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Mastering Voice Search for Today’s SEO

by Tom Bowen
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A significant factor in developing the most effective SEO content is a full understanding of the changing trends and technological advances that dictate the way users search for information. Keyword research, content strategies, domain authority, and backlink profile form the foundational building blocks to get the best results to produce the broadest visibility for your brand.

With the next decade of the 21st century rapidly approaching, it is crucial for digital marketers and SEO specialists to be current on all of the latest trends in SEO. The most recent development in search engine optimization is adapting to the explosion of voice search on mobile phones and virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, or Siri.

With simple voice commands, users can now perform searches, make purchases online, set calendar reminders, and so much more. Comscore has forecasted that by 2020, up to half of all online searches will come from voice search functionality. Digital marketers responsible for SEO content should be familiar with voice search technology and how to best take advantage of this new way to search online.

As people get used to the convenience of speaking rather than typing search commands, it is estimated that up to 55 percent of Americans will be using some sort of smart assistant by 2020. Content not optimized for voice search has the potential to miss out on a billion voice searches each month.

Actionable tips to help fully optimize your SEO content for voice search technology include:

Featured Snippets

Voice commands and queries can be answered directly with a featured snippet on a virtual assistant device. Getting the coveted featured snippet for a voice search is a valuable commodity that could increase web traffic significantly. Factors that contribute to being used in featured snippets include:

  • Featured snippets for voice search requests are not always taken from the very top spot; most will come from positions three to five. That means that relevance is more important than position.
  • Content optimized to answer specific questions has a higher chance of being used in a featured voice search snippet, which is most often related to topics like recipes, health, and DIY questions. Topic research tools like SEMrush or Answer the Public can help to generate ideas to create content that answers specific user questions.
  • Short paragraphs, lists, and tables have a higher chance of being featured in a snippet. Paragraphs should consist of short sentences and be kept under 50 words. Tables and lists get featured, as well. The most important aspect is to make sure the content is easy to read without complicated sentences or advanced terminology.
  • Virtual assistants presenting your site’s content can result in substantial increases in web traffic and business.

Optimizing Web Content for Voice Search

Virtual assistants are improving performance capabilities and adapting to user commands every day. Queries become more conversational, requiring SEO content to adapt to using long-tail keywords to match the way questions are asked. For example, a traditional concise search such as “Car washers Columbus” when asked by voice to a virtual assistant is more likely to be asked as, “Car washers in Columbus.” Content optimized for common voice phrasing sentence structure will see a higher success in rankings resulting from voice searches.

Longer content with word counts exceeding 1,800 words will be as effective for voice search as it would be for traditional type searches. Sentences should be kept relatively short, and vocabulary should keep in mind the way people talk versus the way they write or type.

Queries beginning with “what” means someone is looking for information, while those that start with “where” is someone looking to act. Take advantage of the differences between spoken and written communication traits to generate content that is fully optimized for all kinds of search types.

Mobile Responsiveness is Vital to Voice Search Results

A large percentage of voice searches are done on mobile devices. Those on the go or in unfamiliar places use voice searches to get them where they need to be. Voice search options have increased the need for websites to be mobile-friendly in all aspects of the operation.

Responsive web pages adapt pages to the size of the device. With the varying sizes of phones and tablets on the market today, responsive web designs are a must to capitalize on the multiple ways people seek out information.

Local SEO Focus

Local entities that rely on a local customer base for products or services must optimize site pages for local SEO. Almost a quarter of all voice searches are queries asking about local businesses, such as restaurants or service companies.

Standard SEO geo-targeting optimization protocols for local SEO apply to voice search results, including adding “near me” search terms to meta tags and landing page content. Brick-and-mortar locations should be separated by individual location pages and make sure your Google My Business profile has all your up-to-date contact and location information.

SEO Specialists Austin, Texas

The professional marketing and SEO specialists at Seo Insights are highly experienced in both local and global search engine optimization. If you have any questions on how to best optimize your web content for Google search, contact a member of our team today!

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