Many search marketers and bloggers are already on the voice search optimization train; if you are not, it means you are behind on SEO trends and giving your competitors more edge over you, but you can still fix that.
You are about to read a comprehensive guide showing you what voice search is, how to optimize your site for voice search, and actionable steps to consistently publish content optimized for voice search.
This guide is arranged in chapters to walk you through what voice search optimization is and how you can leverage this trend on your website.
Chapter One: Voice Search
In this chapter, you will learn about voice search, how it works, and how searchers use it when surfing the net.
What Is Voice Search?
Voice search is a method of surfing the internet and navigating apps and websites using voice commands.
This method uses artificial intelligence to recognize the query’s voice and semantics.
So, instead of typing keyword-based queries, you ‘talk’ into the search engines.
History of Voice Search
As unbelievable as it may sound, voice search has been around for many years but was propelled into public relevance by the advent of speech recognition technology and the use of personal virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri.
In 1952, Bell Laboratories developed the first voice search technology, the Automatic Digit Recognition machine named Audrey.
Audrey could recognize digits (0-9) with more than 90% accuracy spoken by a single voice (the developer’s – HK Davis), but it wasn’t commercially viable until the late 1990s.
However, it paved the way and revealed the possibility of using voice search for more advanced processes.
On June 14, 2011, Google (Is this the correct link?) announced that it would introduce voice search features in its search engine.
The same year, Apple released Siri, a personal virtual assistant, and marked another history in voice searches. Siri allows its users to use voice commands to perform tasks on their Apple phones, including sending texts, making calls, and searching the internet.
These events became the landmark for the voice search revolution that four years later, 20% of searches on the Google App were voice searches. Fast forward to 2018, 27% of mobile searches worldwide are now made with voice search.
How Is Voice Search Different from Normal Search?
Voice search and typed queries are distinct, so voice search optimization is needed.
Here are some main differences:
Voice search keywords are mostly long-tail conversational keywords that are very specific to a need, so it is clear what the user wants. If you use a voice assistant on a search engine, you’ll mostly see the answer without having to scroll.
Longer search queries.
If you want to type in a query on your browser, you’ll most likely opt for shorter words that best describe your intent. These queries are usually just keyword based. For example, ‘best SEO tips,’ ‘chicken soup recipe,’ ‘migraine treatment,’ and so on.
Because users always did searches this way, SEO experts focused on short-tail and medium-tail keywords, so their content will be relevant to searches like this.
Enter voice search.
With voice search, users will go, ‘Alexa, tell me how I can get rid of a migraine’ rather than ‘migraine treatment’ or ‘how can I prepare a delicious chicken soup in 30 mins’ instead of ‘chicken soup recipe.’
It’s specific to a need.
Since it takes less stress to say something than typing it, users prefer to go into details of what they want using voice search than if they were typing it.
You can easily say, ‘Siri, can you tell me the best SEO tips that experts use nowadays?’ when looking for expert tips rather than common tips.
However, you would instead type ‘best SEO tips’ while using search engines and look through the result page.
With voice searches, queries can be conversational, especially when using a smart voice-enabled device. This is called voice chat.
These devices can create a connection between your previous and current query. For example, if I asked for information on a restaurant near me that sells chicken, I can ask a connecting question in this way:
“When does it close?”
The device knows the subject ‘it’ refers to the restaurant in my previous query.
This cannot be done with browsers yet, but with AI and chatbots, this feature might be introduced into browsers soon.
How Does Voice Search Work?
Voice search uses ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) to convert your words into text to surf the internet or perform a task.
When you voice search, the ASR for your voice assistant converts what it hears into a wave pattern using an algorithm, which is then analyzed and turned into words until the entire query is understood and the result is shown to you.
The process is explained in detail below:
This process ensures that the search assistant focuses on your voice and separates the searcher’s voice from background sounds.
The algorithm ‘hears’ sound waves and not your exact words. So, what this process accomplishes is to convert the sound waves into digital data for processing.
