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How to optimize content for voice search

Ad Age 27 Mar 2020 02:00

One in two people use voice technology on their smartphones, and nearly half expect their use of the tech to grow, according to a 2017 survey of 851 respondents by comScore (registration required). It’s estimated that there are 3.25 billion voice assistant devices in use and that the number of voice assistant units will reach 8 billion by 2023.

We see them in homes everywhere; devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home are widely used. Voice assistants are also used in businesses for conferencing and other basics tasks such as typing and sending emails.

Voice assistants’ popularity comes from the ease of use they bring. Your customers can use voice commands instead of having to type. They can work faster and multitask, thus getting more done in less time.

Using voice search, people can now order groceries, get answers to questions, attend meetings and more. As people continue to increase their phone usage, you will have to create content on your website so that it gets picked up by search engines for voice queries.

Let's dive into a few tips to help you optimize your content to meet this rising voice search trend.

Add the speakable tag.

Tags allow you to mark up content so that search engines recognize what your content is about. For example, there are specific tags for food recipes that tell search engines whether the content indicates the cooking time, cooking method, cuisine and more. 

Speakable tags let news sites mark specific pieces of content as being good for voice queries. If you have a news site, it's helpful to be aware of the speakable tag and use it in your content. It can also be useful if you frequently create content for news publications; your content can be marked with the speakable tag to be read out loud. 

Use long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are specific, longer terms people use to find something online. People often use voice search to find specific information and will expect results that give complete answers to their questions. 

They will use long-tail keywords when phrasing questions, which is why your content should be optimized for them. For example, if you own a wedding boutique, you might create content on your website or business listings to say, "The best wedding outfits on Main Street." That way, when a nearby consumer asks their device, "Can you help me find wedding outfits nearby?" your brand is a search result. Adding images and other contextual cues such as reviews would also help.

Make use of phrases.

Build your content so that it reflects how people naturally speak. This means that your content should contain phrases people use in daily life. Make it a company-wide practice to use a conversational and friendly tone when communicating with customers, whether it's on your website, in email communication or through any other channel. 

Almost 70% of requests to the Google Assistant are expressed in natural language. Your content needs to reflect that in order to appear as a search result. 

Add specific content.

When people make spoken queries, they often look for specific information or ask their device to perform definite actions. Here are a few types of content that your website should contain that helps users:

• Updated business details: Ensure that your website has clear information, such as your address, timings and other details. Keep your website updated with changes in holidays, store timings and locations. It’s also important to do the same in your business listings and social media pages. 

• Answer questions: Do research through social media and by using analytics tools to understand the information people are looking for related to your business, product or industry. 

You’ll find inspiration for creating resource pages on your site. It’s also essential to create facts-and-questions pages. One study found that Google prefers short answers, and the typical voice search result is fewer than 30 words, according to a study of 10,000 Google Home search results by Backlinko. The takeaway is that you should find and answer questions and keep your responses short. 

Structure your content.

Structuring your content will make your website easier to navigate and understand. Keep each paragraph short by using three to four lines in each one. 

Remember to create specific answers and to use lists, headings and subheadings. Adding schema tags will also help search engines to read your content and understand if it answers the user’s query.

Stay ahead by boosting for voice search.

Voice search is growing and is a key feature in the landscape of SEO and digital marketing. Optimizing your content for voice search will help you appear for voice queries and can improve your SEO

If you can prepare your website and various content for voice search optimization, you stand to move ahead of your competition as the presence of voice assistants increases.

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