Why you need to adjust your SEO Strategy for the New Voice Search

Why you need to adjust your SEO strategy for Voice Search

Contrary to popular belief, voice search has to be in existence for more than a decade now. Since its launch in 2012, many updates to it have been made to make it more efficient in offering the best user experience.

Experts in the provision of SEO services can attest to the fact that significant technology advancements will be introduced in the next couple of years. Therefore, it is high time that you changed your SEO strategy accordingly.

Here are facts on the expected changes to Google Voice Search.

Personalised Results

The new technologies are becoming more personalised and individualised as evident from the latest Google algorithm updates. The new era voice search programs are designed to accurately analyse individual user needs with the help of trained personal digital assistants. In the coming months, you can expect to see more adjustments to offer personal search histories, search preferences, geo-location-based results, and other immediate factors.

Introduction of More Interface and Display Options

The lack of a user-friendly interface is one of the main challenges facing voice search. A large number of people conduct voice searches on mobile devices that have small screen sizes. New display and interface options will be introduced to resolve this. Different providers will come up with options to suit the diverse audience’s needs.

Improved Filtering and Semantic Recognition

Search engine companies are working hard to come up with advanced voice search algorithms that will be able to accurately detect what the users are saying then interpret and display the ideal results. That is, new algorithms will be able to identify and understand slang terms correctly, local vernacular, and new terms used to search for information.

You can start preparing for this eminent voice search update by;

Hire a professional SEO company in Singapore to ensure that your site is ranked high on top search engines and continues to generate traffic and revenue.

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World

Statistics show that 41% of adults use voice search at least once per day and 50% of smartphone users leverage their device voice search technology daily. Conducting a Google search using your voice is more futuristic than typing. 

Impact of Voice Search on SEO

It’s no secret that voice search has triggered SEO experts to spring into action to improve their websites for this search method.

Here are three primary ways that voice search impacts SEO.

How People Search for Content via Search Engines

Voice search has changed how people look up information on search engines in two primary ways, namely;

  • The search queries are significantly longer
  • The searchers are more conversation than query-based

Bing recently noticed a change in the queries people use to find information. The queries are longer and less like the traditional computer language. They are more conversational; that is, the searcher tends to speak to the device instead of short-tail keywords.

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 17

Photo Credit: Backlinko.com

This is especially true for Google states that 70% of the searches done on Google Assistant are done using natural language. 

For example, let’s say you are prepping to prepare pizza at home. Three years ago, you would use a short keyword such as “make homemade pizza” on Google to find recipes.

Today, your search query will be different, natural, and human. It will be something like, Hey Google, how do I prepare pizza at home?

Based on this example, SEO experts need to change keyword research for both on-page and off-page optimisation. If not, the page’s visibility in SERPs will significantly drop since Google won’t be matching the content with the user’s search intent.

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Where People Conduct Searches

As mentioned earlier, voice search is more convenient than the conventional typing queries on Google. Google reports that “……. near me now” keyword usage has increased by more than 150% in the last two years.

The searches are happening in places you wouldn’t expect, such as public places like restaurants and the gym. 

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 15

Photo Credit: Backlinko.com

For example, you are driving to a meeting in the city and spill coffee on your trouser. Two years ago, you would look for a closet with Wi-Fi to locate a nearby clothing store. Today, you can get the same information by using your smartphone’s voice search feature while on the go. The search results will also be customised to match your location, thereby helping you find a store in minutes.

How Users Get Search Results

A quick comparison of the current and previous Google search results and algorithm shows that Google is gradually transitioning from a search engine into an answer engine. 

Organic clicks on search results have declined by 37% due to new features like the Featured Snippets and Knowledge Graphs. 

get google ranking ad

Users no longer have to visit a website to find an answer, as presented in the search results. The same answer-focused technology is used to offer accurate voice search results. 

For example, let’s say you are writing an essay and know how many people live in New York. Previously, you would use a search query such as “New York population” and spend minutes sifting through multiple results that may not be related to your search intent. 

Not anymore, with voice search, Google will read the answer back to you in seconds. 

However, this trend does not mean that the Google app is void. Some people still use it to conduct searches, but its usage is dropping fast. The SERPs still have the ten blue links, but now Google reads the Featured Snippet aloud, thereby saving time that would have been spent scrolling through the results feed.

The above changes mean that it will be extremely difficult for websites whose content is not optimised for voice search to rank highly and get organic traffic. Keep reading to learn how to optimise your website content for voice search.

How to Optimise Website Content for Voice Search

It would help to change how you create and optimise the website content to get displayed in SERPs for voice search queries. Here are sure-fire tips on doing this like a professional and getting tangible results without spending a fortune.

Find and Use Natural Language Keywords

As previously mentioned, current search queries are more natural and conversation. Robotic keywords that are usually one or two words are no longer effective in optimising content for voice search.

Check out the screenshot below from Google Keyword Planner.

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 16

Photo Credit: Google Keyword Planner

A few years back, most SEO experts who categorise the keywords based on three factors;

  • CPC
  • Seasonal trends
  • Search volume

But today, you need to go the extra mile and check if keywords are conversational. Soon, natural-sounding keywords will gain more attention as voice search continues to grow. It’s also safe to say that robotic keywords that most people are accustomed to using will soon be null and void.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use “Insanely” Long Keywords

Conversational queries mean that the queries/keywords used are longer. In the past, people would rarely use long-tail keywords and focus more on the short-tail keywords. At the time, it made sense since there wasn’t’ voice search.

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Today, these insanely long keywords are used to find accurate information on search engines. The length of the keywords is expected to continue to increase as voice search becomes more popular.

Based on this fact, we recommend using plausible keywords phrases made up of more than five words or more. 