The algorithm uses natural language processing (NLP) to analyze the texts and identify your keywords and semantics. So, with NLP, the algorithm can understand your intent and the meaning of your query.
External source connection
Depending on the search engine used by the voice assistant, the algorithm uses the search engine to find relevant answers to your query. It also uses information like your search history, location, and interests to deliver the most relevant result.
Voice queries are delivered verbally; the results are delivered to the smart device, and the voice assistant reads them to you.
How Searchers Can Use Voice Search
You can now use voice searches on your mobile devices and desktops differently.
Initially, you could only use voice searches on search engines. Still, its integration into virtual personal assistant devices has made it much more helpful than searching for things on search engines.
Here are some other ways you can use your voice to search:
- Entertainment: Playing music, checking for recent movies.
- Directions: For example, Google map has a voice-enabled navigation system.
- Communication: You can use your voice assistant on your mobile devices to make calls and send messages.
- Quick answers: You can get quick answers to questions without going on your browser. ‘What’s the nearest bus station? What’s the nearest chicken bbq restaurant with delivery? Who won the last world cup?’ etc.
- Alarms & Reminders: You can also set alarms on your device and reminders on your calendar through voice commands.
- App integration: Several apps have integrated voice recognition technology to aid their users in navigating app features.
Although it still extracts information from the web, the point here is, it does the search for you, and all you need to do is ask or command.
READ MORE: All you need to know about On-Page SEO (Coming soon)
Voice Search Devices and Their Search Engines
The advent of voice-activated devices has made voice recognition technology more useful in everyday life. By 2024, it is predicted that the number of digital voice assistants will reach 8.4 billion units, which is higher than the current world population.
Here are some popular and not-so-popular voice search devices today:
- Google Home: Google
- Amazon Alexa: Bing
- Microsoft’s Cortana: Bing
- Apple’s Siri: Safari
- Tecno’s Ella: Google
- Google Assistant: Google
- Other Android phones and Devices: Google
Alexa, on the other hand, is exclusive to the Bing search engine.
This means you must know the relevant search engines your audience uses and optimize your content to its ranking factors.
Voice Search Statistics
These are voice search statistics that show:
- Percentage of people using voice search
- Percentage of people using smart devices
Here are some interesting voice search statistics I’ve seen:
- About 40% of internet users in the United States use voice search.
- The number of voice searches increased by ×35 between 2008 and 2016.
- Voice search is the second option for phone-based search behind browsers.
- 61% of users say voice search is convenient when they’re busy.
- 24% of Americans own a smart voice-activated device.
- 51% of users say they will use voice search to find a local business near them.
- By 2024, the number of digital voice assistants will reach 8.4 billion units.
Chapter 2: Voice Search and SEO
In this chapter, I’ll show you what voice search optimization is, how it impacts search results, and why it is an important SEO strategy for the next couple of years.
What Is Voice Search Optimization?
Voice search optimization is the process of using certain SEO techniques to optimize your website and content for voice search queries.
This is so your content can appear in the top results for a voice search query, and users can easily find you and your business. With voice search optimization, you make your content easily discoverable by search engines and voice assistants.
How Voice Search Affects SEO
We can’t talk about SEO and not mention voice search.
The primary purpose of search engines is to provide information to their users, but what happens when users use another way to search for information?
Search engines will need to adjust their system to give relevant answers regardless of how their users search for information.
Due to the system change by search engines to satisfy their users, how websites are ranked in search results has also been affected.
Here are other ways voice search has impacted SEO:
Reduced organic click-through rates
The answers to voice queries are usually given straight away, so the user doesn’t need to scroll down to see other results.
Usually, when a smart device is involved, the searcher doesn’t even see the result page, but the voice assistant delivers the answer verbally.
This has resulted in reduced CTR, even for the most optimized posts.
Use of more specific keywords
Traditional, text-based searches are often done with specific keywords that are barely up to five words, but with voice search, queries are conversational. The keywords used for voice searches are questioned, conversational, or natural language, which mimics how you would ask your friend a question.
