Or that, according to Google, 20% of all mobile searches are also voice searches!?
Good for you!
But what does that slew of data suggest to you?
I bet it’s something like this “hey, voice search is picking up steam fast. I’d better ride the trend right away or risk falling behind, perhaps permanently”.
Fear not- THIS GUIDE to the rescue! 🙂
I bet that got your attention? 🙂
I’m kidding you as I want you to relax and smile.
But this guide is no joke, and here you’ll learn how to make your site voice search-friendly.
In other words – you will learn how to optimize for voice search.
I know you’re burning with excitement and expectation so,
This post may contain affiliate links; for more information visit my disclosure page.
We know voice search is growing quickly – but why exactly??
Because of 3 reasons:
First, it’s faster. People speak faster than they type. Bing’s study showed that people could say 120 words per minute but write only 40.
So it’s a massive advantage for VS, and you also need to remember:
the faster you type (say) something to Google or Bing – the quicker you get the info you need.
Second: As you’re probably aware, mobile search is taking over, with desktop search falling behind fast.
Well, voice search is perfect for mobile because of a combination of a need for speed and smaller screens unsuitable for longer browsing sessions.
I tell you now, my eyesight is not perfect and I avoid reading on mobile whenever possible. My head hurts when I do.
Thirdly – it’s simply more convenient. It is a pain to type “what is the best brand of Ethiopian coffee” but it’s easy to say it, and the result comes through instantaneously.
Side note: Tastes are subjective, but if you ask me what the best Ethiopian coffee is, I’d say Limu blows all others out of the water. Feel free to disagree…
How to optimize your site for voice search (5 ways, 4 tactics, and a whole lotta more) – prepare to be dazzled
Before we get into the weeds of voice optimization, you need to know something crucial about voice search SEO.
Voice (SEO) is different than normal SEO.
How so? And why?
Well, if you’ve voice searched before or watched someone do it, you’ve probably noticed that the queries are much, much longer.
Whereas, in a normal search, you can type “the best coffee Ethiopia,” and Google, thanks to Hummingbird and RankBrain, interprets it as you asking the question “what is the best Ethiopian coffee” and delivers relevant results.
With voice search, your speech would be less mechanical and robotic and much more natural sounding. So you can actually say:
“Hey Google, what is the best coffee to drink in Ethiopia“?
And you’d get a tailored response in return.
Bottom line: voice search queries resemble everyday talk, and they are not as SEO orientated as we’ve been taught Google wants to see from our pages. People search differently when they’re talking as opposed to typing.
And this has huge implications for how you optimize your content…
#1- Embrace Long Tail Keywords
Ahrefs’s study recently discovered that a whopping 94.5% of all keywords are long and very long tails.
So it’s obvious that you need to focus on those, especially since head terms like “coffee” or “SEO” require an authority behemoth (hint: Wikipedia) to rank for them.
Also, as mentioned, voice search queries are conversational and longer, which automatically makes them long tail.
How to find long-tail keywords?
#2- Write keyword-rich subheadings
Heading tags are very important for on-page SEO.
They send relevance signals to Google about the topic of your page, and they can even boost your rankings a bit if you embed keywords into them.
How do heading tags influence voice search SEO?
They help you format content in a way that’s easy for Google to understand (Google is just a machine… still).
Content that’s formatted well and easier to parse has a much higher chance of being chosen as a voice answer than some bland wall of text.
Plus, heading tags improve the UX of your page. Lots of headings split your page into small chunks and make it more readable.
#3- Embed long-tail keywords verbatim within your content
Yes. I know it’s very tedious work, but I’m asking you to consciously choose the long tails you’re after and then make an effort to include them verbatim in your content piece.
This is very important because when Google scans your page to show to voice searchers, those long tails will be triggers that tell Google your page has the answer. So they pull your page instead of someone else’s.
I admit it’s a drag getting into the weeds of on-page SEO so much – paying attention to every word and every keyword.
But on the other hand, most bloggers will never go so deep, and it’s an easy way for you to gain some competitive advantage.
Also, with further adoption of voice search, your results will be long-term.
#4- Write long-form content
This is standard advice that I bet brings you to tears when you read it, yet again.
It goes something like this:
Write long-form content because Google likes pages that are really thorough and useful. They’re better for SEO and UX.
You can have a page of 50 words only, but if it serves the intent behind the query – it’s a good page to have.
So content length is not a ranking factor for Google.
The same goes for voice search. Just because your article boasts more words doesn’t mean Google will prefer it over another…
With that said, having more words on the page means you have more keywords and long tails Google can grab on.
Think of it as fishing sticks and baits.
The more keywords you throw in the water – the higher the chances of catching something.
One study showed that question keywords have exploded since voice search started to rise. It’s obvious why – you ask Google a question, and they respond.
How to use this for SEO?
You need to create mini page-focused FAQs.
Meaning, on every page that is important on your website, have a dedicated Q&A section. This is perfect for voice search SEO because it’s giving Google exactly what they want and need – quick answers.
Note– to show you a live example of what I mean; I created an FAQ section for this page. Click here to go there now.
How to find the best questions to answer?
