For companies looking to reach or stay at the top of the search engine results page, voice search ranking has become a unique concern that will only continue to grow in prominence. 41% of adults use voice search at least once a day, and that number will only continue to rise as more companies become adept at voice search solutions that make it easier for their customers to get what they want without using their keyboards.
Some of the most popular voice searches include music and weather forecasts, but online queries currently represent 47% of smart speaker searches and are growing fast. To take advantage of this feature, businesses must ensure that their website complies with current and evolving SEO for voice search standards.
Today, we’ll discuss some of these best practices and explain how businesses can update and improve their content marketing to better rank for voice search.
What is Voice Search SEO?
Voice search is a feature used by smart devices and other technologies which allows humans to search using a spoken command instead of a written prompt. It was introduced in 2011 and quickly went mainstream with the introduction of Siri for Apple products. In 2015, Amazon’s Echo products made digital assistants more commonplace and provided a cheaper product that could be used to conduct voice searches.
Now, smart devices from watches to speakers, phones, and computers can recognize voice searches and provide answers or execute commands based on the user’s needs.
How Does Voice Search Work?
While we won’t get too into the weeds here, it’s always helpful to know a little more about how these technologies work. That makes it easier to improve voice search marketing and fulfill users’ requirements with greater understanding and ease.
When a voice search is activated, the device takes the audio of the voice speaking and transcribes it into text. From there, the text is analyzed to determine whether any question or command words are present. Then, the device connects to an external search engine to locate any relevant information. After that, it’s the search engine’s job to fulfill the request for information by presenting the answers it thinks the user wants to see.(watch this web story about voice search)
The search engines that are used to fulfill the request vary by device. Amazon’s Alexa uses a variety of online sources as well as its own knowledge database, while Google products pull their answers primarily from Google Search. Apple’s Siri pulls information from Google (previously, it used Bing but made the switch in 2017) and Apple Maps.
There are four ways that Google can use to provide voice search results. The goal is always to convert spoken word into written word.
Matching means a spoken word is identified in its entirety and can be compared to other similar words to develop search results.
Pattern and feature analysis recognize spoken words by breaking them into recognizable syllables.
Language modeling and statistical analysis use their knowledge of grammar and of words that are more likely to follow one another to produce more accurate and quick results.
Artificial neural networks is an experienced search engine’s capability to recognize sound patterns and words due to extensive learning.
Google uses these methods to link speech recognition approaches to complex natural language processing systems, determining what the query is, what is meant, and the action needed. This is achieved through Sequence Discriminative Training Techniques and Connectionist Temporal Classification.
What is Voice Search Optimization?
Voice search SEO (also called voice search optimization or Google assistant SEO) makes it easier for search engines to find and pull up information based on these unique types of searches.
As of 2022, 27% of the global population is using voice searches on mobile, according to Google. This will continue to increase, and learning how to adapt SEO best practices to voice search can make the difference between growing your business and lagging behind your competition.
What Does Voice Search Mean for Google assistant SEO?
Voice search is already having a significant impact on SEO, and if your website wasn’t built with this in mind, you’re missing out on a vast and rapidly increasing segment of search traffic. So, what does investing in SEO for Google Assistant and other voice searches offer your business? There are lots of benefits.
1. Voice search ranking helps you reach more customers
More than 1 billion global voice searches are conducted in any given month. Any business not optimizing its website to capture this particular type of traffic is liable to quickly fall behind.
2. Seo for Google assistant offers customers more ways to find you
At the end of the day, serving customers is the ultimate way to drive conversions. With more and more consumers choosing to use voice search, businesses should be responding in kind by optimizing their website and content to easily capture this traffic. If they don’t, it makes it harder for customers to find their business and consequently, less likely to convert.
3. Voice search can increase your revenue by 30%
Serving customers has a direct impact on revenue. Research from Gartner in 2019 found that brands that proactively redesigned their website to follow the best practices for voice search SEO increased their revenue by 30%.
How to Rank for Voice Search
While many businesses are intimidated by the idea of redesigning their website and content around voice search SEO, the truth is it’s not as complex as it seems.
If you want to know how to implement voice search on your website, here are some of our best practices and helpful tips.
1. Focus on conversational keywords when doing SEO for voice search
When people speak their search terms aloud, they tend to use more conversational phrasing than they would if they were typing it out. This results in search queries that are longer and more conversational.
To help capture this traffic, content should feature plenty of conversational long-tail keywords. These are simply longer and more specific keywords that read like a more natural part of a conversation. For example, ‘summer shoes’ is a great keyword, but is less specific and localized than a long-tail keyword like ‘where can I find summer shoes near me?’
Using as many specific long-tail keywords as possible will help make your content more useful and easier to find and further optimizes your website for voice search.
2. Improve Your FAQ Page to Optimize for Voice Search
One noticeable trend that has accompanied the rise of voice search is the increased popularity of question-based queries. Many people use voice search to find answers to their questions, and websites that can provide quick and easy answers will have an instant advantage.
To ensure your website is optimized for any question-based query you may want to capture, build an FAQ page. Using keyword research, find the most popular question-based keywords that apply to your business, then answer them succinctly on your new FAQ page. You can go even further and add FAQ schema or structured data to the page to make sure Google can index it effectively. To do this, make sure you’re using schema for voice search.
3. Voice search and local SEO
Signing up for Google My Business and other local directory listings like the Yellow Pages or Yelp is crucial, regardless of whether your business is brick-and-mortar or online only. Voice searches, especially on mobile, are more likely to be locally focused, as people search out resources near them as they’re on the go. These listing services help ensure your business can be found on these types of ‘near me’ searches.
4. Optimize featured snippets for voice search
Snagging a Featured Snippet spot on Google’s SERP is a great way to rank higher on voice searches. 40% of all voice search traffic is directed from these Featured Snippets, so if your content starts to grab these spots, it will be easier for your site to be found by voice search users.
While no formula can guarantee placement in a Featured Snippet, using lots of query-based long-tail keywords and answering those questions with concise answers can help.
Let Pedestal Help You Rank for Voice Search
Changing your SEO approach to incorporate voice search may seem confusing at first, but now that you understand the basic principles, making these changes should feel a bit more intuitive. With so many people using it now and more coming to rely on it daily, you don’t want to wait too long to make these necessary modifications.
At Pedestal Search, our experts are familiar with the best practices of voice search and can help you update and enhance your website to make it simpler and more straightforward for your customers to find.
Want to learn more about what a voice search SEO campaign may look like for your business? Get in touch with us today.