with the program to work out the best way for your business to optimise your voice search strategy.