How to Optimize for Voice Search: 7 SEO Strategies for voice search

How to Optimize for Voice Search: 7 SEO Strategies for voice search

Your ultimate guide on voice search and SEO

“Hey, Siri, What is voice search optimisation and how can I use it to drive traffic and increase revenue?” If you’ve mastered text-based search engine optimisation and you’re interested in driving even more traffic to your site through voice searches, keep reading. The team at RevGlue is doing a deep dive into voice search engine optimisation. We’ll talk about who’s using it and the when’s and why’s that will help you develop your content strategy based on user intent. Then, we’ll talk about seven key strategies you need to implement today if you want to rank on voice-enabled searches. Voice searches are on the rise, are you ready to compete for the top spots? Siri, Google, and Alexa are great, but if you’re looking for in-depth answers to your top questions about how to optimize for voice searches, RevGlue has all the answers you need to succeed.

What is voice search optimisation?

Before diving into the how-to’s of voice search optimization, let’s first define voice search. Voice search is a voice command on any internet-enabled device that allows a user to search the internet by utilising a virtual assistant rather than typing. If you’ve ever called out “Hey, Siri,” “OK, Google,” or “Alexa,” you’ve used voice search. The responses generated by your virtual assistant are curated in a similar way to text-based search engine optimisation, returning the articles and answers most relevant to your question.

This process of providing curated, just-for-you answers was made possible by Google’s 2013 Hummingbird update. Before Hummingbird, Google’s results were solely based on the input query. Today, Google conducts a semantic search, that is, a search with meaning. The update allowed Google to use context and intent to deliver relevant, local answers tailored specifically to the individual user. This update paved the way for voice search to become the method used by 51% of shoppers to conduct product research on their shopping journey. Voice search optimisation is the process used to ensure that your article ranks above all others when users conduct a voice search.

If you’re in the business of creating content designed to drive traffic and make money, you’re probably wondering how you can harness the power of voice search to reach a new user base. We’re delving into the user behaviours, best practices, and research methods that will help you rank number one on voice search rankings, increasing website traffic and income generated. This guide gives you actionable strategies on how to implement voice search in website.

Who uses voice search, why, and when?

An estimated 122.7 million Americans are on track to use virtual assistants in 2021. That’s nearly 40% of the population, searching by voice. In order to understand how to maximise your potential on voice search, we need to understand who’s searching, why, and when they’re using this feature.

Who uses voice search?

A 2018 study by Social Media Today revealed that men are more likely than women to use voice search technology. The breakdown by gender and device shows male vs. female split: 66% vs. 55% (smartphone), 53% vs. 30% (desktop/laptop), 49% vs. 31% (tablet), and 46% vs. 26% (smart speaker). Age plays a big role in the use of voice search technology. In 2018, 35.8% of Millennials, 16.7% of GenXers, and 9.9% of Baby Boomers used voice search. Don’t count the Baby Boomers out, though. A poll revealed that 33% of consumers 55+ would consider using voice searches to look for information on a local business. Demographic information is helpful when predicting which content is most likely to benefit from voice search optimisation.

Why is voice search used?

The possibilities of searching through voice are endless, but we’ve noticed some trends that will be helpful when you’re optimising your web content. BrightLocal reports that while 58% of consumers used voice search to find information on a local business in the last 12 months, 82% of those polled said they’d consider using voice search to find information on local businesses in the future.

When asked why they use voice search, users report that it’s easier and faster than searching on a website or app or they use it when they’re unable to interact with their device because they’re driving or cooking. Voice searches are a convenient way to multitask, increasing productivity in a fast-moving world.

When is voice search used?

Higher Visibility conducted a survey in 2018 to find out when people were most likely to use the voice search feature on their internet-enabled device. They found that 35% of users employ voice search while driving and 21% use it while doing another activity, like exercising, cooking, or even using the bathroom! At times when it’s unsafe or unsanitary to touch a phone, voice searches keep users connected at all times.

How to optimize your website for voice search

Now that we’ve covered who uses voice search, when they use it, and why, we’ll talk about seven ways that you can optimise your content for voice searches.

Create content using conversational, long-tail keywords

If you’ve gotten used to incorporating unnatural, robotic-sounding keywords in order to rank on Google, you’re going to love optimising for voice search. Virtual assistants rely on Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyse your speech patterns and tailor its response for maximum relevance over time. Since voice searches can be over 10 words, users often utilise natural language instead of the stilted queries we’ve come to use when searching on a computer. For example, if your previous keyword is “voice search strategy SEO,” a voice search keyword may be “how do I optimise my site for voice search?”

We use short phrases when we type to save physical effort, but we think of our queries to virtual assistants as a conversation-- leading to natural, long-tail keywords and key phrases in question form. A study by BrightLocal revealed that “how,” “what,” and “best” are the top three keywords when it comes to voice searches. If that statistic doesn’t surprise you, this one might: almost 20% of voice searches are triggered by just 25 words! Add the 25 trigger keywords BrightLocal recommends (in the right order) into your articles and watch the page views roll in!

How can you use conversational, long-tail keywords to get found on voice search?

