According to Location World, 40% of adults now use voice search at least once per day. Voice search and voice search queries are becoming a mainstay, whether adults are talking to Siri or Cortana on their phones, or asking Alexa or Google Home a question on a voice-activated speaker. As business professionals, it’s important that you learn how to optimize for voice search so that you are not missing out on these inquiries.
How to Optimize for Voice Search
The main objective of correctly optimizing for voice search is to predict the goal of the person making the inquiry—otherwise known as optimizing for search intent. We discuss search intent in our keyword targeting blog post. Simply put, search intent is the exact item the searcher trying to figure out through their search. What results are they expecting and what question are they trying to answer? Because voice search is based on questions rather than keywords, it’s important to understand what someone may ask that would then lead an Alexa/Siri/Cortana to answer the question with information from your website.
Because we’ve been trained to think in keywords and search terms, it can be difficult to think in terms of questions and inquiries. Answer the Public is a great way to start thinking in questions. With Answer the Public, you can type in a keyword and it will give you all of the questions one might ask related to that keyword in terms of How, Are, Will, Can, Where, Which, Who, What, When, and Why. For instance, if you type in “pizza,” some questions that you get are: “Which pizza is the best,” “Why is pizza in a square box,” “Are pizza pockets bad for you,” and the list goes on.
Use these questions to build out better and more relevant content on your website that caters to voice search.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
One way to optimize for voice search is to have a FAQ page on your website. If there are certain keywords that you are targeting and common questions associated with those keywords, creating a webpage with those questions and detailed answers can help voice search engines find your site and use your answer as their own. Appliances like Google Home will even say the website address and send a link to the searcher’s Google Home app. However, like all things search engine optimization (SEO), just because you have a FAQ page on your website does not necessarily mean your website will be the one a voice search engine will use. But, having a FAQ page will certainly help.
Featured Snippets and Rich Results
What was known as “featured snippets” has now been renamed “rich results” and includes all of Google’s special search result features and enhancements. Search Engine Land released an article that discusses how to use structured data or schema to boost the likelihood that you’ll show up in rich results. For the purpose of this blog post, we will just discuss the content aspect of rich results.
You have a better likelihood of coming up in rich results by doing the things mentioned above: figuring out specific questions that people are asking and providing high quality, relevant answers to those questions. Voice search engines tend to use rich results to answer questions, which is why they are important to voice search along with general SEO. One thing to note is that you most likely will not be featured in a rich result unless you are already on the first page of the search results for that search term/inquiry.
Google has already begun to roll out its mobile-first index to a few sites, with many more sites to come. Not only should you ensure your website is mobile-friendly from an SEO perspective, but you should also do it because mobile phones are still the number one device used for voice search. If your website is used as an answer to a voice search question, it’s important that the searcher can easily navigate and view your website in its entirety. Google has a tool that you can use to test whether or not your website is mobile-friendly and ready for the mobile-first index.
It’s important to note that while learning how to optimize for voice search is important to increasing your online visibility, your primary goal should always be to provide valuable and relevant content to potential and current customers. The more often you can answer questions, provide interesting information, and otherwise make your potential and current customers’ lives easier, the more likely you will be able to increase the traffic to your website and garner additional business for your company.
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