These types of keywords are usually more specific and completely streamlined.
Do you see the need to optimize your website and content for search results?
Google Algorithm Updates That Affect Voice Searches
Google keeps updating its algorithm to keep up with technology and filter search results to rank the most relevant and valuable posts that best answer a search query.
With voice search gaining popularity and advancing for almost a decade, there has been some algorithm update by Google that directly affects search results for voice queries.
With BERT, the algorithm focused on understanding the intent and context of a query, especially regarding voice searches. It is an update to Hummingbird.
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, and it uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand what a searcher wants to see in the search results.
This algorithm update rolled out in 2019, allowed Google to present the most accurate result to voice search users because it could understand what they said and why.
Hummingbird was released in 2013, two years after Google announced the addition of voice search features to its search engines. Hummingbird also used Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the intent and context of a query with voice search.
This algorithm update, released in 2016, was made to prioritize mobile-friendly sites over desktop-friendly sites, and this was because searches were done via mobile devices rather than on desktops.
57% of users use voice search on their mobile devices compared to 29% of voice searchers on other devices, including tablets, laptops, and desktops, according to a survey by PWC.
With this algorithm update, voice search results brought up sites already optimized for mobile devices.
RankBrain was released in 2015. It uses AI technology to understand the intent behind a query. This algorithm is essential for voice search optimization because Google can understand and interpret a voice query to produce the most useful result.
5. Local search algorithm update
The local search algorithm was made to help increase the accuracy of local search results. Most voice searches are made to get local information like the weather, local news, restaurants, businesses, and even the nearest gas stations.
This algorithm update was released in 2014 and aids local search results for voice queries on search engines or via virtual personal assistants like Siri or Alexa.
Why You Need to Optimize Your Website for Voice Searches
Will voice search have that much of an impact on SEO? It already has!
As of 2020, there are 4.2 billion digital voice assistants, expected to double by next year.
Why is this a necessary statistic?
The number of voice assistant devices is almost the equivalent of the number of people using voice search. When you ask Siri, Alexa, Cortana, or any of your digital voice assistants to find the closest restaurant to you or how to cook a mean lasagna, it will give you an answer drawn from the internet—in other words, a web page.
However, the problem is that your current SEO strategy is based on keywords, and while this is a good thing, you need to learn how to optimize your website for voice searches because voice search queries and typed queries are different.
Here are some reasons why you need to do voice search optimization:
Voice search is the future.
The popularity of voice search is spreading like wildfire, and it’s expected to explode more than it is currently, both in technology and in use.
Voice search technology makes novel improvements encouraging non-users to embrace this search type—with the introduction of voice chat, app integration, and a seamless delivery system.
The search pattern is changing.
From search queries to follow-up questions, how people use search engines is changing drastically. Google is trying to adjust its system to satisfy its users better and filtering search results to suit its users; search behavior.
When this is done, your content that is not optimized for voice search will get lost and drop in rank.
Not optimizing your content and website for voice search removes you completely from the SEO game! Like you aren’t even in the game!
You need to catch up on the 51% of local voice searchers that use voice search to find businesses near them, giving an advantage to your competitors.
Like it or not, SEO experts are already competing for voice search traffic in their niche, and to stay ahead of this competition, you need to learn how to optimize your website and your content for voice search.
Voice search optimization also works on your on-page optimization. When you optimize your content for voice search, it also affects users’ experience on your page. This is because most voice optimization best practices are made to promote user experience and help users get answers to their questions faster and more simpler.
Chapter 3: Voice Search Optimization
In this chapter, you will learn how to optimize your site and content for voice search.
How Do You Optimize Your Content for Voice Search?
1. Keyword research for voice search
The primary aspect of voice search optimization is the keywords you target. This is because the search intent might be the same regarding voice search, but the keywords will be different.
Voice searches are 76.1% longer than text-based searches. In keyword research, you should target more conversational, question, and long-tail keywords.
For example, whenever I write content I want to optimize for voice search, I can’t use a long-tail keyword as my target keyword, but I use it for my sub-headings.
