Optimizing your Website for Voice Search: Getting Ready for 2020

Voice search is no longer an unfamiliar term in SEO nowadays. It has gained mileage in the past couple of years. A few webmasters along with a number of digital marketing and employer branding agencieshave already started optimizing their website(s) for voice search while many still thrive to find the answer to the question – “How to optimize a website for voice search?”.

Well, I’ll answer this question in the coming post. But before making a move, let us have a quick glimpse of some facts about voice search that might stun you.

Google claims that 55% of teens and 41% of adults have started using voice search to search their queries. At present, voice search has grown to 35x as compared to 2008. There are over 33-million voice-first devices in circulation. Voice search is one of the hottest SEO trends of 2019. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google has also announced that one-fifth of Google queries are voice searches.

All these facts contribute to the declaration that Voice Search is here to stay forever and there would be a continuous growth in a number of users using voice search to search their queries on search engines. Apart from this, voice search will remain in trends in coming years and will continue to dominate the search results. A website optimized for voice search might rank higher in the SERP as it will cater to the specific queries of the users.

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Talking about SEO in Voice Search

SEO in voice search sounds to be really interesting. Searching with voice is bit different from typing a query. Voice search has significantly changed how people search, what they search and when they search. This is going to impact SEO to a large extent.

The searches will become longer and more conversational. What does ‘more conversational” mean here?

For example: you want to make Mexican chicken at home. What will you type to get its recipe? It would be really short keyword such as “make Mexican Chicken at home”, “Mexican Chicken recipe” or something of this sort.

But when you are speaking you will search for the longer phrases like “how do I make Mexican Chicken at home”.

This will have a huge impact on how webmasters do keyword research and on-page SEO.

Voice has also changed where people search. Google has reported that the searches for “_____ near me” have increased by 150% in last few years and these searches are done at unexpected places (gyms, urinals, buses and other odd places).

Also, Google is cleverly changing the algorithm of search engines to answer questions. The SERP features like Featured Snippets and Knowledge Graph have resulted in downfall of clicks by 37%. You don’t have to visit a site to get the answer.

Google uses same answer focused technology to provide voice search results. A few years ago, you have scroll through 10 different links to find calories in a potato, but now, Google will read through featured snippets and will answer your query at a go.

So, what does this change means to SEO analysts and Content creators?

The content of a site must give direct answers to the queries of people as most of my websites giving direct answers to people’s queries have already started ranking higher. 

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Keyword Research for Voice

Voice searches are conversational and natural as compared to text-based searches. People tend to speak what they are looking for rather than writing it as text.

This means that robotic keywords like ‘paleo’, ‘diet’ and ‘athlete’ are slowly getting replaced with phrases like ‘how do I follow a paleo diet if I am an athlete’.

You need to keep this fact in mind while your evaluation for the keywords. You might look for the keywords with high search volume, CPC and seasonal trends. But voice search has made it easy to figure out the conversational keywords.

According to the trends, natural sounding keyword will get a big boost in search volume with the growth of voice search. If the keyword sounds robotic, expect fewer people to search for a specific term in coming years.

You should not avoid using insanely longer keywords as voice search has changed the entire game. To stay in the game, you need to utilize the true potential of these long tail keywords to the fullest.

Optimize Your Content for Voice Search Results

According to Backlinko, an average voice search answer is around 29 words long. This is why it becomes critical for your content to answer the user queries in less than 30 words. Though, it doesn’t make sense to write a 30-word blog post, so the best thing to do is making a FAQ page.

As question-based keywords are on a rise, FAQ page will help you get a boost on search results.

For example: If you are searching for a query “How auto insurance claims work”, the answer will come from an FAQ section of a webpage of from featured snippets.

This means, you need to optimize for your featured snippets as well as 40% of voice search answers come from featured snippets.

Also keep in mind that featured snippet is important for Alexa and Google Home search results. These devices only give you one answer and if you are not ranking for featured snippets, you will be totally invisible on these devices.

Embed long tail keywords in your content as voice searches are generally long than keyword searches. But this doesn’t mean that you create 1000 pages for 1000 different voice search keywords. You can create a few posts revolving around specific long tail keywords that you wish to target and can embed multiple long tail keywords in a single post.

You will be amazed to know that Google also pulls answer from a page if the answer makes small section of the content. This means you should start writing small paragraphs like me.

Embed a lot of long tail keywords in your content to rank higher for voice search queries.

Other strategies to optimize for voice search can be:

•             Including filler word in the content such as articles, prepositions and conjunctions. This will make your page rank higher for voice search.

•             Most of the voice search results are well written at a 9th grade reading level. You should do the same and avoid using fancy words or jargons.

•             Ensure that your site’s pages are loading faster, especially those which are ranking higher.

•             Write longer content as it always has a sweet spot in Google’s search algorithm. Ensure that the content is around 1500 words longer and have long tail keywords.

The Bottom Line

Voice search will increase with time. As the technology is advancing, more people are getting quipped with voice-first devices. It is also impacting the search on the internet. According to a report by Brandemix, 50% of the internet searches will be through voice by 2020.

So, what are you waiting for? It is the high time to think and optimize your website for voice search. You have gone through the facts, you know how to optimize for voice search, and you know why you should start optimizing your site for voice search from now. Start with a plan from today.

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