I’ve been getting a lot of questions from clients lately about optimizing for voice search with the rise of voice assistance. In this post, I’ve outlined some of the most common questions about voice search and its impact on SEO and content.
“Voice search is 20% of mobile Google searches these days, what are implications of voice search on our SEO? Should we develop a strategy for this?”
Voice search and mobile are synonymous, and most voice searches come from a mobile device. If you’re optimizing for mobile-first, you’re on the right track.
Here’s what’s important to use in your strategy to optimize for voice search results:
- Mobile friendliness is a significant factor for retrieving an answer or ‘solution’ from voice assistants. This means to ensure that site is created with mobile usage at the forefront and gives a good mobile user experience. This also means that you’ll need to target for mobile intended searches, like proximity and action. For example, creating elements on your page for “book appointment”. Enhancing your search display to appeal to mobile intentions. In order to rank in mobile search, your page needs to be mobile friendly and keep all your resources crawlable. If you’re not sure if your site is mobile friendly, you should start with this quick test: Here’s how your site performs in Google’s mobile-friendly test: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
- Targeting for voice and mobile search intent comes down to urgency. Urgent voice searches tend to fit into these categories: quick answer, location guidance or directions, take action, purchase. This means targeting with immediate solutions or answers to questions either from the search display or the landing page is best.
Optimize for voice speech patterns vs typed keyboard search commands. It’s difficult to say what to target for voice searches without additional keyword research. But, we do know that voice searches are very different than “keyboard query language,” and are usually structured as a question and more conversational thus requiring substantive content to speak your customer’s language and help you appeal to all the variations, synonyms, etc., to meet the latent semantic indexing need. This also naturally allows you to target the longer tail. Spoken Google searches are more likely to include interrogative or question words used in to ask a question, such as: who, what, why, where, when, how, should, could, do, etc. You’ll want to appeal to common questions people are asking through voice search and how they’re asking them. It will also be important to provide instant results to SIRI, Google, Alexa, etc., and this can be done through instant answers, which is often done through the “related answer” result in search results. This can be done through schema markup, optimizing informational content through a Q&A format on your page, and providing an in-depth answer. Voice searches are also longer in nature from queries typed in the search box. Google even reports that conversational language accounts for 70% of Google Assistant requests. Keep in mind that the answer Google or Echo will give you are going to be the best answers that match the search intention, which is often the result in the related answers box in search results. The bottom line: research and understand your audience’s intent, and deliver to them a great user experience with content that answers their questions in a conversational manner.
Some common examples of how a Google voice search is initiated include:
- “okay google tell me where”
- “okay google tell me about”
- “okay google how do you”
- “okay google can you”
- “okay google search for”
- “okay google when should”
- “okay google what do”
- “okay google where can”
- Some common examples of how a Google voice search is initiated include:
- AI, machine learning, search intentions, and context. Google is getting scarily good at understanding intentions of searches, and continues to evolve with machine learning. This is partially why it does not suffice to merely throw keywords on a landing page anymore and hope you’ll land on page 1.
- It also couldn’t hurt to implement structured data markup for greater visibility and likelihood that yours will be read.
In summary, if you’ve paid attention to SEO trends in the last 4 years, voice search is no different, and you’ll be just fine.