How many times a day do you see adults shouting commands at their mobile phone (often several times in a row with varying pitch and volume) expecting for the device to answer back promptly and accurately?
Just a couple of years ago, people would think you’ve lost your marbles if they saw you asking your phone a question.
Nowadays, it’s as common as using the contraption to talk to another human.
If you’re running a business and you want to stay relevant and easy-to-find on some of the world’s most important search engines – ranking for Voice search SEO is an absolute must.
In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on successfully ranking your business for voice search. As you will see, optimizing the voice search for your line of business, such as web design services for law firms, gets rather complex, so jumping onto the voice search bandwagon as early as possible as a business is essential for success.
What is Voice search SEO?
Androids and iOSs around the globe can be heard on trains, on the sidewalk, in cafes, post offices, and other public venues, explaining to their owners in monotone, robotic voice what age Britney Spears is.
Other crucial pieces of info many phone users cannot live without also include whether or not it’s going to rain in an hour and what does ‘sacrilegious’ mean (this one definitely takes a couple of tries).
‘Who’s the best NBA player ever according to Michael Jordan?’, who’s also potentially the best player ever himself, is also a line of questioning that users burden the AI’s metallic brains with quite often.
From settling petty arguments between two friends about what nationality a certain celebrity is, to genuinely helping someone get to work by telling the accurate weather forecast, voice search has become quite a useful everyday tool.
In a way, voice search is simply a different way of typing something, but instead of using your fingers, you simply say what you want (typically with a varying degree of success) into a tiny microphone in your device.
That said, ranking for Voice search SEO is different from ranking for written-word type of SEO. For that reason, optimizing your device for voice search is a necessity that you might not want to put off for later if you want your business to succeed.
Let’s take a closer look at what constitutes voice search SEO and what makes it different from regular SEO.
How does voice search work?
At its most basic level, voice search functions based on a simple voice-to-text algorithm.
For all intents and purposes, once the audio recording is transcribed into a regular text, the search engine algorithm treats it as any other text with a question mark at the end of it. Next, it will attempt to find the best answer to your question. The more accurate the question, the more precise the answer will likely be, too.
Here are the basic steps of how a voice search functions:
Voice search SEO is on – The user activates voice search and speaks his query into the microphone. The mic will pick up the audio and record it temporarily
Voice-to-text conversion – Once the audio is recorded, a special algorithm will turn the spoken word into text. It is at this point of the process where most hilarity tends to happen, as ambiental noises, wrong pronunciation, low speaking volume, or even rare accents can produce a number of funny or embarrassing scenarios. (The famous sketch with two Scotsmen in a voice-activated elevator from British comedy series Burnistoun springs to mind. ELEVEEENNN!!!)
Text analysis – At this point, the text is analyzed and another algorithm kicks in that can tell apart command keywords.
Search engine connection – The newly-transcribed text is moved into a search engine. Next, the search engine starts looking for the most relevant and up-to-date answers.
An answer is presented – Usually not taking more than a few seconds, the search engine finds and produces the best result.
At its most basic level, voice search is just text search, but with less typing and more speaking. That said, tailoring your content to be voice-search-friendly requires a bit of additional effort. In the passages below, we’re sharing some tips on how to make your business more easily spottable online for the increasing pool of people who use this advanced search system.
Tips for Voice Search SEO
The reason why many businesses are still reluctant to hop onto the voice search SEO bandwagon is not so much novelty as the fear of having to redesign your entire website and introduce another War and Peace of code behind the scenes.
The good news is – voice search SEO is not as tough to incorporate into your business as you think. For the most part, many of the text-based SEO strategies translate into the voice-activated search field, too.
Here are some of the tips on how to get started with voice search SEO:
Understand the voice search medium
First things first, simply using the voice-recognized tech is a great place to start figuring out what the current voice search landscape looks like.
You may assume that it’s practically the same as a text search, but this could be wrong. Asking questions and tracking down the answers will give you a first-hand insight into who’s at the top of the food chain for a certain niche. That is how you can get an idea of who your competitors are.
Next, you can ask the voice search specifically for your company. If the search still comes down empty, that means that you’re not even on the map and that you need to make your brand (its name, the most important product or service, and other specifics) reachable for someone using voice search.
Get acquainted with your audience
Understanding what your customers need and what the most commonly asked questions are related to your company or the general line of business you’re in, is a must.
To get on top of this task, creating a long list of keywords and QA-inspired queries your customers have asked or might ask, can be a great place to start. For your research, you can use several sources such as Google Search Console and other, independent websites such as Answer the Public.
The goal here is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and go through all the stages of making a purchase or buying a subscription for a service. From having a need or a problem, to searching for a solution online, to finding your company and its products or services, to deciding to commit to a purchase.
Make sure to cover every step and assume what questions the customers could pose at any given moment and you will have a general idea of how to make your business more noticeable online for voice search engines.
Do your homework regarding keywords
Whenever there is SEO, there are also keywords.
Having an idea of what your customers want and what the most successful competitors are will get you a sound starting point for entering the world of voice-activated search engines.
Finding the right keywords is an essential part of any SEO endeavor, whether it’s text, images, videos, or other media and voice search SEO is no different.
There are a plethora of potential sources you can look into online for getting the best possible keywords. Here are some of them:
- Google Autocomplete
- BuzzSumo Question Analyzer
- SEOToolSet’s Keyword Suggestions Tool
Finding keywords in itself won’t be a problem, but choosing the best ones over the other ones will be a challenge, so that’s where you need to put the most of your effort.
Take into consideration the different types of voice interaction
When you open up the Youtube app on your phone and want to listen to some music, all you need to do is simply say the name of the song, artist, or your custom-made mix list, and the algorithm will find the thing easily.
That said, if you’re using a Google Assistant or Siri, you might be inclined to use more words to explain what piece of info you need. This means that you will need to take into account a whole new set of longer keywords that are more specific and that are more likely to attract a future paying customer.
The bottom line here is that it is essential to optimize for both short and long keywords, as they both represent two ends of the same spectrum:
Short keywords – Words and phrases such as ‘flashlight’, ‘women’s sneakers’, or ‘car battery’, or ‘scented candles’, to name a couple of random examples.
Long-tail keywords – These are three or more words such as ‘car battery chargers under $150’. There is less competition for these and they will provide more context for your brand.
All in all, from finding out where Vin Diesel went to high-school to ordering a brand-new pair of sneakers from Amazon, Voice search SEO is a technology that’s taken the world by the storm and by the looks of things – it’s here to stay. (Despite all the clumsy speech-to-text spelling errors.)
Since the rapidly-expanding global market is by no means exempt from the new way of voice recognition technology, getting onboard this bandwagon as a business owner is definitely a smart idea.