I will give you two ways. I advise you to combine them for maximum efficiency.
a) Use Answer the Public
To find the questions people ask, go to Answer the Public and type in your keyword.
Afterward, click on data and extract all questions that make sense for your piece of content.
b) Use KWFinder
This tool, besides finding long-tail keywords, is also superb at mining questions folks ask every day. I’m not sure how they do it, but I think they scrape Quora, Reddit, Forums, Google, Bing…
No matter, what’s important is that you can get dozens of question-based keywords you can answer in your FAQ.
Just type in your head keyword and let the tool do the work. Then extract suitable questions.
Pro tip– Backlinko’s study showed that Google prefers short and concise answers to the questions. And the sweet spot of a word count is only 29 words.
So try your best to tell it all in 30 words or less.
And that’s it for voice search optimization. I guess it’s time to conclude the article…
There are some bonus tips to mention.
Yes, you’re right! What was I thinking? Probably about Ethiopian Limu coffee- the BEST:)
4 bonus tips for quick wins in Voice search SEO
#1- Have a Secure site
The same study from Brian Dean showed that HTTP’s sites are much more likely to be pulled as featured results.
In fact, 70.4% of all Google Home results are secured with HTTPS.
No one knows for sure if HTTPS is a factor for voice search, but it makes sense to secure your site anyway.
Web users are becoming increasingly savvy. They won’t stay on an insecure site, especially since Google Chrome started labeling HTTP sites as insecure.
- Suggested resource: https://letsworkonline.net/do-you-need-an-ssl-certificate-for-your-site
#2- Have a fast site
SiteSpeed is important on desktop, crucial on mobile, and a must for voice search. The average site load time for Google Home results is 4.6 s which is faster than 52% of other sites.
- Suggested resource: https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/speed-up-your-website/
#3- Boost site authority- Backlinks remain as strong as ever as a ranking factor
Brian’s study also showed that Google prefers powerful domains to pull results from.
They hypothesize that it’s because Google Home can give only one result, so they have to make sure it’s a legitimate and helpful resource. And they use domain strength because high authority means the site is already proven in regular SERPs.
How to boost authority?
First of all – You can boost your site’s authority by getting more links, obviously.
But I want to reveal to you a hidden step almost all sites miss. Something that you can do quickly and that will help you rank higher, faster, and with the least amount of links possible.
What is it?
It’s optimizing site architecture.
Site architecture sounds fancy but is nothing more than directing link equity flow throughout the site and ensuring every drop of link justice is pushed to your pages and posts, helping them rank higher organically.
Site architecture is a vast topic that I can’t even begin to cover here, but here’s an awesome resource by Cyrus Shepard.
#4- Increase your post’s readability
Make sure your content is extremely readable and written at the level of a ninth-grader or lower.
Why? Because Google needs to read your answer, remember. And it’s a machine and has difficulty with convoluted, serpentine, long-winded answers and complicated words to boot.
Also, Brian’s study showed that the average Google voice search result is written at 9th-grade reading level.
How to check your page’s reading level?
It’s easy, go to the Hemingway online tool and paste your text. Here’s the score for this article:
Voice Search Mini-FAQ
Note– Notice how I try to be concise as possible in my answers. That is content creation up to voice search’s lofty standards for brevity.
WordPress has plugins for everything, including those that help you make beautiful FAQs that can be embedded within your page.
You don’t need them.
For voice search benefits, even a makeshift FAQ does the job, and I want to show you how you can quickly whip out one.
No need to learn to use yet another plugin.
- What’s voice search?
Voice search is speech recognition technology that allows the user to search by voice instead of typing.
- How will voice search change SEO?
Voice Search will change SEO by forcing marketers to weigh their words carefully and give concise answers to the questions.
This is all I can say at the moment, as no one knows for sure the impact VS will have.
- Where is my Google voice search?
Open up your favorite browser and then Google homepage. At the end of the box where you type, you will see a tiny microphone. Click on it and start asking questions.
You can start by asking, “Hey Google, where is my Google Voice Search”?
Maybe this article pops up:)
Note: The first time you use voice search, Google will ask you to use your microphone. Just say “Yes.”
- What is voice search SEO?
Voice search SEO is a branch of SEO that focuses on optimizing sites to appear when folks search by voice.
- Where is voice search on android?
On an Android phone, Chrome is already installed. So enter it and click on the small microphone in the search bar.
- Who uses voice search?
More and more people use voice search. In the USA, 55% of teenagers and 45% of adults use it daily.
Comscore predicts that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be done by voice.
- How will voice search affect SEO?
Marketers will have to adapt and improve their strategies. SEO won’t change that much, because at its core, it stays the same. Making a site search-friendly so it gets displayed in the SERPs more often.
Conclusion – Do you now know how to optimize for voice search?
Voice search is on the rise.
And two roads lie before you; one is the road of denial and conformity. The other is the exciting path of change, accepting the inevitable and thriving despite it.
In other words:
Adapt and thrive… or wither and die.
It’s harsh to put it like that, but it rhymes, and more importantly – it’s true.
Have something to say, something to ask?
Shoot it below,