Voice Search: How To Optimize for Voice Search Summary

Voice search has gained a huge mileage over the years because, unlike typing, speaking with an assistant is more convenient. Plus, their results are quick, concise, and to the point.

Firstly, check out these popular statistics highlighting how voice search has come to stay;

  • According to a keynote address by CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, “one out of five Google search queries are searched by voice.”
  • Teenagers are the highest users of voice search. But according to thrive analytics “everyone uses personal assistants, regardless of the age group.”

Where do they commonly use voice search?

They use it everywhere- on the go, with friends, families. Even sitting on the toilet!

Since the use of a digital assistant has skyrocketed over the years, optimizing for voice search is critical for your website’s SEO success.

In this short guide, I’ll walk you through everything you should know about voice search and how your website can be optimized for voice search.

Voice search is a dialogue system

Yes, you heard that right! Voice search is a dialogue system- A more advanced dialogue system.

What is a dialogue system?

A dialogue system is a digital set up created to dialogue with human beings. A dialogue system uses several communication modes like speech and text as an input/output signal.

How is Voice Search Different from Traditional Search?

There’s a big difference between speaking with a device to fetch answers to your query and typing the query on your device.

Here are the differences:

1. Keywords Are Longer And More Conversational On Voice Search

Whenever we speak with a smart device and make queries, we usually ask the question as a whole rather than use a few dedicated keywords.

For example, on a desktop, we might type “prepare coffee” or “coffee recipe.” Here are statistics representing the average number of words for typing searches.

But with voice search, it’s different. We might say, “How can I prepare my coffee at home?”

The length of keywords for the above two searches is noticeably different, with the voice search being longer and more interactive than the traditional typing method.

According to Purna Virji, a popular PPC expert at Microsoft, “voice queries are a much conversational option compared to text queries.”

2. Voice queries are common in local listing searches

The most common voice search request consists mainly of “near me” questions; this shows many people use this search method to find a place to visit, restaurant to eat, resort to relax, and more. 

In addition to places, people also search for information about things and time.

People increasingly use voice search not only about these locations, but in public locations like restaurants, restrooms, theaters, and more. Often, these searches are for other local businesses and information related to them.

3. Voice search results are crisp and concise

Results from voice search are sharp and to the point. These voice search results are usually the featured snippets that we see when we are typing searches.

Google utilizes the knowledge of rich snippets and knowledge graphs to provide answers to voice search (more details on that below). 

Anyone searching for information wants a quick answer, and that’s how voice search works.

Why Is Voice Search Growing So Quickly?

Let’s take, for example, you’re in the middle of a DIY craft painting session and missed a step. You don’t want to use your stained hands on your smartphone.

Think of an easy way out?

The voice search assistant can help you recover any lost step, and you can continue with your handcrafting section.

There are lots of examples and situations where voice search has saved the day.

Here are the basic reasons why voice search is growing so quickly day by day:

1. Voice search is easier and faster

Voice search is undoubtedly quicker than a typical traditional way of searching for a query, and that’s the major reason why many people are beginning to adopt the trend. 

2. Voice search is more convenient

In today’s world, time is money. Many people don’t have the time to type their queries. When it’s only a few words away to the answer, people tend to thread the easier road.

If we were asked to choose between speaking and typing when searching for long-tail keywords like “which Country is the biggest in the world after the United States,” we obviously would go for the “speaking” option.

3. Voice Search is perfect for Mobile platform 

This is probably the key reason why voice search has grown so quickly and viral among people today. Smartphones have paved the way for search assistants because many mobile users leverage voice search more than they do with typing.

The vast majority of voice searches are done on mobile, and 59% of total searches are made by mobile users.  This statistic focuses on how critical mobile is when it comes to voice search; mobile holds the key to the future of voice search.

Doing Keyword Research for Voice Search

Since we now understand how voice search works and its different features, we also need to learn how to do keyword research for voice queries. 

Here are some points you need to keep in mind when doing keyword research for voice: 

1. Always target question keywords 

Most voice search queries contain question words like why, when, what, how, where. Always include these words when adding keywords for voice search. 

2. Go for long tail keywords 

Many people use long-tail keywords to search for a voice query. We should always include long talk keywords when optimizing for voice searches. 

3. Include filler words 

You should also include filler words in questions as it makes the query more natural and conversational. Some examples of filler words include, “the, I, on the, of the, for, to, and more”.

These points are critical to your keyword research success. You should integrate these points into your keyword strategy for better results. 

How Should I Optimize My Content For Voice Search

In these times of voice search, the competition will continue to increase in the coming years. Therefore, SEO webmasters and marketers must cultivate the habit of having their content optimized for voice search. Doing this, your content will rank better, and your organic reach will widen.

Here is how to optimize your content for voice search:

Optimize content for Rich Answers

According to a voice search study from SEMrush, “70% of answers got from voice queries have a SERP feature”.

Most smart devices with voice search features will have a similar answer to a particular question, and in most cases, the answers are the rich answers for the question.

We need to familiarize ourselves with some SEO terms in order to understand the whole concept better.