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 13

Photo Credit: Google Keyword Planner

However, this does not mean that you should only use these keywords. Sprinkle them evenly in the content and use short-term keywords to serve people who have yet to join the voice search bandwagon.

Target Question-Based Keywords

Unlike before, 61% of the keywords used today are questions. 

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 14

Photo Credit: Backlinko.com

If you are into voice search, you are not going to whip out your iPhone or iPad and say: “Hey Google…. Pizza.”

Instead, you are going to ask Google a question based on the content that you’re looking for, such as, “How do I prepare a pizza for five people.”

The modern keyword research tools are tailored to provide and prioritise this kind of keyword to guide SEOs in the right direction.

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 11

Photo Credit: Google Keyword Planner

However, creating a list of credible question-based keywords can take hours. Cut the chase by starting your search on Answer the Public.

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 12

Photo Credit: Answer the Public

BuzzSumo’s Content Discovery is also great for conducting this form of keyword research. You will also get ideas for your next blog posts in the process.

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 9

Photo Credit: Buzzsumo.com

The two websites offer great suggestions, but make sure that the keywords you adopt match the searcher’s intent.

Your Content Should Have Short & Concise Answers

According to a voice search study by Backlinko, Google answers queries with 29-word results. Below is an example of an answer to a question-based query.

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 10

Photo Credit: Backlinko.com

Based on this discovery, it’s recommendable to include short answers in your content. Strive to answer the primary question in no more than 30 words to get the desired results. However, it’s impossible to write blog posts with only 30 words. 

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 6

Photo Credit: Backlinko.com

So, what should you do?

Create FAQ Pages for Voice Search Queries

If you are yet to create FAQ pages for different topics related to your niche, you are probably losing traffic to your competitors, but it’s not too late to jump in and get a piece of the pie.

FAQs are perfect for voice search as they comprise real questions that the target audience uses to search for information on Google and other search engines. 

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 8

Photo Credit: Backlinko.com

Since Google prefers giving 30-word long answers, ensure that your blog posts’ answers to the questions are within this range. Reports indicate that results for voice search are 1.7x likely to be picked from the FAQ page than other conventional blogs or website pages. 2.68% of voice search results are from FAQ pages, and only 1.54% are from desktop SERPs.

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 7

Photo Credit: Backlinko.com

In the example below, a user asks Google, “how do car insurance claims work” and the result is;

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 5

Photo Credit: Backlinko.com

A quick search online shows that this answer was picked from this website;

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 4

Photo Credit: Backlinko.com

Unlike other pages, an FAQ page can rank for multiple search queries, thereby giving your website the muscle it needs to get ahead of the competition. 

Optimise Content for Features Snippets

Everyone yearns for a featured snippet as it receives more clicks than the conventional search results. We mentioned that 40.7% of all voice search answers are picked from featured snippets. 

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 3

Photo Credit: Backlinko.com

If you do a voice search for “is ice water bad for dogs” you will get the following answer.

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No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 2

Photo Credit: Google.com

This answer is picked from the very first result in the SERPs.

No-Fail SEO Tips in a Voice Search Dominated World 1

Photo Credit: Google.com

Winning a featured snippet is more crucial than ever before, with most people shifting to voice search. Note that the devices only give one answer, so you have to optimise your content to rank at the top of the results page for target question-based queries.

Use Natural Language to Write Content

It would help if you changed how you conduct keyword research and write content for your website pages and blog posts. We have repeatedly mentioned that voice search uses more natural language than robotic keyword phrases.

Concisely, you should write content as if you are speaking to a friend or colleague. In that case, you wouldn’t use jargon and complex terms. Instead, you will write conversationally and deliver the intended message friendly and professional way. 

You have to strike a balance between maintaining a formal and professional tone and being friendly. If it’s too formal, Google won’t pick it. 

Create Long-Form Content

Longer content is ranked higher than short-form content. Google perceives this form of content to be ideal for users as it comprehensively covers topics. The users don’t have to move from one website to another looking for additional information.

You can only include several long-tail keywords in a 500-word article. But you can include up to 4 different question-based queries in a 2,000-word article without compromising the flow of the ideas.

However, this doesn’t mean that if you have 500 different keywords ideal for voice search, you create 500 pages. That would be time-consuming and expensive.

With less than 2% of all reviewed voice search results having the exact keyword in the content or title tag, you should focus on creating just a couple of long-form articles that are detailed and fully optimised for voice search. 

Create More Local Content

46% of Google searches are for local information. Even as you strive to make your website content voice search-friendly, you shouldn’t forget local SEO.

As earlier pointed out, “…… near me” structured queries have become increasingly popular nowadays. Go ahead and create content relevant to the locations that your business serves to take full advantage of this low-hanging fruit.

Include question-based keywords with the format mentioned above to increase the blog post or page discoverability. Note that your brand doesn’t have to be local for you to create local content. You can create localised content for each location then have dedicated pages to get qualified leads

Work on User Experience

Core Web Vitals algorithm update focuses on the quality of user experience websites offer users. Bounce rate is one of the factors that the search engine uses to determine the quality of a website page. 

In the context of voice search, you should ensure that the voice assistant can access and interpret the information quickly and read the answer to the searcher. Your website should be 100% mobile-friendly, HTTP secured, and loading fast for that to happen. 

Leverage Structured Formatting and Schema

With most voice answers being from Featured snippets, it’s prudent to use structure formatting and schema to help bot crawl and index your website pages better. Schema formatting will also qualify your content for Knowledge Graph, another commonly used source of answers. 

Monitor the performance of your website in terms of organic traffic and conversion rate after implementing the above voice search SEO strategies to know if there are areas you should change. More importantly, keep tabs on voice search trends to ensure you are not left behind. 

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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