Like this post I wrote on ChatGPT for SEO, my sub-headings consisted of question keywords that I knew the audience looked for.
How to find keywords for voice search optimization?
When you type in a keyword on the Google search engine, Google brings a list of options to predict your search query. From this list, you can see other options that are closely related to what you are typing.
The problem with this is that it might be based on your search history, preferences, or location.
Since its takeover by Neil Patel, answerthepublic has gotten even better. Insert the keyword you are targeting (a maximum of two words for the best results), and you will see many questions people are asking about that keyword.
You can even filter the result based on location.
“People Also Ask”
This section is a part of Google’s search result page where you see related questions people ask about your current search.
This is a goldmine of long-tail question keywords your audience seeks.
Keyword research tools
Your keyword research tools will also have a list of long-tail keywords for your audience.
I use the paid version of Ubersuggest for my keyword research, and while my focus is usually medium-tail keywords, you will also see many long-tail keywords. These keywords generally have a low search volume, but that’s because they are streamlined to a specific audience.
SEMrush’s keyword magic tool can give you questions about a specific keyword and its topic research tool. This tool also gives you a list of questions related to your topic.
You can find the appropriate keyword for voice search optimization depending on your choice of keyword research tool.
After getting these keywords, you might not be able to input them as your keywords for the post, but you can find a way to input them in your content as subheadings or in the FAQ section of your page.
This way, your entire post becomes an answer page for your audience’s questions about that topic.
2. Content optimization for voice search
These are tips for creating content Google can rank for voice search results.
Create FAQ pages.
Adding FAQs to my posts has become my next favorite thing to do after keyword research.
Backlinko analyzed about 10,000 Google page results to see what Google prefers regarding voice search.
One of the interesting findings was that most pages that rank for voice search queries are short, concise answers that are at most 29 words.
This can be difficult to achieve in your content, although possible.
This is why FAQ pages are valuable to rank for voice search queries. It also makes it easy for Google’s web crawlers to pull an answer from your FAQ section and display it as a featured snippet.
In your FAQ section for a post, you can include question keywords you got from your keyword research and answer them in a way optimized for voice search.
How to optimize your FAQ for voice search
- Use researched question keywords.
- Make your answers short and straightforward.
- Write answers that are at most 30 words.
- Make the question a part of your answer.
- Use Schema markup for your FAQ.
Optimize for featured snippets.
What are featured snippets?
A featured snippet is part of a search result page placed before other organic results and showcases the specific part of a web page that best answers the search query.
Featured snippets can be in the form of paragraphs, lists, or tables, and ranking for featured snippets has become the goal for most website owners as it is the number one organic position.
The Backlinko voice search study discovered that 40.7% of voice search results come from featured snippets. If you optimize your content for featured snippets, you can rank for a voice search query.
Featured snippets are the go-to for voice search queries because featured snippets are like the best from the best results summarized to fit a query.
If you are already ranking on the first page of Google, you will likely rank for a featured snippet.
So, when a user is using voice search to check for specific information, it makes sense that the result being read out by the voice assistant would be from a featured snippet.
How to optimize your content for featured snippets
- Research competitor’s featured snippets.
- Optimize your content using long-tail keywords as subheadings.
- Have a FAQ section on your page.
- Do your keyword research.
- Answer related questions in your content.
- Itemize the main points in your content.
- Have structured content using H-tags.
- Give short, concise answers.
- Match the featured snippet formats of your competitors.
- Use standard on-page optimization techniques.
- Don’t use first-person language.
- Include how-to subheadings.
Use a conversational tone.
When writing content that needs to be optimized for voice search, you need to use a conversational tone that is easy to understand and relatable.
To simplify, I always say, “write as if you are talking to someone across the table.”
You should not stuff your content with unnaturally occurring keywords but focus on giving value.
The technology Google uses to lift content and recognize texts from web pages is more advanced and will not be fooled by clustered keywords or long-form content without context.
