5 Keys to SEO in the Voice Search Age
Imagine for a moment that you’re running with a pack of hyenas behind you. As you’re running, you see the road changes ahead. You could stay on the same road you’re on or you could take a shortcut so you get farther ahead of the pack. Obviously, you’ll choose the shortcut...
Now, let’s switch the focus. Imagine running your business and the hyenas are your competitors. They are coming up behind you quickly. You can continue the same digital marketing path you’ve been taking, or you can switch paths to put your business way ahead of them.
Which do you choose?
If you’re like most, you’ll switch paths, which in SEO means optimizing for voice search.
Voice search is increasing in use, and many digital marketers are adjusting their content creation to fall in line with this new way to search online. Understanding how to do this will help you stay ahead of the hyenas that will soon start to scramble to reclaim lost business due to voice search.
The following tips will help get you started.
#1: Conversational Keyword Phrases
It’s normal for people to type in a different way than they speak. Usually, people will type less than they will say out loud. For instance, people may say, “What are some Italian restaurants near me?” but they may only type “Italian restaurants near me”.
As you can see the voice search includes "what are" and other example searches might include phrases like "how to" or "who is" or "where are." Start by brainstorming the most common questions your prospective customers will be searching for and create content that answers those questions.
#2: Use Structured Data
Structured data like Schema.org was designed to spoon feed search engines like Google important information about your business. For example, there is Schema code that can tell Google your business name, address, phone number, products, prices, testimonials, recipes and much more. Google then uses this information to create rich search results (ex. search "how to bake apple pie" and you'll see Directions at the top of Google's first page, plus additional links to other recipes that include star ratings and even the time it will take to bake the pie. This information is collected using Structured data on websites)
Structured data is also used to deliver information to voice searchers. When you ask Alexa "how to bake an apple pie" then Alexa will likely read the directions that you saw at the top of Google's search results. That means if you want to rank high in voice search, then you must use Structured Data on your website.
#3: Capitalize on Local Search
There’s no better time than now to claim your Google My Business listing and optimize it.
Be sure you have all of these components in your listing:
- Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) exactly the same as it's listed on your website
- Select all the relevant Categories
- Fill out your Business Description
- Add Photos
- List your Services
- List your Business Days and Hours
Be sure that all of the information is consistent across your listing, website, and any other online directories. Google cross references your information to ensure your business information is correct and deserves to be listed in the voice search results.
#4: Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
Many voice searches are performed on mobile devices.
And with Google's new Mobile-First Index, your website doesn't have a shot at ranking high for voice search if it's not mobile-friendly. It's as simple as that.
#5: Use Blogs to Answer Questions
Blogs are perfect for targeting those long keyword phrases that usually come through voice search. For example, “What is the best dog food for my pitbull?” could be a great blog post topic for a business that sells different types of dog foods. What a great time to get your business in front of a prospective customer!
Remember, add Structured Data to the blog post to increase the chances the search engine will grab information from your article to answer the prospective customer's question.
Putting It All Together
Staying ahead of the hyenas, I mean competitors, isn’t as hard as it may seem. Start by researching to find what your prospective customers are voice searching for, and then create content on your website that answers those questions. Next, add Structured Data to make it easier for search engines to find your information and serve it to voice searchers. If your business serves local customers, then claim and optimize your Google My Business listing. Lastly, make sure your website is mobile-friendly or else you won't have a shot when people use voice search on their mobile devices.
Want more tips on improving your SEO? Grab a copy of our Ultimate SEO Checklist.
Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.