Are you ready to optimize your content for voice search?
This comprehensive guide will discuss everything you need to know about it.
- What Is Voice Search?
- Voice Search Statistics
- How Voice Search Is Different Than Text Search
- Voice Search Optimization Strategies
What Is Voice Search?
Voice search is a technology that allows users to search the internet using natural voice commands.
Think of Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant.
They are all examples of voice search devices. And they are becoming increasingly popular.
In fact, according to a report published on ThinkWithGoogle:
27% of the global online population uses voice search on mobile
And that number is only going to grow.
So, what does this mean for SEO?
Well, it means that we’re in the middle of a tech revolution. In other words, you need to keep up with SEO changes.
And to stay ahead of the curve, you need to start optimizing your content for voice search.
But how do you do that?
Let’s first take a look at some meaningful voice search statistics.
Voice Search Statistics
Voice search has been around for a while.
It was first introduced in the early 2000s by companies like IBM, Google, and Microsoft.
But it didn’t gain widespread popularity until 2011 when Apple added Siri to its iPhone line-up.
Then, Google introduced it in 2012.
While Microsoft followed suit in 2014 with Cortana.
Since that time, the use of voice search has exploded in popularity.
Here are some statistics that show just how popular it has become.
55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day (Google)
In the Google app, 20% of searches are now by voice (ThinkWithGoogle)
55% of users use voice search to ask questions on a smartphone, according to Perficient
87.7 million U.S. adults were using smart speakers as of January 2020, according to research by Voicebot.ai
By 2023, the number of digital voice assistants will reach 8.4 billion units – a number higher than the world’s population (Statista)
The statistics shown above tell that people are using voice search every day.
And, as you can see, its use is only going to increase.
So, if you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to start optimizing your content for it.
How Voice Search Is Different Than Text Search
Speaking rather than typing is a completely different experience when looking for information online.
In fact, voice search:
- Is Faster and Easier
- Contains Longer, Conversational Keywords
- Is Used Mostly for Local Searches
I’ll go through these points.
Let’s get started.
It’s Faster and Easier
Voice search is faster than typing.
In a fast-paced world, people want to find information quickly and easily.
With voice search, they can get it.
And, as we all know, the faster someone can find what they’re looking for, the better.
This is good news for voice search users. But, it also presents a challenge for SEOs.
43% of users say voice search is quicker than going on a website or using an app (Statista)
It Contains Longer, Conversational Keywords
When people speak, they use conversational keywords.
These are different from the terms that people type into a search engine.
For example, if someone wants to find a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, they might type “chocolate chip cookie recipe” into a search engine.
But if they were using voice search, they would say something like “How do I make chocolate chip cookies?”
As you can see, the keywords are different.
As a matter of fact, Purna Virji (ex-Senior Manager at Microsoft) stated that:
Voice search keywords are longer, compared to text search keywords (source)
Also, during SMX West, Jason Douglas (director of product management for Actions on Google), reported that:
70% of all voice queries are already in a natural language format
This confirms that voice searches contain longer and conversational keywords.
It’s Used Mostly for Local Searches
Another difference between voice and text search is that voice search is used mostly for local searches.
Google confirms people are looking for “near me” questions.
In fact, if you look at the chart created with Google Trends, the growth is exponential:
What does that mean?
It shows that when people are searching for places to go, whether it’s a hotel or restaurant, they use voice search.
Voice Search Optimization Strategies
Here are some techniques you can use to make sure your content is optimized for voice search:
- Target Long-Tail Keywords
- Answer Questions
- Create FAQ Pages
- Optimize for Featured Snippets
- Use Natural Language
- Improve Your Site Speed
- Increase Your E.A.T.
- Optimize for “Near Me” Searches
- Improve Content Readability
Target Long-Tail Keywords
As mentioned before, voice searches are mostly in a natural language format. That means that people are using full sentences or questions to search for something.
Therefore, you need to make sure your content contains those long-tail keywords.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you have a blog post about the best hotels in New York.
If someone is looking for “Where should I stay in New York?“, your blog post might come up.
But, if someone searches for “What are the best hotels in New York?“, your content is more likely to come up.
See the difference?
The second query is more specific, and it’s in a natural language format.
That’s the kind of keyword you should be targeting.
Now, let’s dig a little deeper.
I ran a little test doing a voice search for the query: “What is keyword cannibalization?”
The result was the same as the featured snippet I got with a traditional desktop text search:
And Google gave me this result, probably because it’s an authoritative website with quality content.
