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Optimizing for Voice Search

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The term has been around for some time, Voice Search! In one form or the other we have come across it. But do we really know what it is & what it can do for our Business?

How many of us have an actionable blueprint to make the most of Voice Search? I do not know of many.

Voice Search is growing at an exponential rate & it is only going to get bigger. As many Brands and Businesses are joining the bandwagon to make the most of Voice Search, it is time to finally realize that you cannot ignore Voice Search anymore.

What is Voice Search

Voice Search is basically when a user instead of typing, verbally asks for a search on their smartphones or any other connected device. In return, the query is answered by a virtual assistant or a search engine.

More & more people are using this feature on a daily basis. Surprisingly, more teens (55%) than adults (41%) use voice search on a daily basis.

In fact, Voice Search has arrived in a truly remarkable fashion already. Around 65% of smart speaker owners (Google Home/Amazon Echo) cannot imagine going back to basic speakers.

Why Voice Search

To answer the question of Why Voice Search, we will go into detail to see how Voice Search has changed the scenario when compared with Traditional Search. You cannot just bank on Traditional SEO practices and expect to show up on Voice Search results. The potential is huge and largely untapped. Below are the reasons why Voice Search demands your attention and how it has changed the landscape for all –

1. Longer Queries – Voice searches are much longer than traditional queries. This has changed the entire game. How?

When you used to search for how to make pizza earlier, you used to enter pizza recipes and then visit the top links it throws out. Now, you can just say to your search assistant “Hey Google, How to make a pizza at home?”. See how the intent is so clear and the search phrase significantly longer.

You have to be brave enough to incorporate long keyword phrases to satisfy the “new user intent”.

2. Question Phrases – This is a byproduct of the first point. Since the search has become more “conversational” it is safe to say that you need to include a lot more search phrases in your keywords in order to optimize for voice search. If your content is satisfying the “why”, “what”, “when” and “how” for your users, you can easily rank for Voice Searches. In fact, the top three keywords in voice search are “how”, “what” and “best”.

3. More Intent – This is the reason why voice searches tend to favor “natural language” more. Traditional search by a user around “Laptop” will give us no clue where the user wants to buy one or get one repaired or wants to resell. The conversational search changes everything here and gives us clear intent of the user based on which marketers can act.

4. Local Hero – In the last two years, “Near Me ___” searches have risen by 150% due to the advent of voice search and the convenience it brings to the user. Also, keep in mind that mobile based searches are three times more local based than traditional text search. This is a game changer for local businesses as more and more people are going to find them through voice search on their mobile devices. The need to optimize for local searches is now greater than ever before.

How to Optimize for Voice Search

There are many different factors that are considered in Voice Search as compared to the Traditional search. It is paramount we understand and optimize for getting the maximum results from this powerful feature. Below are some of the great tweaks you can follow to achieve the same –

1. FAQ Pages – These can be the game changer for your content when it comes to Voice Search. Question keywords are growing rapidly and answer results from Google are around 30 words which makes FAQ pages perfect for Voice Search.

Voice search results return back 1.7 times more from a FAQ page as compared to desktop results.

2. Update Google My Business Page – Google refers to Google My Business Listings quite frequently when it comes to throwing out results for addresses, phone numbers, business hours & so much more. Having this up to date for Google to fetch when needed gives you a solid chance of showing up in voice results over your competitors who have avoided this aspect. Optimizing your content for “Near me ___” searches along with your updated Google My Business page is like a super combo.

3. Ace Featured Snippets – As per a Backlinko study, around 40% of voice search results are fetched from the Featured Snippets. Frankly, it is no surprise as well. If the voice assistant is going to give out one voice result to the user, it better be from the Featured Snippets. Makes complete sense, right!

4. Master long Tail Keywords – When we search on voice search platforms, the keywords we “say” are usually longer than the keywords we “write” in traditional search. Imagine how a user will ask a search engine his question? You can always refer Answer The Public which is an awesome tool for finding out long tail keywords.

Be encouraged to include long keywords as they perform better for Voice search.

5. Include “Filler Words” – Make sure you add a lot of “Filler Words” in and around your long tail keywords for best Voice Search results. Why? Well, as per Purna Virji, it will significantly increase your chances of showing up on voice results if your keyword is optimized with words like “me”and “a” and “for”.

6. Site Speed – Yes your site speed matters. It matters for your google search traditional results. It matters even more so for voice search results. Voice Search results are up to three times faster than an average website.

The Future is Speaking

Every marketer, entrepreneur or Business owner needs to give Voice Search its fair share of time, thought and a definite action plan. The time is not to ponder about Voice Search playing a pivotal role in the Future, it is well and truly here my friends. The Future is Now and it is Speaking profoundly.

As Voice Search evolves to be more accurate and intelligent, the onus is on us on how we keep up with its pace or are lost behind in the race.

Let me know what actionable steps you are going to take after reading this post. If you are ready to finally publish FAQ pages for your content or you will be more brave and open with long keywords, just comment below to let us know.

About the author


Aakash Singh

Aakash Singh is a marketing professional & a content marketing specialist. Having over 5 years of experience working with major organizations, he is passionate about digital marketing, blogging & SEO. Aakash lives in Delhi, India & writes about digital marketing & scaling your online presence on his blog, Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.