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Evolving SEO Techniques for Voice Search Optimization

Evolving SEO Techniques for Voice Search Optimization featured image

Have you ever thought about how you talk to your voice assistant? Is it different from how you typically type queries into search engines? Definitely! 

Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are our chit-chat buddies now, and optimizing for their queries is key to success. 

Let’s explore SEO tricks that will work in this brave new world.

Let’s start with the basics. Voice search (VS) is a way of finding information on the internet. In this case, the user uses voice commands instead of typing on the keyboard. It allows users to search for information using their voice through voice assistants. The most popular ones are Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.

Almost 60% of Americans have used voice assistants at least once in their lives. And 21% of them can’t go a day without voice search and their smart speaker. As for those who don’t have a smart speaker yet, 34% are considering getting one.

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So, how does it work? The process starts when the user activates the voice assistant (usually with a command phrase like “Hey Google” or “Alexa”). Then, the assistant records the user’s voice query and sends it to a server for speech recognition. After that, the system analyzes the query, interprets its meaning, and provides the most relevant response or search result. 

Voice and text search have their own peculiarities. The first one, of course, is the form of the query. In text search, you’re used to typing keywords on the keyboard. In voice search, everything goes much more naturally. You ask questions or simply express your thoughts the way you speak in everyday conversation.

Another important difference is the type of queries. In voice search, people are more inclined to ask more elaborate and conversational questions than in text search. So now, users expect their voice queries to be processed and understood as if they were talking to another person.

That’s why it’s so important for the content on your website to address the typical questions people usually ask in conversational speech. The key here is “natural.” Our VS queries often sound as if we’re talking to a friend rather than reading a piece of text.

The importance of voice search for SEO

The number of smart speakers in our homes keeps on growing. It’s predicted that in 2024, smart speaker sales will surpass 30 billion dollars. These gadgets are getting super popular, soon outselling many other electronic devices.

More than half of smartphone users—around 56%—prefer just asking a question out loud to find info about different brands and companies. Webmasters and SEO pros need to be on top of these changes and adapt to them.

As voice search evolves, users are all about the convenience and speed it offers. Life’s a breeze with VS. No more pounding your fingers trying to type out a quick query on your phone or laptop. Just chat up the device, and it will hunt down the info you need. It’s especially clutch when you’re on the go—driving, at the gym, or whipping up dinner.

Now, let’s explore how all these shifts have shaken up user behavior.

Shifting search queries

So, we’ve mentioned how voice search has brought about new types of queries, different from the traditional text ones. Users are leaning more towards natural language and asking questions conversationally instead of using short keywords.

This has led to queries becoming longer and more detailed. Let’s break it down! Instead of searching for “restaurants nearby,” users might now ask, “Where can I find a good Italian restaurant nearby?”

Impact on SEO

And this, of course, hasn’t gone unnoticed by search engine algorithms. Google and other search engines have already adapted to these new queries. Webmasters and SEO specialists are having to rethink their strategies.

Now, it’s about creating content that doesn’t just contain keywords but actually answers users’ questions. This could involve creating content in the form of answers to frequently asked questions, optimizing local listings, and supporting “tell me about” features in their articles and pages.

Craft content for the spoken word

So, let’s talk about how to create content that fits perfectly for voice search. The first thing to remember is to answer questions. Use the 5W1H technique: who, what, where, when, why, and how. By the way, about one in five voice search queries is one of 25 keywords. 

They often start with “how” or “what” and include words like “best” or “easy.” Your answers should be clear and specific.

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  • Who? Your content should clearly identify the subject being discussed. For example: “Which bank offers the best financing terms for small businesses?”
  • What? Define the essence of the question and provide a precise answer. For example: “What is business process reengineering and how to do it?”
  • Where? If the question is related to location, make sure your answer points to a specific place or region. For example: “Where to find the best Italian restaurants in Kyiv?”
  • When? If the question requires information about time or deadlines, provide specific dates or time frames. For example: “When did World War II start?”
  • Why? Explain the reason or motivation behind a particular action or event. For example: “Why is it important to use HTTPS to protect a website?”
  • How? Provide specific steps or instructions to achieve a goal or solve a problem. For example: “How to create an effective content marketing strategy?”

