No one knows exactly how the future will turn out, but we can try and make our own predictions, even though we will most likely forget them over time. In this ever-evolving world, there isn’t a shortage of ambitious and rather contradictory forecasts—especially when it comes to voice technology.
What we do know for sure is that voice search is growing at an incredibly rapid pace. Thanks to massive investments in voice technology, these queries are almost as reliable as keyboard searches. As a matter of fact, word error rates of voice searches were over 20% in 2014. Today, they are down to 8%. Since it’s fast, convenient, and efficient, more and more people are taking advantage of it.
Now that typed-out search terms are gradually losing their popularity, marketers ought to start tailoring their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies for conversational search queries. Here, we will teach you how to optimize your product page for voice search.
Voice Search vs. Text Search: What’s the Difference?
Voice search-activated devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo let people surf the web using their voice. Instead of entering a query into a search box, all you have to do is direct a question at a smart device.
Speech recognition enables these devices to comprehend the queries. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies power these devices, giving them the ability to search the web and find the answers to your questions.
Smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo read out the answers they find online, while mobile phones with voice search capabilities will open a web page with the information you need. Aside from this, there are four fundamental factors that differentiate voice queries from text searches:
Text searches are typically brief and straight to the point. As long as you include the phrases or keywords that you want to look up, you will end up with the answers you need. Voice searches, on the other hand, tend to be a bit longer. In fact, they are usually 76.1% longer. So, what does this mean for our SEO strategy?
If voice search is the future of web search, you will have to start targeting longer keywords. Shorter keyword phrases like “London airfare” should be changed to more voice-friendly queries such as “cost of airfare to London.”
Instead of using short queries like “best budget smartphones in 2019,” people who perform voice searches usually phrase their queries as a question. For a voice search, they will probably say, “Alexa, what are the best budget smartphones in 2019?”
Knowing all that, you should start considering conversational queries when you’re optimizing your online platform for search engines.
Once you optimize your product page for longer search queries, you can reach specific segments of your target market. Conversational queries convey much stronger intent compared to voice searches. That means their queries will tell you where they are in the sales funnel. These voice searches will lead you to audiences who are still researching your products and ones who are interested in purchasing your products.
Voice queries performed on mobile devices are three times more likely to have local intent than text searches. People use voice to research store locations and business hours. Aside from location-specific information, consumers do voice searches to look up deals, sales, upcoming events, and so on.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, optimizing for voice searches should improve your visibility. It makes it even easier for customers to find your store.
Voice Search Optimization: 6 Steps You Need to Take
Each year, more and more businesses learn to embrace voice search technology. Adopting such an online strategy early on lets you make the most out of your search marketing. Businesses of all sizes will benefit greatly from this in the long run.
Here’s what you need to do:
First, you have to look for the appropriate keywords. As mentioned, voice queries tend to be longer than text searches mainly because they are phrased differently. Users who perform voice searches use complete sentences. Often, these are phrased as questions.
The right keywords make it easier for search engines to find your content. By using the right keywords, you can improve your page’s visibility on the search engine results page. And your prospects will have no trouble finding you.
There are a bunch of tools that can help you with this task. An example would be Answer the Public. It is a goldmine for smart marketers. When you enter the root keyword, the platform will provide you with a list of frequently asked questions related to that query. Through the platform, you can also learn about the audience’s motivations for using specific search queries.
A simpler way to perform a keyword search for long queries would be to use Google. Type a question that’s relevant to your product or brand, and hit enter. Shortly after, Google will give you a list of questions that are related to your query in the People Also Ask box.
Tailor your content to address the needs of customers at every stage of the sales funnel. For instance, you can create frequently asked questions (FAQs) and integrate them into the most important pages of the website, including your product pages. This way, you can engage with prospects at various points of the buyer’s journey.
Start by identifying the various stages of the customer journey. You can then organize questions for each category. Let’s say you have a sustainable clothing line. For the awareness stage, come up with questions like, “What is the best sustainable fashion store in London [or wherever you’re from]?”
Anyone who needs customer support might want to ask, “Should I put my [brand] shirt in the dryer?”
In a text search, your website can still attract relevant traffic even if it doesn’t rank number one on the SERP. When you conduct a voice search using a smart speaker, a virtual assistant will respond to your question using content from the best-optimized result. That means you have to go the extra mile to make it easy for search engines to crawl your content. You can do this by submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console.
Another way to optimize your website is to leverage a structured data markup. This tells Google what your content is all about. It won’t directly affect your rank. However, it will give your page more visibility in voice search results by showing Google bots how relevant your content is to certain queries.
Google bots can easily find websites that include specific information, including:
Search engines can see your page structure and hierarchy better if you include H2 and H3 headings. Even if your product page doesn’t land in the top five, it has a better chance of getting featured on Google. In turn, it should rank well for voice search queries.
Use the keywords you found early on to create H2 and H3 headings for your product pages. Again, these headings improve your website’s visibility in voice search.
When you’re structuring your content, you can leverage tools like Serpstat Text Analytics. This shows you what the competition is doing. You can mimic their strategies or learn from them. Either way, it will help your page perform better.
As of now, search engine algorithms have a mobile-first approach. We don’t know when they will start prioritizing voice technology. But until that time comes, you have to ensure that your platform is mobile-friendly.
Remember that most voice searches are conducted from a mobile device. If you want to reach those audiences, you also need to embrace a mobile-first approach.
There are tons of ways you can optimize for mobile gadgets, including enhancing your website’s speed, using structured data, and adding location-based queries.
Aside from embracing new strategies, you should monitor developments in voice search technology closely. And you ought to be ready to make the necessary changes to accommodate such developments in the near future.
Today, the tech giants dabbling in voice search include Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft. Pay attention to what they are doing in this area.
You can start by monitoring Search Console, which might soon see voice query data. Google’s update will give you actionable insights into the ways in which users are engaging with your brand using voice search. You can monitor developments and adopt the technology when it’s ready to boost your online efforts.
We have no way of knowing how the future will turn out and if conversational searches will dominate all search queries.
At this point, it’s quite clear that voice commands are increasingly reshaping search marketing. The steps we’ve outlined can boost your online efforts, and by incorporating such strategies, you can drive new voice traffic and improve sales.
So, are you ready to optimize your site for voice search?