2018 has already been a transformational year for voice search, particularly with the rise in virtual assistants and the proliferation of smart phones. For those not yet familiar with what voice search is (where have you been?!), it is a speech recognition technology that allows users to search by saying terms aloud into a smart device rather than typing them into a search field.
Now the chances are you probably haven’t thought much about voice search and how it might apply to your business. I didn’t until I realised that statistics collected by Search Engine People show 20% of mobile searches on Google are done using voice. And a recent Bright Local survey found that 58% of consumers surveyed have used voice search to find local business information during the last 12 months – so I quickly realised that there are things every website owner should do to prepare for voice search. Here are 4 ways to create voice search-friendly content:
- Identify your ‘micro moments’
Micro moments are intent-driven moments of decision making that act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.
Google has defined four micro-moments that represent the full range of user needs.
Your website needs to connect people to what they’re looking for in real time and provide visitors with relevant information when they need it.
Use a keyword tool such as Ubersuggest and type in your main keyword. In this example, I have searched for ‘buy laptop’
Choose the keywords that represent micro-moments such as ‘where to buy cheap laptops online’ and create content and web pages around those keywords.
- Focus on long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase. They are also likely to use long-tail keywords in voice search because it uses natural, conversational language which is different to those we use when entering text into Google.
“What is the weather like in Liverpool today?” is an example of a search query using voice search, whereas when typed into Google it might just be ‘weather Liverpool’.
Content optimized for voice search would therefore need to focus on the conversational nature of voice search.
- Optimise your site for Local Search
Research has found that voice search is three times more likely to be local in nature. So with this in mind, you should ensure that your businesses contact details can be clearly crawled by search engines and any directions to get to your business are clear for both search engines and users.
If you have a shopfront or are a visitor attraction, highlight nearby destinations on your website such as coffee shops, hotels and car parks as people are likely to search for these in order to plan their journey.
- Create content for your searcher’s intent
Think about your ideal customers and what questions or keywords they might use in voice search:
- What are your customers likely to ask: A great place to start is to think of the questions your target audience would ask when looking for a product or a service in your industry – then build your content around those queries.
- Answer the 5 W’s and 1 H: Common voice search queries cover who, what, when, where, why, and how questions, so create individual pages (e.g blog posts) that addresses these.
- Start an FAQ page: An FAQ page is a great place to put all your customers questions, including the 5 W’s and 1 H.
- Use informal tone: Given the use of a more natural language in voice searches, you can use an informal tone when developing content. A rule of thumb here is to think of how people speak and then let your content match it.
With voice search becoming a viable search option, you should pay attention to it too by optimising your website for this increasingly popular search medium.