Optimizing website content for voice search
With voice search technologies occupying half of all queries, it stands to reason to optimize your website accordingly to enhance your chances of overtaking competitors.
Three reasons for voice search popularity:
- It's fast. A person can say 100-130 words per minute when using voice search, compared to 35-40 words when typing. Here you don't need to structure your query as a keyword. Google confirms that 70% of voice search queries consist of natural language: a user speaks to digital assistants the same way that he would ask a friend.
- It's perfect for mobile. Around 60% of searchers use mobile voice search at least "some of the time," as it's more comfortable to ask quickly and get a fast answer than type a query at a small display.
- It's more convenient. Typing a long-tail keyword a la "what are the best copywriting tactics to try this year" on your iPhone is a pain. But saying it out loud is a lot easier.
Voice search changes how people look for information, where they look for it and how they get results. So, if you want your website to stay afloat and appear at the top of SERP, it's high time to optimize content accordingly.
In his corresponding article, Robert Katai refers to a so-called "position V" and recommends to concentrate on other details besides the website content itself. Pay attention to page speed, secure your website with SSL, and think of social media content: these factors influence your ranks in search engines too.
As for the website content, it needs to give direct answers to people's questions to appear in SERP via voice search. For that, do the following:
1) Optimize your keyword research
Voice searches are 76% longer than text-based ones because of their natural language: users don't concentrate on 2-3 specific words to write a query but just "talk" to a voice assistant the way they speak. With that in mind, optimize the content for long-tail and low-volume keywords.
For that, you can mix "hidden" keywords in your content. Use niche keywords, add vertical ones, mention your brand name and names of influencers in your niche, and pay the most attention to user-generated keywords. The last-mentioned group is what users consider when searching for information online.
SEO specialists know such keywords as voice-friendly: when using a voice search, a person is more likely to add these words to the question. Consider them when writing headlines and creating interactive content for your website.
Create an FAQ page that will give simple and clear answers to users' questions. Or, structure the content accordingly to increase your chances of winning a SERP "position zero" (a snippet):
Also, don't forget about yourlocal SEO: address, location keywords in titles and descriptions, links and mentions, customer feedback, on-page signals, behavioral factors, etc.
2) Write content with voice search in mind
With natural language prevailing in voice search questions, you need to write answers accordingly. Although people may use long sentences to formulate their queries, they expect to find short and concise answers in your content.
As Brian Dean mentioned in his voice search SEO study, "the typical voice search result is only 29 words in length." So, the shorter your answer, the more likely people will read it first. Simple words, short sentences, and active verbs inviting a reader to act are your best helpers here.
Add buzzwords your readers use. But avoid jargon and fancy words that make your content more difficult to read. Write it for a 13-14-years-old to understand. For that, check its readability before publishing.
Include questions in content. For example, you know that readers ask in a query: "How to start a blog and make money?" Consider it when writing your content: mention the question in your title and text.
Optimize texts for "near me" keywords if you run a local business, as it's a phrase many people use when searching via voice.
Create a long-form content of 2,000+ words to make sure it'll answer at least some questions of your readers. But it should be informative and comprehensive, as well. A primary example is Adam Enfroy's blog: his business articles are extremely long and yet full of actionable advice.
Also, make it mobile-friendly for users to click and find it useful: short words and paragraphs (yes, again!), plenty of white space, many subheads, bullet and numbered points, optimized pictures and videos, etc.
Write for Google snippets. Most of voice search results come in the form of step-by-step tips from a position zero. With that in mind, structure your content so it would look the most obvious choice for Google to put it there.
Featured snippets are not by lists alone. It can be tables, paragraphs, or videos. To win the struggle for a SERP top, make sure to optimize your video content, too.
Videos work best for "how-to" searches. Google suggests the most relevant result in snippets, highlighting a 90-second clip in the blue bar, that is likely to answer a user's question. To optimize your video content accordingly, organize it in a step-by-step format, use long-tail keywords for its description, and upload a script for its captions.
So, here's your checklist:
To optimize your website for voice search, do this:
- Check your content for plagiarism and spam.
- Use Q&A, LSI, long-tail keywords.
- Update and expand your content regularly, and don't forget to publish new.
- Track and improve the dwell time of your website pages.
- Use the SSL protocol.
- Do the audit regularly, and correct all critical errors.
- Optimize everything for mobile: from fonts to page speed.
- Optimize the size of images and videos.
- Customize randomizing.
- Close the service pages of your site from indexation.
- Update your sitemap regularly.
- Use video content on the website, create a Youtube channel.
- Regularly publish to social media with backlinks to your website.
- Create content that brings value to users, not your marketing team.
Voice search optimization is a big room to experiment and come up with new promotion strategies for your website. Yes, it takes time and energy. But isn't it better to start right now and stay on track with the latest trends in SEO?
Guest Contributor: Lesley Vos specializes in data and web research.