Embracing long-tail keywords

Let’s not forget about long-tail keywords. They may not be as popular as short ones, but they certainly reflect user queries. Here’s why you should pay attention to them:

  • Accurate query representation. Long-tail phrases allow better alignment with user queries. For example, instead of simply “best grooming,” it’s preferable to use “where to find the best dog grooming in Cincinnati.” This makes your content more relevant to the specific query.
  • Reduced competition. Since long-tail keywords are less popular than their short counterparts, the competition for them is usually lower. This means your content has a better chance of ranking high in search results.
  • Enhanced user experience. Long-tail keywords often reflect more precise user queries. And that means your content more accurately meets their needs. This contributes to improving the user experience and increasing the likelihood of attracting the target audience.

Guess user intentions

Successful content requires understanding what the user wants to find. And then giving them exactly what they’re looking for. It’s simple.

For example, if they ask, “What’s the weather like in Dnipro today?” give them a precise answer, not just a list of news about the weather in Ukraine. And forget about lofty or professional styles! Write as if you’re talking to a friend. The simpler and clearer the text, the better.

Preparing for voice search: Technical SEO

Let’s talk about how to prepare your website for VS. Technical SEO plays an important role here, so let’s take a look at some important aspects:

Prioritizing mobile friendliness

In essence, responsive design is when your website “senses” the device screen size it’s being viewed on and automatically adjusts to it. This approach makes the site versatile. It looks great on large monitors as well as on small smartphone or tablet screens.

This is largely achieved through what are called media queries in CSS. They allow for flexible layouts that can adapt depending on the device the site is viewed on. The result is a site that always looks sharp. And it doesn’t matter which gadget is opening it.

Optimizing loading speed

The thing is, loading speed is a must-have, especially for mobile devices. After all, someone who visits your site from their phone might be in an area with weak internet or no internet at all. So, to avoid frustrating those users, the site needs to load quickly. 

How do you make sure of that? Here are a few tricks: compress images, remove unnecessary CSS and JavaScript, and caching. In short, do everything to make pages load as fast as possible.

Mobile device testing

After all this optimization work, don’t forget to test your site on real mobile devices. This is the only way to be sure that everything looks and functions as intended. 

You can use developer tools in the browser to emulate different devices and screen resolutions. But nothing beats testing on actual phones and tablets. It’s best to test the site on several models to ensure it looks and works great on any device.

Optimization for featured snippets

Snippets are tips for voice assistants like Siri or Google Assistant. They’re those short descriptions or answers that pop up right at the top of your search results. When a user asks a question, the voice assistant often quotes information from snippets as the answer. Imagine asking, “What is the height of Everest?” The voice assistant reads the answer straight from the snippet without the need to visit a website. So if your content appears in snippets, the chances that users will choose you significantly increase.

In addition to optimizing for voice search, it’s also crucial for businesses to streamline their digital communication strategies. Utilizing the right cold email software can significantly enhance your ability to reach out to new leads and maintain engagement with current clients.

Effective email communication complements your SEO efforts by driving direct traffic to your website and improving user engagement, which are both valued by search engines.

Structured data for clarity

Structured data helps search engines better understand the content of your site. For example? Schema Markup is a way to add additional information to the content of your site. It can be information about your company, customer reviews, products, and more. This data helps search engines better understand your content and display it correctly in search results.

To use Schema Markup, you can throw in some specific code right into your web page’s HTML. For instance, you could use the Schema.org type “PostalAddress” to show off your business address. This helps search engines nail down the meaning of the text block and show it properly in search results.

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Once you’ve sprinkled structured data onto your site, it’s a good idea to give it a once-over to make sure everything’s running smoothly. You can use cool tools like the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. It’ll help you double-check that your data’s all in place and doesn’t have any errors that might mess up its display in search results. 

