Voice search is here, and it’s here to stay. So how can you get your content ready for the voice revolution?

DO YOUR KEYWORD RESEARCH

Keywords are crucial to any SEO strategy. But they have a slightly different flavor for voice search, so it’s important to think strategically.

There are hree key principles of voice search SEO:

  1. It’s friendlier and more conversational than traditional search
  2. Search entries are longer and often framed as questions
  3. Search entries are more specific and may require lateral thinking

Targeting voice search queries means you have to think outside the box.

Similarly, thinking laterally around your brand, products and industry can help you rank for more semantically related questions, increasing your brand presence and organic visibility in the process.

Next, because voice searches are lengthy,  long-tail keywords are even more important than before. And this can be more than just a handful of words. So don’t be afraid to consider whole questions or even full sentences.

Once you’ve collected your keyword data, these two questions can help you determine which ones to focus your efforts on:

  1. Which of these keywords are likely to be used in voice searches?
  2. Of these, which are relevant for your company and will help acquire qualified users that are valuable to your brand?

While a more conversational tone may help you rank better for voice search, it’s important to protect your brand voice and maintain consistency. Be relevant and rankable, but avoid sounding fake or contrived.

AIM FOR ZERO

For certain queries, Google currently ranks featured snippets in position zero, above all other pages, and they contain the information that Google deems most relevant to the search query.

Crucially for voice search, the majority of digital assistants will not only rely on these featured snippets for information, they’ll also identify the source – giving your brand greater visibility as the only answer to that query. So if you want to rank for voice search, it’s essential to make your content worthy of a featured snippet.

You can do this by making your content easily extractable. You want Google to be able to find information on your website quickly and easily. A simple way of doing this is to take care of your website’s microdata and schema. Labelling addresses and contact information, identifying bullet lists and classifying FAQs correctly will all help Google find the information it needs more quickly. And that will help you rise to the top of the rankings.

Breaking text into manageable chunks is also important. Text-rich paragraphs are difficult to extract into a featured snippet – and are even less equipped for answering voice searches. So make sure to separate your information out clearly. Use headings, bullet and number lists and clear pointers to the key information.

FAQs, recipes and methodologies are all great for voice search because they often contain the most direct answers to customer questions. It’s important to make sure they’re easy to find, represent your brand and contain the right information.

FOLLOW GOOGLE’S GUIDELINES FOR VOICE SEARCH QUERIES

There are four key criteria you need to keep in mind for voice search. And your content will need to comply with all four to succeed.

  • Information satisfaction: The information you provide needs to be relevant and answer the question.
  • Length: Aim to find a middle ground between providing too much and too little content.
  • Formulation: Grammatically correct sentences are important.
  • Elocution: Content needs to be pronounced correctly, so avoid using complex language.

The best way of meeting these criteria is to make sure your content is clear, concise and correct – no matter which languages you’re working with.

KEEP IT LOCAL

Users are likely to ask local questions – whether that’s for directions or restaurant recommendations. Searches like “What’s a good Thai restaurant near me?” are much more likely than “Thai restaurant Lodo Denver.”

This is particularly important for brick-and-mortar stores looking to attract customers. So make sure you’re ranking for these searches. To do this, you’ll need more than just good website content. Up-to-date information on Google My Business and other authoritative review sites like Yelp are crucial, and a strong presence on relevant local directories is also advisable.

Keep in mind that both tourists and residents will be asking these questions – and they’ll be doing it in their own language. So being covered in multiple languages is definitely something to consider if it makes sense for your brand. One way of doing this is to identify your key audience demographics and the languages they speak. Catering to them as a starting point and expanding as needed later will help you build a successful voice search strategy.

GET READY FOR ADVERTISING

In an eMarketer survey, over a quarter of respondents said they would listen to an ad if it were personalized based on their searches or if they got to choose which brands they listened to. So making a real connection with customers will be crucial.

And there are ways you can prepare for this.

  • Make sure your brand voice and identity are consistent.
  • Connect consistently with your audience across relevant voice search touchpoints.

By establishing these principles now, you can make sure that when voice advertising does become a reality, it will feel like a natural extension of an already existing customer relationship.