This is also one of the reasons why AI-generated content won’t help you rank on search results. You have to use natural language that is relatable to the reader.
Also, when people use voice search to surf the internet, they use a more natural and conversational tone. You want your content to match this energy by conversationally giving answers.
Your content should be rank-worthy and offer the best user experience to rank for voice searches.
Use lots of long-tail keywords in your content.
Keywords are crucial to voice search rankings.
Voice search queries are usually natural language queries compared to keyword-based queries for traditional searches.
These natural language queries are long-tailed keywords that sound more like the way you would ask a friend for information.
For voice search optimization, you must include many of these long-tail keywords in your content but make it meaningful to a search query.
From experience, I’ve learned to leverage using these long-tail keywords as subheadings with the appropriate H-tag.
For example, if I want to write a blog post on featured snippets, I would go to the ‘people also ask’ section of the search result page for featured snippets, and I will see related questions. I can also use keyword research tools, Google autocomplete, Quora, Reddit, etc.
When writing my blog post on featured snippets, I will input these long-tail keywords as part of my sub-heading or compile them in an FAQ section for that post.
Write at an 8-9th Grade reading level.
The voice search study by Backlinko found that content that is easy to read may significantly impact voice search optimization.
This study discovered that the average voice search result on Google was written at a 9th-grade reading level.
No matter what type of content you write, it should be clear and easily understandable, even by a 9th grader.
Remember that with voice search results, a voice assistant reads them to the user, and the user needs to understand them first without any visual reference.
It is logical to assume that Google will prioritize contents that are easy to pick up and understand at once.
Use filler words.
Include some filler words in your question keywords for FAQs or subheadings and have them as part of your answers.
What are filler words?
A filler word is a word that is used to fill space in a conversation.
Usually, the idea of using filler words in your content might be unappealing as they can be said to indicate uncertainty. Still, they are used to make a conversation more casual and can be helpful when you need to be relatable.
However, you should limit filler words in your general content to the question keywords and answers.
Filler words are mainly used when someone is talking. The higher your words match what a searcher is saying, the more possibility of you ranking for that query.
Examples of filler words
Here are some examples of filler words:
Just, like, literally, well, so, very, really, highly, at the end of the day, etc.
Write longer content.
Long-form content is a goldmine for voice search results. The average word count for a Google voice search result page is 2,312.
It does not imply that you need to have lengthy content to be able to rank because there are voice search results that are pulled from FAQ pages as well.
However, it implies that lengthy content can increase your chance of ranking for voice searches.
Imagine there are two blog posts on hiking tips (a lengthy and a short one), and a searcher uses voice search to look for ‘mountain hiking tips for newbies.’ Google will mostly predict that the lengthy post will have more relevant tips to the query and crawl that page for results.
However, if the shorter page has structured data and its content is organized to show mountain hiking tips for newbies or has an FAQ section that shows these tips, Google can prioritize the short post for the voice search result.
Long-form content ranking for voice searches are chance results, but having long-form content and other voice search optimization tips increases your chances exponentially.
Optimize your video content.
Do I need to upload videos to rank for voice searches?
One of the less talked about voice search optimization strategies is video content.
Google also uses video content as part of a voice search result page, especially when videos can explain the query better. It pulls off a section from the entire video that explains the query.
For example, When I ask ‘how do I style a wig?’ on my mobile phone, the first result is a video on how to style a wig in five different ways.
With a desktop, the result is quite different. I got a featured snippet from wikiHow, a blog post from Cosmopolitan, and a video section.
For these two results, videos were shown, which means they are also used to rank for voice queries.
Sometimes, Google highlights the video description instead of the video itself, like this example from thehoth.com.
Google tends to show videos for more natural language queries, and these queries can include how-tos, reviews, and tutorials.
However, videos rank for voice queries on search engines rather than for voice assistants. You should focus on other voice search optimization techniques to rank for voice assistants.
How to rank videos for search results
- Include a video transcript.
- Embed the video in a blog post.
- Optimize video title and description.
