In case you aren’t familiar with voice search, users speak into a device as opposed to typing keywords into a search bar. Audio technology understands what the user is looking for through speech recognition and then delivers the results orally. The most common digital assistants for voice search devices are Alexa Echo, Google Home, Siri, and Cortana. While we genuinely enjoy asking Alexa to play our favorite 80’s hairband music, the real question for business is how this change impacts SEO.
So what is the difference between web and voice search optimization?
The most significant difference is that the voice search is conversational in tone. Voice search consists of longer sentences, while web search is concise. The user’s intent behind voice search also typically varies from web searches. Most voice searches focus on completing an action, such as play a song, convert grams to cups, or order more dog food. People also use voice search to gather information, like when is the game or who shot Aaron Burr. Although this can be different in intent from a web search that is often keyword-based and more research-driven, Google uses the same algorithm to deliver search results for both. When you view those search results on the web, you are given a list of recommended resource sites, while with voice search, you typically receive one answer — making it even more important to be thoughtful and strategic about voice search optimization. With that in mind, we have gathered three tips to help you begin your website voice search optimization.
1. Write how you speak
Like we mentioned, voice search is conversational. When creating content primed for voice search, it is better to focus on intent, content, and semantics than just keywords. Essentially, write like you would if you were answering a question in person. Voice search keywords are considered long-tail, meaning they are more of a phrase than a one or two-word combination. Keep it simple; most voice search results are at no higher than a 9th-grade reading level.
2. Make a featured snippet
The average voice search result is about 29 words long. To give Google the most incentive to select your answer as the optimal response, create an approximately 29-word response above the fold of your page. If you do a great job, your response may become a featured snippet. A featured snippet is a summary answer displayed on search listings; they appear after paid ads but before regular search listings. Landing a featured snippet is an almost sure-fire way to rank for voice search results. Don’t forget to include your long-tail keyword phrase (the question you are answering) in your snippet, as well.
3. Consider your words
When you are phrasing your long-tail keyword phrase or subject, use words with high voice search volume. A combination of only 25 keywords triggers over 20% of voice search queries. See the graphic breakdown from BrightLocal below.
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