There are over 65,000 Google searches every second. SEO is a critical tool that helps site owners grab their share of these searches. However, SEO is a moving target. Best practices can become obsolete in as little as a few months. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of SEO trends, especially if you rely on organic traffic to your site.
Today’s changing tech landscape means more than new hardware, or the latest smartphone release. It’s changing the way your audience uses search engines. Thanks to the popularity of Alexa, Siri, and other voice assistants, hands-free voice search is on the rise.
The magnitude of this change has major implications for SEO. In fact, voice search is completely changing the face of SEO. Queries are drastically different for voice search. Voice search best practices will likely render text-based keyword research useless in just a few years.
5 ways to optimize for voice search
Even if you’re ranking well now, that doesn’t mean you’re ranking well for voice search. If you want to stay on top of current trends, it’s time to optimize for voice search. Don’t believe us? Consider this: by 2020, it’s estimated that half of all search queries will be done with voice search.
Now is the time to optimize for voice search, not later. Use these five strategies to optimize your site for voice search before it’s too late.
1. Target longtail keywords
Long gone are the days when you could target a two-word keyword phrase and dominate the SERPs. Voice search is paving the way for longtail keywords to dominate the space.
We all know that longtail keywords are a great way to get interested users with little competition. However, longtail voice queries are even longer than typical longtail keywords. Voice queries are hyper-specific and long. This makes it a challenge to predict which keywords your audience is using. The great thing is that longtail keywords are less competitive, which can be a boost to your PPC campaigns.
To create longtail keywords, we have to understand how people use voice search. Voice search keywords need to mimic how real people talk. They’re conversational in nature and more colloquial than text searches.
The easiest way to find longtail keywords is to listen to your customers—literally. Listen to what customers say during meetings or customer service calls. Find common questions or themes. Locate longtail keywords from these conversations and start using them in your site copy and content marketing. This will give customers a better experience, save time during your sales process, and improve SEO rank for voice search.
2. Score featured snippets
Featured snippets are a goldmine for marketers. Also called ‘answer boxes,’ they feature quick answers to user queries. For example, if Joanna searches for “Abraham Lincoln’s birthday,” Google features a snippet pulled from a top-ranking search result that says “Tuesday, February 19, 1809.” Featured snippets are designed to give users quick, simple answers that don’t require clicking through to a website.
Featured snippets are much more prevalent in voice search, where users usually pull up the first result. To optimize for voice search, it’s more important than ever to score a featured snippet for your site.
Unfortunately, there is no quick, easy way to get featured. The best approach is to start with low hanging fruit. Find content on your site that’s already ranking well. Restructure it, then lengthen the content to improve your page rank. Be sure to remember to use longtail keywords in your content. They significantly improve your chances of getting featured for voice search. Use this guide for an in depth look at how you can get featured snippets.
3. Set up Google My Business
Over 20% of voice search is for local listings. If you have a retail location or depend on getting foot traffic to your location, voice search is a great way to score more customers.
The best way to show up in local voice search is to overhaul your Google My Business (GMB) information. Get started here to claim your business. Fill out every detail, including your location, contact information, and hours. Make sure all of your information is correct, and that you update it when it changes. Use a local area code on your business’s phone number, choose an appropriate category, and include plenty of high quality photos in your listing.
GMB also gives brick and mortar locations a leg up. Your GMB profile verifies your physical location, boosting local SEO. For example, if your company has multiple locations, GMB is a great way to prove your location in a certain locale. This basically boosts your ranking just for existing!
This seems like a simple step, but a detailed Google business listing can be the difference between getting a sale and losing out to a competitor.
4. Write frequently asked questions (FAQ) and blogs
Remember your longtail keywords? It’s time to put them to use. Use longtail keywords from voice search to write FAQs and blogs. This boosts your SEO presence over the long term, appealing to more voice search users.
Try grouping common questions or topics together on the same page. Don’t be afraid to create multiple blogs or FAQ to better optimize each page for voice search. In fact, separating the content out into multiple pages helps users have a better experience by skipping irrelevant or unimportant information. Remember, don’t stuff keywords in your content! Everything should read naturally and sound conversational.
5. Structured data markup
Structured data is a type of markup language from Schema.org. This language lets web developers send more information to search engines via backend metadata. It’s an underused tool that can reap big rewards in the SEO ranking game.
Structured data organizes your content to give more accurate, defined information for search engine crawlers. When search crawlers can read your site more easily, it improves your chances of ranking. Schema markup can help you clarify important information about your business, as well as rank for more competitive keywords.
The bottom line
Technology is changing, which means the way we optimize our content is also changing. It’s clear that the future is hands-free. Will voice searchers come to your site, or go to a competitor? Optimize your site content now to stay ahead of the game.
Want a leg up on voice search? Give Logical Media Group/Ocean Agency a call to overhaul your SEO strategy.