- Do keyword research for your videos.
- Use a clickable thumbnail.
- Add timestamps to your videos.
- Upload subtitles to your videos.
- Create an engaging thumbnail.
- Build links to your videos.
- Use YouTube tags.
- Optimize your channel description.
Incorporate local SEO.
This means someone in your vicinity might be using voice search to look for a product or service you offer.
Local searches also make up about 46% of general searches on Google, while 97% of users claim to use search engines to look for a local business.
People driving while looking for information on a local business or walking around that location are more likely to pop in or make an order online. This means more than half of this percentage is ready to buy.
If your business needs to be optimized for local searches, now is the time.
How to do local SEO optimization
- Create relevant content locally.
- Use local-based keywords.
- Use the phrase ‘near me’ in your title, meta description, links, and anchor texts.
- Update your Google Business Profile listing.
- List your business in online directories.
- Optimize your Google Business Profile.
- Create a contact page for your business.
- Include pictures in your Google Business Profile.
- Add a Google map feature to your website.
- Include customer reviews on your site.
- Insert clickable phone numbers.
- Optimize your site for mobile devices.
- Insert your social profiles and include links to them.
- Use schema markup for your pages.
3. Technical optimization for voice search
These are tips you can use to optimize your website for voice search:
Increase your site speed.
The time it takes for your site to load is essential to how high you will rank in a voice search result and even for general searches.
The average voice search result page loads completely within 4.6 seconds; this is 52% faster than average pages on the web. The average Time to First Byte (TTFB) for voice search result pages was 0.54 seconds, significantly faster than the 2.1 seconds of an average web page.
The fact remains that most internet users are impatient and want answers to what they are looking for as soon as possible. Imagine using voice search on your smart voice devices; you don’t want to wait and count seconds before getting an answer to your queries.
To increase your chances of ranking in voice searches, ensure your site loads faster than your competitors.
How to improve your page loading speed
- Compress all your images.
- Use responsive designs to load faster.
- Lessen HTTP requests.
- Cache your web pages.
- Reduce the number of plugins on a page.
- Reduce the number of redirects.
- Use a Content Delivery Network.
- Enable browser caching.
- Reduce ads on your page.
- Check your page’s loading speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
This Backlinko study discovered the average domain authority of voice search results to be 76.8%, which is a high authority, while the average page authority was 21.1%.
This might seem unfair to new websites putting out high-quality content, but Google wants to ensure the results they show for voice searches are from credible sources.
Remember, voice search results differ from traditional searches, where you get several posts you can select from, unlike voice searches, where the result is not an entire post but part of a post, especially with smart voice devices like Alexa or Google Home.
Google has to ensure these results conform with their E-E-A-T guideline, and what better way to do this than to select websites that have built their domain authority with years of experience?
So, it doesn’t matter if your page has many backlinks; if your domain authority is low, you may not rank for voice searches.
However, backlinks are an essential part of your SEO strategy. It is better to continuously work on link-building strategies because that is one of the fastest but most tedious ways to increase your domain authority.
- Improve your internal links.
- Get quality backlinks from authority websites.
- Create link-worthy content.
- Remove bad links from your website.
- Optimize your website for user experience.
- Increase your social signals.
- Optimize your images.
- Use high-quality original images that people can link to.
Improve site security.
Sites secured with HTTPS have been found to dominate voice search results. 70.4% of voice search result pages are HTTPS secured compared to the average percentage (50%) of pages on desktop searches.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and is used to give security on the internet. It helps to prevent data interceptions by eavesdroppers.
Search engines like Google are sensitive about the security of a site because they want to optimize user experience, including a user feeling safe when they provide personal, sensitive information over the internet.
To use HTTPS in your URL, you must get an SSL certificate and install it on your website. Your website host might provide an SSL certificate, or you might need to request it from a Certificate Authority and install it manually.
How to improve the security of your site
- Install an SSL certificate on your site.
- Keep your plugins up-to-date.
- Encrypt your login pages.
- Use a secured host.