Adding FAQs and creating headings in question form can boost your ability to get found by voice search. Remember that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting smarter and more human-like every day. Write for the humans who are conducting the search and trust that the virtual assistants will share your well-written content when it’s relevant.

The best methods for conducting voice keyword research

When you want to get found online, keyword research is key. If you’ve been working on your SEO, you’re likely familiar with tools like KeySearch, Moz Keyword Explorer, Google AdWords, and SEMrush. While those tried-and-true methods have likely helped you climb the ranks of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), will these methods help you with voice keyword research? The short answer: it’s a great place to start!

What can you do right now to increase your impact with voice keyword research?

We recommend exporting your current search queries from Google Ads or Google Analytics and checking whether you’re currently receiving traffic from virtual assistants. Look for queries that begin “Hey, Alexa,” “OK, Google,” or “Hey, Siri.” Don’t see any of those? No problem! That’s what we’re here to change. Optimise your current keywords by adding question modifiers like “who,” “what,” “where” and ensuring that your website contains casual vernacular.

Understand user intent with voice search

Now that we’ve talked about the way to incorporate keywords phrased as questions in your articles to drive traffic, let’s talk about understanding user intent by analysing the keywords users employ to find you. Are users finding you with questions beginning in “how” and “what?” That user is in the research phase of the shopping process. Are users finding you with questions that start with “where?” That user is in purchase mode; they are ready to buy. Is your site optimised to take them through the purchase process?

How can I drive sales depending on user intent?

If your users are finding you during their research, you need to be sure your content is thorough and memorable. Get your sales funnel set up and capture email addresses so you can stay on their radar when they move from the research phase to purchasing intent. If users are finding you during the purchase phase, make sure your site is ready to sell! Check broken links regularly and update your articles when new products are released to increase conversions.  

Near me: voice search’s magic words

It should come as no surprise that most voice searches are local, since many searches are conducted while users are on the move. In fact, an overwhelming majority of users (88%) of voice searches are “near me” searches. Google reported that “‘near me’ mobile searches that contain a variant of ‘can I buy’ or ‘to buy’ have grown over 500% over the last two years.” If you’re a local business, it is incredibly important to optimise your website to show up in near me searches. “Near me” searches are on the rise. Are you capitalising on this trend?

What can I do right now to benefit from “near me” searches?
Users are searching for local businesses with a buying intent. Optimise your site for “near me” searches by keeping your address, opening hours, and services up-to-date. Missing key information means you are missing out on sales.  

Featured snippets: the voice search holy grail

The coveted snippet, also known as position 0, is the holy grail of voice and browser-based searches. To earn a snippet means that Google has deemed your content relevant, mobile-friendly, and informative. Competition for featured snippets is fierce, but the results are worth the work. Posts in Position 0 achieve 8% of all clicks for a query on Google.

How can I get a featured snippet for voice searches?

In order to achieve a featured snippet for voice, you’ll employ many of the same tactics used to capture a featured snippet on a browser. First, create an FAQ section on your post with relevant questions. Remember, voice searches are usually question-based, so this will help with snippets and searches. Make each question a heading on your page. Answer your question concisely-- the average snippet is 29 words long, so keep it short and informative. Once you’ve answered your FAQs, keep the rest of the content on-topic and include your keywords!
Page speed matters

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Page speed is important when attracting website visitors and keeping them there. It’s even more important when you’re attracting voice searchers. A study of 10,000 Google Home search results shows that the average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds-- that’s 52% faster than the average page. If your site speed is slow, your content may not show up in a virtual assistant’s recommendations-- even if your article is the best answer to a user’s question. Regularly analyse and make changes to optimise your page speed and increase your rankings.

How can I make sure my site speed doesn’t negatively impact voice searches?

Check your website’s page speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool is essential for determining your site’s speed and offering practical advice on how to decrease the load time.

Don’t give up on traditional SEO

In an effort to optimise for voice search, don’t neglect traditional SEO. When comparing voice and browser searches, 75% of the voice search results rank in the top three positions on Google. Continue to optimise every post for traditional and voice keywords to compete on both fronts. Creating the most in-depth and relevant content on any given topic ensures you’ll top the rankings, no matter where the user is searching. 

What can I do to increase my SEO?

The RevGlue website is full of tips for optimising your SEO. Not sure where to start? Check out our top 20 SEO tools for affiliates and SEO for affiliate marketers.   

Voice searches are here to stay, and data suggests they’ll only increase over time. Use the seven strategies we talked about today to drive traffic and increase income through voice SEO.

Bookmark this page and use this checklist as a reminder of the 7 steps for voice search optimisation when you go back to update existing posts and write new ones:

1.  Incorporate conversational keywords using question-based phrases
2.  Conduct voice-enabled keyword research
3.  Analyse user intent
4.  Use “near me” vocabulary and keep your location and hours up to date
5.  Include a Q&A section with concise and relevant answers for featured snippets
6.  Check your site speed and make updates as necessary
7.  Focus on traditional SEO

RevGlue is committed to helping bloggers, website owners, and mobile app owners monetise their start-ups. Once you’ve mastered voice search engine optimisation, check out our blog for more tips and tricks to grow your audience and your income.


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