What is a Voice Search? Voice search is when a person uses their voice via a mobile phone or a home assistant to seek information on a search engine or digital assistant. It basically works on the principle of speech recognition to understand the question or query without using any text. A voice search on a mobile phone leads the user to a web page. On the other hand if the voice search is made on a home smart speaker or digital assistant, this speaker usually says out loud the information that best answers the query. Having said that, now with your SEO content writing skills, are you providing website and blog content optimized for voice searches?
As per estimates, by 2020 about 50% of all searches on the Internet will be voice-enabled searches. Thereby, to be a successful SEO content writer, you must make changes in the core description of every web page, in order for it to be both voice search and text search compatible. If users are going to search for a product or service using voice search, the website will need to be optimized appropriately.
Currently, digital assistants developed by the likes of Google(Google Home), Amazon(Amazon Echo) and Apple(Siri) have initiated voice searches mainly for:
- Dialing a person
- Asking for directions
- Checking on the time
- A quick weather forecast
- Playing music or a song
- News updates
- Finding a recipe
- Hearing a podcast
- How-to guides
- Switching on/off electrical appliances
How to optimize your content for a voice search:
1. Summarize your website page:
As a content writer, briefly explain what the website page is about. Assess the website content to make sure that it’s paragraph is a direct answer to the question posed by the voice assistant. While some voice assistants try to directly match a question, others may draw a close reference.
2. Have a different approach to researching keywords:
To improve Google ranking, keywords formed an essential part of the website content. Because upon typing these keywords, it helped the search engines to find the website. This could be a single word or random words put together without any sequence. However, in voice search, it is not a single keyword but it is mostly long-tail keywords in the form of questions asked to the smart device. It’s more like a short conversation taking place between a user and a smart device.
3. Initiate what kind of questions would a person ask to reach your product or service:
Research and optimize the keywords that are already bringing your target audience to your website. Then ask if the keywords and search terms remain the same or will they differ if a person had to ask verbally for your product or service. For example keywords in a text search, “best cheesecake Mumbai” will become “Where can I get the best cheesecake in Mumbai?” in the voice text. So there is a difference in the way the user will seek your product/service.
4. Write simple and easy to understand content:
It remains important to write simple and easy to understand content which is precise and directs the search for more information on the page of your website. The string of keywords used in your website must be easy to locate and understand by Google and other search engines. So design your website page to help a voice search user to find that exact information quick and easy.
5. Check how your content, sounds when reading aloud:
In other words, make sure that your content when said aloud is equally easy to understand as its readability. For voice search, check how your content sounds like a voice clip if read aloud. Communicating content through written words and communicating content through dialogue to reach the target audience, both need to be addressed differently.
6. Keep answers to questions direct and short:
In a voice search, the answer to the query which would lead to your website needs to be crisp and to the point without over optimizing the content for Voice Search. It is imperative to ensure that the answers that lead to the website are direct but on the other hand, do not crowd the website with only short answers. The website should have a good mix of voice-optimized content along with sufficient information that the buyer seeks for your product/service. Google will not rank a website which is over optimized for voice search but lacking good content on every page of the website.
7. Impressive data on excel tables and graphs; will not work for voice search:
Websites that want to showcase their value to customers often use graphs and excel tables with comparative numbers. Numbers give clarity and also help to increase the visual appeal of the website. Yet, do not completely rid the data from your website but let it take a backseat until the user visits your website for further information/data. Initially, since a voice search cannot detect graphs and excel tables, ensure that your website has other valuable content which shows up in voice searches and leads to the website.
8. Long descriptive paragraphs will complicate a voice search:
Content writers are sometimes told by the client to write 1000 words or more content on each page of the website for Google to take notice of the content. Soon this is going to change. Very long descriptive paragraphs will not only complicate a voice search but also slow down the search process. Have a mix of short direct paragraphs, which are read aloud and easy for a search engine to reach the web page while keeping the longer paragraphs for more detailed information on your product/service.
9. Structure your data and information without it appearing spam:
Just because there is a growing number of voice searches on mobiles and via other voice assistants, it does not mean that immediately you change the content of your website to comply to voice search only. At the moment your website will have to structure the textual content and voice content so search engines can reach them. Structuring your data to project a clear picture of what to find on a webpage is the key to Google search. Besides having structured data, also having overall Search Engine Optimized content and organic Google ranking for your website will increase your chances for a voice search to lead your target customers to your website.
10. Understand the phrases and terms used for a voice search:
Evaluate the current ranked keywords on Google that are bringing visitors to your website. Can the same keywords be turned into questions for a voice search? These questions form the basis for a voice search. Long-tail keywords are being recognized by Google search as devices are encouraging more natural conversations. Statistics indicate keywords/ phrases/questions for a voice search are also longer by 76% as compared to a text search.
Today ‘near me’ is the keyword for local searches. Therefore, if your target is immediate local users, ensure your website has call buttons for bookings, your telephone number for easy reach, your email for addressing queries and your FAQ’s to provide answers with your expertise. Focus on local content by updating your local listing and Google My Business listing. Voice searches visit Google business listing so ensure your brand/product/service is listed. As per statistics, local queries on mobiles are three times more than through laptops and desktops. So also make ensure website speed and a mobile-friendly website.
Conclusion: Whether you are a content writer in Mumbai or content writer elsewhere, the time has come to be aware of the changing user search pattern exercising voice search along with a text search on mobiles and home devices. With less effort to ask aloud than type a query, today already 20% of all searches on mobiles are voice-enabled searches. Thereby, as a content writer, recognize the change and integrate it into your SEO content writing skills. It’s all about finding a balance and the right mix between the conservative text search and the growing voice search. Be focused, be ready!