- Use a secure password.
- You should back up your website’s data.
- Do a security audit on your site.
- Use an anti-malware system.
- Limit login attempts to your site.
- Install a web application firewall (WAF).
- Update site software regularly.
- Use two-factor authentication.
- Protect your site from spam.
Most voice search users use their mobile devices.
You need your websites optimized for mobile devices to rank for voice search results.
Not just for voice searches alone, but to rank on Google, you need your site to be as mobile-friendly as possible because this is one of Google’s primary ranking factors.
Modern SEO strategies focus more on the experience of users on your site, and since most searches are from mobile devices, it is most appropriate to optimize it for mobiles.
However, this doesn’t mean you should not optimize your website for other devices, including laptops, tablets, and desktops.
How to optimize your website for mobile devices
- Use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) markups.
- Use responsive website designs.
- Use schema markups for your pages.
- Optimize your images for mobile devices.
- Make your website easy to navigate.
- Avoid intrusive pop-ups.
- Limit ads.
- Increase page speed.
- Increase page responsiveness.
- Compress media on your web pages.
- Test your site’s mobile-friendliness.
- Condense your menu options.
- Make your content smartphone readable.
- Use simple site designs.
According to Baclinko, Schema might not make much of an impact when it comes to ranking for voice search based on its study that found that 36.4% of voice search results were from pages that used Schema, which is just slightly different from the average web page on the internet with 31.3%.
Structured data will not directly affect your rankings but will give you an edge over your competition. Google uses over 200 ranking factors to rank pages on search results.
There are some major ranking signals your page and site need to have, but minor signals like structured data will give you an added advantage over your competition, especially for voice search results.
Use Schema markup to show your page’s structure to search engines.
2.68% of voice search results came from FAQ pages. If you have an FAQ page in your post that is not structured correctly, you might miss out on a chance to rank for a voice search query.
When users search for information on the web, search assistants usually pull off a part of an entire web page as its answer.
For example, when you search for ‘who built the pyramids of Egypt,’ you will get a featured snippet that explains who built the largest and most famous pyramid.
This answer was pulled from a blog post about the Egyptian pyramids.
How do search engines know what to pull from your post?
This is what structured data, also known as Schema markup, does with your post.
Structured data is an HTML add-on that is not visible to your audience, but search engines can see it, and it helps them to organize your content into categories and provide context.
This helps search engines display your content intelligently when it is needed.
How to generate Schema markup for your posts
- Use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
- Select the type of data/listing that you want.
- Paste the post URL you want to markup.
- Select elements of the post you want to mark up.
- Click the HTML button to create the HTML code.
- Copy or download the HTML code to your CMS.
- Use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to test your markup.
According to Backlinko, here are the top 10 types of Schema found in voice search:
Google’s Progressive Web App (PWA).
What is a Progressive Web App?
A progressive web app is an application software that lets you build a website that can perform like an app.
You get all the functions of a website and an app in a single place!
Google’s PWA is said to help increase the chances of a page being cited by a voice assistant, although no studies support this claim.
However, Progressive Web Apps are valuable, and it is logical to assume that they might be able to rank for voice searches because it feels and looks like a native app without the hassle of downloading or installing.
PWAs help to index your website faster, provide a great user experience, and are even accessible offline.
With a PWA, you do not need to wait for a site to load; users can engage with your website as soon as they click. This is made possible by deferring the loading of some page resources; instead, it loads the most important page resource before others.
Undoubtedly, Google and most search engines prioritize pages that offer the best user experience, so it won’t be surprising if PWA is important for voice search ranking.
Progressive Web Apps best practices:
- Ensure the content of your PWA is crawlable.
- Avoid having fragmented URLs.
- Use canonical URLs.
- Clearly specify your canonical URLs.
- Use a responsive design to increase device compatibility.
- Place your CTA in a clear place.
- Keep website design simple.
- Ensure accessibility to Java and CSS files.
- Ensure you have good navigation.
A multilingual website is a site that gives out its content in other languages. An English site can have a French, Spanish, and Latin version.