Using structured data = giving search engines a little nudge to understand your site better. That can boost the chances of your site showing up with fancy extras in search.

Local SEO and its importance for voice search

When we talk about VS, one of the first aspects to pay attention to is local search. Why? Because voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa actively use location information to provide users with relevant results. Typically, when a user searches for something like “restaurant nearby” or “store nearby,” the voice assistant will prioritize results from local search.

The technical side of local SEO

Getting set up for local search means tackling a few technical bits that make your business stand out in voice search. Here’s what you gotta do:

  • Google My Business Listing. This is a biggie for local visibility on Google. Getting your business listed here means it’ll show up on the map and in local search results.
  • Optimizing Local Pages. Creating separate pages for each location of your business with unique content, including contact information, hours of operation, reviews, etc., will help improve its visibility in local search queries.
  • Throw in Local Keywords. Tossing in keywords related to your location and nearby spots into your website’s content helps bump up its rank in local search.
  • Drop Some Structured Location Data. Using schema markup for location will help search engines accurately determine your address, hours of operation, and other company information.
  • Getting Local Reviews and Ratings. Good reviews and high ratings in local directories and reviews can really amp up your visibility in local search results.
  • Build Local Backlinks. Local link building helps improve a local business’s search engine visibility and credibility within its community.

When you apply these tricks, your business becomes more appealing to local customers. You’ll make it more noticeable in search and improve the chances of it being found through voice assistants.

Case study: How businesses successfully optimized for voice search

Let’s check out a few examples of companies that totally nailed adapting to voice search demands and saw some serious growth in visibility and traffic:

The Coffee House

The Coffee House café actively implemented a local SEO strategy, optimizing its website for queries like “where to get a delicious coffee nearby.” Their efforts paid off: foot traffic increased by 30% over the last six months due to a high position in local VS results. Plus, by tossing in some long-tail keywords like “where’s the best coffee in the Old Town area,” The Coffee House became the go-to for locals in that neighborhood. It resulted in increased traffic and conversions.

Fresh Grocery Delivery

Fresh Grocery Delivery, a fresh produce delivery service, strategically used long-tail keywords related to their customers’ locations. The results were impressive: orders spiked by 40% last quarter mostly thanks to their VS visibility boost. They dialed in on local queries like “fresh groceries delivered downtown,” and became the top pick for people in that area. So, they managed to expand their customer base and profit significantly.

Green Thumb Landscaping

Green Thumb Landscaping is a landscaping company. They invested considerable time and effort into creating helpful articles and guides that address their customers’ most common questions. Their efforts paid off: their site is now the hotspot for tips and tricks on creating a backyard garden via voice search. As a result, traffic grew, and conversions shot up by 25%.

Through active optimization of content for specific user queries, Green Thumb Landscaping didn’t just become a company—they became THE authority in their field. This drew in more eyes and customers and cemented their rep.

These stories are proof that keeping tabs on VS trends and tailoring content to user queries can seriously pay off.

Conclusion 

Voice search is a revolution and a fresh challenge for everyone in the SEO game. But hey, we’re no strangers to rolling with the punches and adapting to constant changes. New strategies, tactics, and hacks keep us on track to score big in these changing times. The key? It’s to keep up with the latest trends and not lag behind the innovations!

Download one of Omniscient’s guides to take your content to the next level and make it even more voice search-friendly!

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Author bio:

Roy Emmerson is the co-founder of TechTimes.com, a B2B SaaS platform that helps businesses stay up-to-date on the latest technology trends. With over a decade of experience in the tech industry, Roy is a thought leader in the field and is passionate about helping companies embrace new technologies to improve their operations and drive growth.

Cassandra Rosas

Cass is the SEO Outreach Team Lead at Omniscient Digital, she loves writing about topics such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content operations, e-commerce, and social media marketing. In her spare time she likes listening to music, doing oil painting and watching SciFi movies.