Remember, one of the main differences between voice and text searches is that people use conversational keywords when they speak.
That means they’re usually asking a question.
So, if you want your content to come up in voice searches, make sure it answers common questions in your industry.
This one, for example: “What is dwell time?”
Do you want to know how to find questions related to your niche?
You can use a tool like AnswerthePublic to find what people are asking about your topic:
Create FAQ Pages
As we just saw, answering common questions is a voice search optimization strategy.
Therefore, by creating an FAQ page (or adding an FAQ section to an existing page), you can increase your chance to get your content included in voice search results.
Just make sure the questions you answer are common questions people are actually asking.
Do you want to know how it works?
Just enter your keywords in the search bar and select the “questions” type in the left bar.
Here’s what the results look like for the term “crawl budget“:
Optimize for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are a great way to increase your chances of coming up in voice searches (as I actually noticed from my little test before).
In fact, according to Backlinko’s study of 10,000 Google Home results:
Appearing in a Featured Snippet may help you rank in voice search.
40.7% of all voice search answers came from a Featured Snippet.
So, how do you optimize your content for featured snippets?
Here are a few tips:
- Target questions people are asking
- Keep your answer short and to the point
- Use lists, tables, and bullet points
- Include images and videos
- Format your text using H2 tags
For example, if you do a voice search for: “What Are The Most Important Seo Metrics To Monitor Performance?”:
You will get this result, which is pulled off by a featured snippet.
Use Natural Language
One of the main differences between voice and text searches is that people use normal language when they speak.
So, if you want your content to come up in voice searches, make sure it’s written in a way that sounds natural.
Here are a few tips:
- Use contractions: don’t, can’t, won’t, etc.
- Use colloquialisms and slang: kinda, gonna, lemme, etc.
- Use first-person pronouns: I, me, my, we, us, our, etc.
- Use bucket brigade words and sentences (here is the full list)
Improve Your Site Speed
People want quick results, nowadays.
In fact, based on the results of the Backlinko voice search study:
PageSpeed appears to play a major role in voice search SEO.
The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds (52% faster than the average page).
So, if you want your content to come up in voice searches, you need to make sure your site loads quickly.
Here are a few tips to improve your page speed:
- Use a content delivery network (CDN)
- Optimize your images
- Use browser caching
- Reduce redirects
- Improve server response time
Increase Your E-E-A-T
This is not just a voice search optimization strategy, it is something that you need to keep in mind to increase the visibility of your website.
In December 2022, E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) has been updated to E-E-A-T (“E” was added for “Experience).
And as you may know, according to Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, it is something essential to consider in Google’s algorithm.
So, if you want your content to come up in voice search results, you need to work on improving your E-E-A-T.
Here are a few tips to improve it:
- Make sure your content is well-researched and accurate
- Cite your sources
- Include author bylines and bios
- Get links from high-quality websites
- Encourage user reviews and testimonials
- Spread your knowledge, experience, and expertise
Optimize for “Near Me” Searches
People are using location-based keywords when they speak in voice searches.
So, if you want your content to come up, you need to make sure it’s optimized for those terms.
Here are a few tips:
- Use geo-targeted keywords throughout your content
- Optimize your titles and meta descriptions for location-based keywords
- Include your address, phone number, and business hours on your website
- Leverage GoogleMyBusiness by adding your data
Improve Content Readability
Users want voice results to be concise and to the point.
Then, you need to make sure your content is easy to read and understand.
Here are a few tips:
- Use short sentences and paragraphs
- Use simple words and language
- Avoid jargon and technical terms
- Highlight important information with bolding, italics, and underlining
- Use bullet points and lists
And to help you proofread your content and find errors, you can use tools like:
- Boom Essays
Q: How can I register my business on voice search?
A: You can register your business on voice search by creating a Google My Business profile and providing accurate information about your business. This will help you appear in local search results for voice searches and make it easier for customers to find your business.
Q: What technology is used in voice search?
A: Voice search technology uses natural language processing (NLP), which is a type of artificial intelligence that allows computers to understand human speech. NLP combines text and speech recognition, semantic understanding, and machine learning algorithms to interpret and respond to user queries.
Before You Go
At this point, you should have learned some good voice search optimization strategies.
But hey, this is not enough if you want to get people to stick to your content.
So, what can you do?
Here are some helpful guides you may want to read:
Now, over to you.
What are the strategies you are using?
Let me know in the comments section below.