Is voice search taking over typed queries in 2021?
If SEO experts are to be believed, this is indeed happening and at a fast pace. Andrew NG, the British-born American scientist, had said that 50% of all searches would be voice-initiated by 2020, and he seems to have predicted perfectly.
The preference for voice search over typed search is based on some sound logic. It is faster, more convenient with no clicking involved, and you can initiate a voice search as soon as you think of something you want to know about without having to pull out the laptop or reaching for the mobile keypad.
Alexa, Google Home, Cortana, and Siri are personal assistants that have become popular over the past couple of years.
Voice search is not the next big thing in technology. It is already here, and it is the future as well. And if you think voice search is happening only on mobile devices, you are off the mark. More people are using voice search on their desktops and smart speakers.
With the forecast for a quantum rise in voice search becoming a reality, it has become important for marketers to focus on creating content that is optimized for voice search.
Those who don’t move fast will find it tough to gain organic traction. With the competition for higher search engine rankings becoming fiercer, it is critical to devise SEO strategies that can optimize your content for voice search.
Voice search optimization is not restricted to website content, it also includes your domain name. These days, people dictate domain names to their phones to open websites. In this case, it is important that your domain name is uncomplicated and rich keywords. You can use new domain extensions such as .tech, .store, .online, .site, etc. to get a unique sounding domain name that is easy to pronounce for users and easier to detect for devices.
In this article, we have listed some proven voice search strategies that can be employed to boost your organic reach.
SEO strategies to optimize your content for voice search
- Restructure your content
Voice searches are different from typed or traditional searches; they are more conversational. That is why your content needs to be restructured and refurbished to match the voice search patterns. The content layout must include a succinct Q and A format to make it voice search-friendly.
A study on voice search shows that Google prefers concise answers to voice search queries. This is good input for marketers as they can use the information to structure old content to rank better on search engines for voice search results.
It is a good idea to include an FAQ page or Frequently Asked Questions section, specifically on product pages and blog posts, making it easy to include question keywords in the content. The FAQ-style format allows Google to easily pull any content from it and display it as a rich snippet.
Another effective way of restructuring content is to break the bigger paragraphs into smaller fragments of content. This is a highly recommended practice and can make your content easily available for voice searches.
- Use conversational language
A conversational tone and language is a key characteristic of a voice search query. Flat and robotic formatting is unlikely to get you any results, as there is little chance of such content showing up in voice search results.
For your content to be found in voice search results, you need to introduce a natural, conversational language in the content. You also need to understand what kind of questions people ask or are likely to ask in a voice search. Knowing the intent of the user is vital for boosting the search engine rankings of your content.
You can start with research on the following:
- Question keywords used for voice searches
- Conversation style
- Type of questions
- The most appropriate type of answers for the queries
It is also important to know the answers that are performing well and being displayed in voice search results. When you find the right answers to these questions, you can make appropriate changes to your content and improve the chances of your content ranking higher in search results.
- Target long-tail keywords
It is obvious that voice searches will be longer than traditional typed searches because they are conversational in format and style. It is not practical to create content independently for every voice search term. Instead, you need to include all search terms in a detailed post.
This can be done by using long-form content with all the long-tail keywords that appear in voice queries. These types of keywords can be combined with filler words to deliver desired results in voice search rankings.
- Improve website loading time
Search engines favor websites that load quickly. Website loading speed has an impact on bounce rate too. This is why website optimization should be your top priority.
The same rules come into play during voice searches. It is obvious that voice searches and speed are two sides of the same coin. Voice searchers expect fast results.
Slow-loading websites will not show up in search results for verbal queries. It’s worth mentioning here that a Speed Update released by Google also places a lot of importance on optimizing website load times.
Here’s how to speed up your website:
- Use compressed images and videos
- Minimize redirects and plugins on the site
- Use Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- CSS3 and HTML5 frameworks are recommended for faster loading of mobile web pages
- Reduce HTTP requests
- Minify Style Sheets
If you are not sure whether your website speed is good enough for voice searches, Google Pagespeed Insights can help you check your website speed accurately.
- Optimize for rich answers
A 2019 voice search study revealed that 70% of all answers resulting from voice searches had a SERP feature. A SERP feature is any SERP result on Google that is not a traditional organic result.
When your website is optimized for some vital SERP features, it delivers what is known as a rich answer for a specific question.
What are these SERP features?
- Knowledge Graph
It is the knowledge base that stores and absorbs information about everything, including people, places, and things.
- Knowledge Panel
This is the small box seen at the right of search results. The information provided here comes from Google Knowledge Graph.
- Knowledge Box
It is similar to the Knowledge Panel.
- Featured Snippet
Google displays snippets that come from third-party sources. It is displayed on top of the organic results above the ads, with an acknowledgment of the original information source. Users can get a quick view of the answer in a concise format.
Any search result with the above features is called a rich answer. Google shows rich answers frequently to deliver the best user experience. An optimized answer will show up at the top spot in voice search results as rich answers gain prominence.
Different smart devices with voice search capability will likely provide a similar answer to specific queries.
There are a few other things that can be done to optimize your content for voice search.
- Ensure that your content is mobile-friendly.
- Build a mobile-responsive website for better reach.
- Use the power of Google My Business Listings to rank your business for a query related to your location.
- Improve content readability.
Voice search is already a huge trend and is getting more importance and value. Voice SEO is the new standard for best optimization practices.
It must be understood that the things you do for voice optimization also apply to all your general SEO practices.
The strategies listed here can help you rank better for voice search and ensure a sound voice search optimization strategy.