A new frontier in digital marketing has arrived: voice search. With the rise of Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and other voice assistants, voice search is increasingly growing in demand. Google Home also a boasts an impressive market; between October 2017 and January 2018, Google sold over 6 million of these practical devices. Furthermore, Google claims that voice searches now constitute over 20 percent of total searches on Android devices.
Voice search represents a huge marketing opportunity, but with one caveat: users search differently via voice than they do on keyboards or even with touchscreens. Optimized content is critical for the dawning voice-activated age, and yet, most businesses have no concrete plans for shifting their approach.
Not sure where to start? Read on for key steps you can take to optimize your website for voice search:
First Step: Launch or Update Your Google My Business Listing
Begin voice search optimization efforts by claiming your Google My Business listing. If you’ve yet to claim your business and expand on your listing details, you’re missing a major opportunity for appearing near the beginning of voice search results. This listing is particularly valuable for local searches, which rely on in-depth, up-to-date information. Check your listing regularly; it may otherwise change without your permission, leading to compromised search results.
Voice Search and the Rise of Long-Tail Keywords
The main difference between text and voice-based searches? People are far more succinct when typing. Voice searches, on the other hand, are nearly always phrased as questions. For example, a traditional search for local weather conditions might read “weather in Odessa, TX,” while a smartphone user conducting a voice search may ask, “Siri, what’s the weather going to be like in Odessa today?”
Voice-optimized keywords should mimic how people talk — not how they type. Brainstorm conversational keywords by considering how you would search for a similar business using your voice only. What types of questions might you ask? Now, think about current customers. How do they address their concerns over the phone? Keep these ideas in mind as you craft content featuring long-tail conversational keywords. FAQ-style pages are especially useful for long-tail optimization.
Scoring Featured Snippets
Featured snippets have become the holy grail among businesses optimizing for voice-activated searches on Google. Displayed at the top of each search page (in what is increasingly referred to as ‘position zero’), these brief blurbs provide immediate answers to users’ questions, along with links to detailed information. While users may scroll past these results in text-based searches, they’ll almost assuredly hear them if they search by voice; featured snippets typically serve as a voice assistant’s default answer.
No matter how carefully you craft your keywords and meta descriptions, you’ll fail to capture the audience you desire if you land anywhere other than position zero. Hence, featured snippets represent both an opportunity and a potential liability. To increase your chances of landing that in-demand snippet, integrate conversational keywords into easily scannable content that provides accurate, in-depth information.
Gain an edge on the competition by preparing your website for the voice-dominated world of tomorrow. With a few small content tweaks, you can be a go-to resource for smartphone users and their voice assistant apps.