So, when a user searches for something you offer in French, Google can rank the French version of your website as one of the search results.
What is the relevance to voice searches?
Google’s speech recognition supports 119 languages, including ancient languages like Georgian, Gujarati, Azerbaijani, Khmer, Sinhala, Swahili, Urdu, etc., because Google understands the importance of voice searches.
Even if users can type in English, they prefer to use their native languages in voice search queries. Their voice devices are also probably configured to their native languages.
If your website is in English, you need to optimize it for other languages and in the best quality it can offer. You do not want Alexa reading out Korean that doesn’t sound half as authentic as the native language.
It is best to employ the services of a native speaker to make the contents flow and be easily understandable to the native user if you want to create content for other versions of your website. It is better than using Google Translate or other language translating software.
Every native language has its puns, slang, and even casual variations. Simply translating the texts from your language to the target language will make it sound like AI-generated content.
Multilingual SEO best practices
- Use different URLs for each language version of your site.
- Use language-specific URLs.
- Use hreflang annotations for your content.
- Create content in native style.
- Include a detailed sitemap.
- Add hyperlinks to other versions of your site.
- Avoid automatic redirections.
- Do not use code-level language information.
- Avoid side-by-side translations.
- Do keyword research for each language.
- Use robots.txt to prevent search engines from crawling automatically translated pages.
Chapter 4: Voice Search Optimization FAQ
What is voice search?
Voice search is the process of using voice commands to look for information on the internet or navigate apps.
How does voice search work?
Voice search uses automatic speech recognition technology that can filter sounds, convert words into texts, process the search intent, and deliver results verbally from the internet.
What percentage is voice search?
27% of online users use voice search on their mobile devices, while 40% of US internet users use voice search.
How does voice search affect SEO?
Voice search has affected SEO by reducing organic click-through rates, changing how websites are ranked, changing users’ interaction with search engines, and the choice of keywords for search queries.
What is voice search optimization?
Voice search optimization is optimizing your website and content to rank high for voice search queries on search engines and voice search devices.
Benefits of voice search optimization.
The benefits of voice search optimization include the following:
- High rank for voice searches
- More visibility for your local business
- High rank for traditional search
- Content sustainability
- Increased competitive value in your niche
- Improved user experience on your site
How to optimize a website for voice search?
To optimize your content for voice search, you should:
- Target conversational keywords
- Include a FAQ Page for your contents
- Use structured data for your posts
- Optimize your content for featured snippets
- Write at an 8th-grade-reading level
- Be more conversational than professional
- Write longer, quality content
- Incorporate local SEO
- Optimize your website for mobile-friendliness
- Increase your site speed
- Increase your domain authority
- Improve your site security
- Use multilingual SEO strategies.
- How do you find voice search keywords?
How to get your business listed for voice search.
To get your business listed for voice search results, you should optimize your site for local searches, including having an updated GMB profile, listing in local directories, and writing locally relevant content.
What are the ranking factors for voice search?
These are the major ranking factors for voice search:
- Fast page speed
- Secured websites
- Authoritative domains
- Shareable contents
- Low-grade reading level
- Long-form, quality content
- High rank on normal search
- Appearing on a featured snippet
- FAQ pages/sections
- Short, straightforward answers.
Difference between voice search and text search.
The main difference between voice search and text search is that one uses voice commands while the other uses typed words. Other differences include long, conversational keywords and specific queries.
Voice search optimization is no longer an option if your goal is to take your website or your client’s website to the next level. Voice search isn’t just the future anymore; it’s the present. It’s already widely used, and this percentage will keep rising because humans tend toward more convenient things.
The question is, can you use voice search to your advantage?
Voice search optimization is as easy as three steps:
- Know what your audience is searching
- Know how they are searching
- Know what they want to see
The worst industry mistake you can make is to ignore or dismiss a rising trend. The repercussion is that you get left behind. When others are already masters, you are stuck being a student.
Which voice search optimization strategies will you start with?