The number of voice searches being conducted is increasing every year due to the increase of voice search friendly devices and improved voice search capabilities. With voice searches, it's incredibly easy to conduct a local search for restaurants, stores, and other businesses that provide a specific product or service.
Voice search began to take off in June 2011 when Google let the world know it would roll out search voice on its platform. While it could originally only be used in English, we currently have over 60 languages supported by Google voice search. At first, the voice and typed local search queries were the same. The way these individual searches were conducted changed with the Hummingbird update in 2013. The Hummingbird algorithm combined natural language structures with user intent in order to bring up more relevant results to voice searches.
Since most voice searches involve long questions, it's important to optimize your SEO strategy to voice search queries.
Just like with a typical SEO strategy, digital marketers differ in their opinions on voice search strategies. It's important to optimize for voice search because it's a specific part of the local search process. With the large differences in how long tail and short tail keywords are structured, you need to ensure anyone searching for your products and/or services can find your website. Consider these different keyword structures for voice and mobile searches.
Featured snippets are the links you see at the top of SERPs. As the query is performed, Google pulls out the most relevant content from the top result and places it in a box:
Featured snippets are incredibly important because up to 30% of 1.4 million tested Google queries contain these snippets. If a local search query contains a featured snippet, your voice assistant will provide its answer from the snippet. In order to rank in voice results, you need to optimize your content with high quality data to improve the possibility it's displayed in Google local search featured snippets.
User intent is the reason your prospect is typing their search query into Google. You need to be able to differentiate if they are seeking information or looking to complete a purchase. For some queries, it's easy to understand intent. These searches will contain "how to", "buy", "cost of", are other related terms. However, some queries will not have obvious intent. Since the Hummingbird update, Google looks at the context of the keywords being searched to provide the most relevant answers. For example, if you type or say, "Daytona 500", Google will likely provide you with information about the upcoming 2020 race instead of a race from 10+ years ago.
By keeping this in mind, you can create content that is relevant to your prospects' intent so you can improve the relevance of your pages.
When someone performs a voice search query, they will typically speak to their voice assistant as if they are speaking to another person. Instead of saying short keywords they would type like "Daytona 500 date", someone performing a voice search would ask their assistant, "When it the Daytona 500?"
Long tail keywords are more conversational and typically involve questions. However, it is not just voice search that benefits from long tail keywords. For years, SEO marketers have been trying to rank of two or three word keywords. There is far less competition and difficulty to rank on keywords phrases that contain more words. With long tail keywords, you can improve your local search, traditional SEO, and voice search rankings.
After you create a list of long tail keywords and questions that you need to rank on, be sure to include them in a specific post and on pages across your website. Add the questions in H2 headers to help mobile users more easily find the question and answer they seeking. Once you answer the main question, answer variations of queries to help your site rank higher.
If your website loads slowly, not only will users bounce out, but it may not be displayed in voice search results. Since a local voice search query is typically conducted when someone is in a hurry, your website needs to load quickly. With our SEO audit, we can identify your current site speed and help you optimize it. We can also ensure you have a mobile friendly website.
Search engines use structured data to better understand the content that is on your website. This data is best added and maintained with schema markup. By adding structured data to your website, you can expect to see an increase in traffic and click-through rates. It also improves your chances of your website being placed in featured rich snippets.
Schema markup can only do so much for a poorly built or outdated website. If you can't remember the last time your site was updated, it may be time to have our experts look over your site and help you determine if your it needs some TLC.
Up to 58% of prospects conduct a local voice search to find nearby businesses that offer the product and/or service the prospect desires. When it comes to voice searches, people often add "near me", "close by", "around me," and other related phrases to the end of their search query. It's in a business' best interest to optimize for these keywords along with keywords that incorporate their city and nearby neighborhoods.
Local SEO is incredibly important to driving foot traffic to your business as many of these searches are performed when prospects are already in a vehicle or out on the town. You will want to optimize your Google My Business and Google Maps listing to ensure your business can appear as a voice search result.
Voice searches continue to grow in popularity, and it doesn't show any signs of slowing down. By taking voice search into account when planning your SEO strategy, you can expect to see your content visibility grow. Many voice search results only include the top one to three results, so it's important to get ahead of your competition now. We can help you identify the best combination of long tail and short tail keywords to help you have more foot traffic delivered to your door. Contact us today to learn more about how Red Sneakers Mobile Marketing can help you excel beyond your competition.
- Ed Moore, SEO Coach
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