As 9 Pandas founder Sergey Karshkov will be well aware, voice search continues to grow in popularity – making it more important than ever before to optimise content for it.
Today, Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant have become an ever-increasing presence in homes. Not only can these digital assistants answer general questions like “What’s the weather going to be like today?”, but consumers are using voice search for increasingly sophisticated and customised local searches, asking questions such as “What’s the nearest restaurant to me?” and “Do they serve gluten free food?”
In response to this emerging behaviour, it is vital for businesses to change the way they frame information, framing content around questions rather than being a slave to Google’s manual search algorithm. Implementing voice search tactics in this way empowers the user, providing high-quality and accurate responses to their questions.
Aja Frost is HubSpot’s Head of English SEO. She advocates business owners looking at a particular topic and asking themselves “What questions could users ask about this?” Businesses should plan sub-topics accordingly, seeking opportunities to insert questions as headers, helping voice assistants to quickly identify solutions to questions within content. Frost also advocates businesses seeking out featured snippet opportunities, since voice assistants typically pull information directly from these boxes.
Voice search is one of the fastest-growing search types today, with 55% of users performing voice search via a smartphone according to a poll by Perficient, and 39% of US internet users using voice assistant at least once a month according to research from eMarketer. As technology improves, voice search is becoming more and more reliable, providing increasingly accurate results.
As voice search continues to evolve, context and conversational search have become essential. Marketers need to incorporate voice search strategies into business websites, delivering quality content in a conversational tone.
It is important to remember that people who type a query and people who ask questions via a voice search are usually two very different types of people. While a ‘typer’ may be content to carry out a little research, a ‘talker’ typically expects instant results. It is important for businesses to appeal to both customer types.
While short-tail keywords are unlikely to disappear completely, they are gradually becoming less relevant as web users increasingly shift from manual searches to voice searches, making conversational long-tail keywords more important than ever before.
In terms of optimising content for voice search, relevance, context and brevity are key. Nevertheless, in addition to answering simple questions concisely, marketers should invest in creating rich and compelling content to answer common questions.
An effective strategy adopted by many well-ranking websites is creating a webpage that asks a common question before immediately providing a concise answer, then using the remainder of the page to elaborate on the topic. This format is likely to appeal to Google’s ranking algorithm, providing a short and concise answer while also delivering more in-depth content.
When voice searchers begin a question with “Who”, “What”, “Why”, “When”, “Where”, or “How”, they are typically seeking answers to fulfil an immediate need. It is good practice to compose an FAQ page, beginning each question with these adverbs and answering conversationally to appeal to voice search.
Many people grew up in an age where technology could not answer back. It is important to recognise that younger generations are much more tech-savvy and adopt voice search to meet their immediate needs. It is vital for marketers and business owners to keep pace, boosting search result rankings and ultimately expanding their market reach.