Search engine optimization is not the same as it used to be a couple of years ago. With Google getting highly responsive towards the malpractices to rank higher, it is getting tougher for whitehat SEO to keep themselves afloat with the updates. Voice SEO is certainly next big thing in this digital world.
I am sure you must have learnt the strategy of optimizing your content to rank higher in search engines. But the question remains, are you optimizing for the future?
The next trend in SEO is the voice search, and it is not just another speculation. The numbers support the trend, and it is safe to assume that voice search will cannibalize a large portion of text search.
At present there are over 33 million voice-first devices in use with their number continuously rising. With the default integration of voice assistants into the smartphones, it is getting more and more convenient for people to use voice search over text. Voice search has already started to deepen its roots as it was already the SEO trend no.3 in 2017.
In an official announcement, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told that 20% of mobile queries are voice searches and the number of these searches is increasing every month.
I think these facts are enough to set you on a path towards optimizing the content for the future i.e. the voice search.
Voice SEO: How can you optimize content for voice search?
Only one constant aspect of the SEO is that if you are not proactive enough to embrace the changes you perish. This is why you cannot afford to ignore the importance of optimizing content for voice.
- Featured Snippets
If you have used Google Home, you will know how it answers the searcher’s voice query. It gives the answer along with the source information and often sends the link of the site to the Google Home app.
As of now, both Google Assistant and Google Home read featured snippets, the information that is at “position zero.” This is why you should focus on getting your content in the featured snippets as it increases the chances of your content getting pulled by the voice search.
If you know how to get your content ranked in the featured snippet section, then you can easily optimize for the voice.
There are several ways to optimize your content for position zero, but the best of them all is to use LSI or latent semantic indexing keywords in your content. These are keywords that share the same relevance as your primary keywords but they are more conversational. You can think of them as the long-tail keywords, just more conversational.
The best tool to find LSI keywords is the LSI Graph.
- Voice search is more about consumer demand
If you take a look at this Internet Trends 2016 Report, 22% of voice searches are about the local information. Queries like business address, store hours and items list often find their way in voice search.
What does that mean for you?
If you are a local business or your clients are often local businesses then it is important that you optimize the content for local search. The intent behind the voice is immediate, exact answer. So how can you optimize your local business information for voice search?
First of all, have a Google My Business Listing. There is no going around this requirement. According to SEOEaze, a SEO company India, most of the local business information for voice searches is pulled from My Business listings by Google. Next logical step is to use “near me” suffix with primary keywords in the content. Locals who do not want to put in location indentations, usually add “near me” to their queries to find the best match answers.
A technical method to structure the information to be found in voice search is to use the schema markup. As detailed by Google, schema markup helps search engines to understand the metadata about your business and to display it to the users.
An example of schema code is:
“name”: “Unlimited Ball Bearings Corp.”,
“contactType”: “Customer service”
You need to add such schema codes to the header of your web pages.
- Go mobile-friendly
Google already announced in March this year that it has fully rolled out the mobile-first indexing, implying it will evaluate a website based on its mobile version as opposed to the desktop version that it had been doing since the beginning.
You cannot expect to be the voice-search friendly digital asset without embracing the mobile-friendly requirement. While a majority of websites are already responsive and do not need to make any changes to be mobile-friendly, still if you are not sure there are many tools available for a quick test of the websites.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool is the most reliable one to test whether your website is mobile-friendly or not. The advantage of using this tool is it offers you suggestions and what necessary steps are needed to be taken to fix the issues.
Mobile-friendliness is not just about the responsiveness but also about the speed. In 2018 if you want to outrank the competition your websites need to have the lowest loading time. Google offers another tool to check a website’s speed. The PageSpeed Insights tool details the performance of the website.
Now what’s left to go fully mobile-friendly is to create content that is mobile-friendly. Now the creation of such content is an in-depth topic of its own and no one explains it better than Neil Patel’s mobile friendly content creation guide.
You don’t need to know what queries are used by users for voice search to optimize your content for the future. As you optimize your content to be mobile-friendly without worrying about the nuisance of the mobile search, you can optimize for voice search too.
Just follow the guidelines listed here and keep the focus on helping searchers find the exact information, service or product they are looking for. This will instantly make your content ready for voice search.