More and more users are no longer typing in their search query by hand, but are using voice assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, Siri, or Google Voice Search to conveniently speak the search query with their own voice. There is much speculation about the importance of voice search, but what’s clear is the fact that particularly younger users are using voice search regularly. For online marketers, the use of voice control means a change in search behavior and new possibilities for search engine optimization (SEO).
The following tips should help you to use voice search and SEO well in the future:
Identify your target group and possible user questions
By finding out which voice assistants your target group is using, you get to know which search engines are used for voice search: e.g., if your users often use Cortana from Microsoft, the results from Bing are decisive. With this knowledge, you can then optimize your content specifically for other search engines besides Bing.
However, to optimize the voice search, it is mainly important to know the exact questions your customers are asking, because users no longer search for individual keywords, but for complete questions and whole sentences. So, optimizing your content is about answering these questions as precisely as possible. Asking yourself what information users need to understand your products/services and to make purchasing decisions is therefore useful. It is recommended to pick up questions in headings or the meta data to adapt your content even better to the users.
Focus on longtail keywords
As said, users who search using voice no longer enter individual words without context rather whole sentences and especially questions. Longtail keywords are simply closer to everyday usage. So, always be aware of how users would search for a query using voice search, which means use longer combinations of your keywords. The advantage is that many longtail keywords are not as competitive as individual search terms and you have a better chance of a good ranking - even in normal search.
Create FAQ pages
If you know what questions your target group is asking, you can answer them on frequently asked question (FAQ) pages, or even integrate an FAQ on the relevant website, to make them easily accessible and easy to find.
You can use tools such as answerthepublic.com or hypersuggest.com to make your life easy finding out what questions tour customers have about your topic. Even in the Google search itself you will find relevant questions or related topics from which connections to the keyword arise through the suggested search queries or the existing featured snippets and FAQs.
Focus on local searches as well
Voice searches are carried out particularly frequently via mobile devices and have a local reference. For instance, if a user searches for “best bakery near me”, he or she will probably see results from well-rated bakeries specifically from the person’s point of view. When choosing long-tail keywords, make sure that you also integrate the location reference to achieve better rankings in voice search.
Create entries in business directories, Google my Business, Yelp and Co.
That’s not only important for voice-based search: if users enter a local search query or a keyword with a location reference such as “best flower shop”, they will receive information about relevant companies in their area. It is not uncommon for Google to also display the Knowledge Graph, which contains all the important information such as opening times, address and description of the appropriate company and which visually stands out from the organic and paid search results. Since the voice search is particularly relevant locally, as many users search via their smartphone, you should make sure that your Google my Business entry is complete, but as well that you are also listed in business directories on Yelp and other search engines like Bing, to guarantee that the voice assistant has all important information to increase your chances of a good listing.
Use structured data
With the help of structured data, content can be marked as speakable and is therefore ideally suited for voice searches. FAQs and the data for local SEO are also particularly important for speakable content. Structured data make the content of your page understandable for the search engine and enable you to describe and mark content on your website. With schema.org from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! data can be marked on the website. There are various tools that can help you to mark up the data correctly, such as the Google Markup Tool and you can then easily insert the code created with it into the HTML code of your website.
Create high quality content that fits the target group
What generally applies to SEO is also extremely important for voice search, such as e.g. the content must be written for your target audience, and it is actually particularly important for voice search that you write for your users. Identify your target group and adapt the writing style and choice of words to them. Your content should be easy to read and understand. Answer the important questions in a clear and simple way. As mentioned above, you can also include questions in sub-headings and answer them in the following text. Questions can also be included in the meta data, as long as you answer them in the text.
In conclusion it remains to highlight that although there are some special features that must be considered in SEO for voice search, the classic SEO measures apply to voice-based search, too. Not to mention that for mobile devices, a mobile-friendly website and fast loading times are particularly important. (Source: Optimerch)