As we’ve talked about in our pieces examining new trends and the future of SEO, voice search is expected to become an important new channel this year. It’s getting harder to find people without a voice assistant (VA), and more buyers are becoming comfortable using Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and the other VAs to conduct internet searches and even buy products.
But how do you make sure your website is ready for voice content? How do you get a SEO boost from creating great voice search data? We suggest these simple and effective tips.
Dive Into the User Intent Trend
User intent refers to creating content that meets users where they are – basically, trying to answer their specific needs first, and worrying about Google bots second. Google has been working hard to focus its algorithms on user intent so that websites provide better experiences for visitors.
There are few downsides to optimizing your website for user intent: It’s a really good idea today, and next year it will be even more important. However, it’s also an excellent practice for optimizing content for voice search. Voice searches tend to be highly focused on user intent, because VA algorithms are specifically designed to answer questions and give info as accurately as possible. Your website should “help” the VA as much as possible by following suit.
Provide Lots of Clear Information About Your Company
Voice searches love to see things clearly laid out in clear text. Sometimes they are good at finding and reading tags or other metadata, but it’s usually best to have the facts out in your content. That includes important local SEO that should already be on your website, like your full business name, you address, and your email. You should also clearly state what your company does, the area it serves, the markets it specializes in, and so on. Put it all into the text. Even if you think everyone knows it, the VAs don’t know it, so you have to tell them.
Make Use of Schema
Schema is an old way to craft SEO for your website. Basically, it adds tags to your content that are specific made for bots, giving the bots valuable data in a very fast way so that those bots have a better idea what the content is, and how it should be used. You can read more about it here. If you don’t already use schema, it’s a handy way (in addition to laying it out in the text) to help VAs understand your content.
Focus More on Answering Specific Questions
Most voice searches are questions, of course. “Who sells this?” “What company is closest?” “What is the price for this?” You know the drill. Focus more of your content on answering these questions and using the same phrasing that common questions would. Your FAQ section is a great place to do this, so use this opportunity to update it.
Make Your Keywords a Little Longer
Interestingly, voice searches tend to be longer than text searches (maybe because they are easier to say than type?). So, don’t be afraid to make your keyword phrases a little more accurate. Instead of saying “best lumber,” think about saying, “best lumber in Chelsea” or adding other qualifiers. Link this step with answering specific questions to make things easier!
Secure Your Website
Increasingly, VAs are looking for high quality websites free of bugs and filled with high-quality information. One of the easiest ways to do this for your site is to make sure you have SSL and HTTPS certification. Plus, Google is already starting to punish websites that don’t take these security steps, so it’s a win-win.
Aim for Thought Leadership
Likewise, you can help convince VAs that your website is great by excelling in thought leadership. Get published, make sure your brand shows up in important industry conversations, and work on high-quality long-form content or research that you can spread around to show your company has expertise. Bots are good at recognizing when a source has a lot of authority behind it, and they will give precedence to those sources.