Hey Siri… how do I optimize my blog for voice search? While you most likely didn’t find this blog by asking your digital friend that question – whether it be Sir, Alexa, or Google – we’re willing to bet that you have some sort of automated buddy in your life. And you’re not alone.
About 20% of US adults use some form of a smart home speaker. The reality is that people want answers and solutions faster than ever and automated assistants are making it happen.
They can relay you the news, play your favorite album, and inform you of the weather, but overall it’s not just about using them for simple tasks, they’re being used for search.
No more scrolling through pages of Google results to find your answer, just let the assistant do all the thinking for you just about instantly
Of course, these assistants are nice in our personal lives, but they also make a big difference for your business as well.
A NEW DAY FOR USERS AND SEARCH ENGINES
As the average internet citizen has become more complicated, so have the search engines. In this age of mobilization, it is no surprise that close to 1 in 5 of all mobile searches are now voice searches – and according to ComScore, half of all searches will be made by voice this year.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Your marketing and keyword strategy should be shifting to encompass these search engine changes.
The reality is people use voice and manual searches differently. In a manual search, you perform your own process of refinement. You will normally start with a broad idea and narrow it down by clicking a few links and changing your search options as you learn more.
With voice search, follow up questions serve as the refinement process. A voice assistant uses conversation to find the answers you need. Ultimately it provides the user with 1 result, taking the result search out of the user’s hands.
So how can your business still rank in a voice-controlled future? It’s not as complicated as it may seem.
A SHORT SEO HISTORY LESSON
Let’s take a brief look at how keywords and internet searching have changed over the year before we dive into how to use it.
It used to be simple (or maybe it just seems that way). You want to rank on the first page for “Best fried chicken Memphis”? Then cram every piece of content on your website with the keywords “best chicken” and “Memphis.”
Things have changed, it seems. Services like Google has started penalizing businesses for “keyword stuffing”, as it used to be in the example above. With voice search, keyword stuffing and placing exact keywords in your blog title aren’t as necessary. According to Backlinko, Google’s voice algorithm appears to have lowered the importance of a specific page’s title (at least in comparison to desktop search, where it still plays a role).
This doesn’t mean that keywords are completely useless. Instead, wfocus on search intent when creating your next blog.
Search intent is the ultimate goal of the search engine user. This should be your guiding light when writing your content.
Rather than attempting to continually fit exact keyword phrases into a blog however many times, you should be writing content that aims to answer your reader’s question completely.
With features like voice search, users aren’t being so specific as “best fried chicken in Memphis.” In reality, it’s more like phrases akin to, “I’m hungry, where can I get food nearby?” Google and other IPs recognized that, and as the internet user grew in complexity, so did the internet search algorithm.
To rank in SEO, you have to be strategic and creative in your keyword usage. Want to be known for the best chicken in the Memphis area? With your perfect client in mind, think through their needs, problems, and solutions – then build a keyword strategy around your research. Using a variation of keywords related to your topic like “Crispy-fried” or “Home Cooking” may help your overall rank
What does all this have to do with voice search? It’s just another progression in keyword strategy. When creating a keyword strategy, you can no longer only think about the way someone would type a keyword, you have to think about how they would say it out loud.
SOME FACTS ABOUT VOICE SEARCH
From our friends at Backlinko.
- Voice searches are 30x more likely to be action queries – command based.
- Voice searches are 76.1% longer than text-based searches.
- The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds.
- The industries most affected by voice search are local services and food-based industries.
- All voice search assistants utilize a slightly different algorithm and ranking process. Just like traditional search engines, each platform does something different.
- As of January 2018, there were an estimated one billion voice searches per month, per Alpine.AI.
5 WAYS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR BLOG FOR VOICE SEARCH IN 2020
Now, for some ways YOU can make your blog voice-search ready. While re-creating your entire website and every piece of content may not be feasible for your brand, here are a few tips to incorporate into your blog strategy in the future.
1. AUTHORITY IS IMPORTANT
The average Domain Rating of a voice search result is 76.8. Therefore, Google’s Voice Search Algorithm may prioritize trusted, authoritative sources..
- Link to reputable sources and make content that others will want to link to.
- Create “complete content” (content that Google considers comprehensive).
2. SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE
The average Google voice search result is written at a 9th grade level.
- Keep your language simple and conversation like.
- Directly answer questions in the copy of your blog.
3. ENCOURAGE SHARING AND ENGAGEMENT
Content with high levels of engagement tends to perform well in a voice search. On average, voice search results have 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets.
- Use “click to share” to create an easy call to action.
- Make sure you include social sharing buttons at the end.
- Ask them to like and share! EZ PZ!
4. JUST WRITE MORE
On average the word count of a voice search result is 2,312 words. Therefore, Google likes to source voice answers from long-form content.
- Longer content means more chances for the text on your page to “match” a voice search.
- FAQ pages tend to perform well in voice searches.
- Write content in a conversational voice that answers the questions the consumers are asking.
**Website content in the era of voice search isn’t about keywords, it’s about semantic search and building the context related to answering a question.**
5. FIGHT FOR YOUR RANK
You should be battling for a high ranking and possibly even a featured section. Approximately 3/4 of voice search results rank in the top 3 for that query, while 40.7% of all voice answers came from a featured section.
- Content that ranks high on desktop searches is highly likely to appear as a voice search answer. In other words, the higher a page ranks for a specific keyword, the more likely Google will choose that page as the voice search result.
In a world where using voice search has become as common as having a morning cup of joe, it’s important that your strategy continues to evolve.
Make sure that you are using the tips outlined above to optimize every piece of content for voice search!
If you are looking for more information about how the marketing landscape is evolving, it’s as easy as saying “Hey Siri, take me to Clear Marketing’s blog.” Try it! Although, we’re not responsible for the looks you get for talking to a robot… It’s 2020 after all. 🤖 *beep-boop*