1. Knowledge Graph

It represents Google’s knowledge base. It stores several facts about people and things.

2. Knowledge Panel

Those are the information you see on the right side of the Google search result, especially whenever a business is searched on Google. 

3. Knowledge Box

This looks the same as a knowledge panel- knowledge boxes are information from the knowledge graph, which are factual, and they appear like other typical search results.

4. Featured snippet

Featured snippets come from third party sources. They are the information that Google displays at the top of the organic results, which attributes to the original source: what it does is to provide crisp and concise answers.

5. Rich Answer

A search result that contains any of these features is called a rich answer. For user satisfaction, Google usually shows rich answers to questions, which has substantially risen over the years.

Analyze and restructure your content

As mentioned earlier, voice search is more conversational than regular searches. So we need to re-imagine and restructure our content.

What you should work towards is to add brief and to the point questions and answers to enhance the content layout and improve its voice search feature.

Google is more interested in quick, concise answers to voice search questions. Voice search results are generally about 29 words.

A recent voice search study of Google Assistant by SEMrush discovered that “text length of the answers returned was around 41 words- almost similar for all devices”.

All these are critical insights about how we should structure our content for better ranking on voice search results.

Add FAQ sections, make sure they have question keywords, and keep them short too.

These factors are conditions for ranking on voice search.

Using the FAQ-style format will allow Google to easily pull out your website content and rank it as a rich snippet.

Another best practice to help rank your website for voice search is to use pointers to break down your web content into smaller fractions.

Use Conversational languages

Being conversational is one of the key features of voice search, and we should utilize this.

The more robotic language we include in our content, the fewer our chances of ranking in voice search results.

Using natural language on the contents we write and publish can hugely benefit us.

It is essential to understand the searcher’s intent if you want to know how people ask verbal queries.

Be sure to understand the query style used by users when using voice search by asking yourself: 

  • What kind of question keywords do people use?
  • What’s their conversational style?
  • What question do people frequently ask?
  • What type of answers best suits these queries?
  • What are the best answers that frequently pop up on voice search results?

Answering the following questions with data-driven insight will give you an idea of what users want when they do a voice search.

Quick Tip: Improve your website loading time

While this is an important factor for voice search success, many times, this factor goes unnoticed. However, that does not reduce its importance.

Slow-loading websites are always abandoned, unlike those with quick load time.

Website loading speed has an effect on the bounce rate, and therefore, should be well optimized.

A speed update released by Google emphasis on optimizing websites for better load time. And the rule remains the same with voice search. People (especially voice searchers) need quick results, so if your website has a slow load time, your content won’t be a solution to their verbal queries.

Check out these quick lists of the ‘DO’s’ for website loading speeds.

  • Always compress your website images and videos
  • Always use HTML and CSS3 frameworks because they are known to load web pages faster
  • Reduce HTTP requests
  • Reduce the number of plugins on your site
  • Give Content Delivery Network (CDN) a try

Above all, slow page loading speed plays a critical role in your website’s conversion rate and bounce rate.

Mobile First

Larger parts of the announcement at Google I/O 2019 were either on mobile or directly related to its tools. Google emphasized the mobile experience and promised to improve on it every day.

When it comes to voice search, mobile beats every other device, because the majority of voice search is done on mobile. Get your website optimized for a better mobile user experience.

The key is creating mobile-friendly content and taking a mobile-first approach. Here’s a quick checklist of what to pay attention to:

  • Create a mobile-friendly website
  • Run a test for your site to check if it’s mobile-friendly
  • Your website must be easy to navigate to increase exposure and visibility to your content.

Mobile remains the future of search, and vocal queries are not left out. Creating or optimizing a website for mobile is an SEO practice that should be taken seriously.

Utilize Google My Business Listings

As mentioned earlier, many people use voice queries for “near me” searches. Your Google My Business Listing will determine whether or not we rank for these searches.

Google My Business Listing is a way of informing Google of the location of a particular business. When people ask Google to list out businesses in that area, your website could pop up for the search.

You must include the Name, Address, and Phone number of your business in the listing. Also, selecting the right categories and adding the correct area code is crucial. You can make your business stand out by adding posts with news or exclusive updates.

So if you’re yet to have a Google My Business Listing, now is the perfect time to do so. Give this a try, and you will be amazed by the positive results.

Targeting local keywords and gaining more search ranking is another valuable way of ranking for near me searches.

Extra tip: Improve overall readability

Writing a sharp, crisp, and readable content is a pretty much important factor that we somehow overlook. Concise and high-quality writing is one of the factors considered for website ranking. Avoid tech jargon and use simple, natural words.

The Ball Is In Your Court

As the year goes by, voice search keeps increasing in significance, and soon its influence will spread like wildfire. Consumer behavior keeps changing, and as a marketer, you must always be prepared to flow with the trend.

Tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have already had their sites optimized for voice search, giving them an edge over others. Your website has to specialize in voice search SEO and monetization to stay ahead.

The strategies listed above will help your website rank higher for voice search. What’s your best working strategy?