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There was a time when voice search was fairly marginal and was mainly confined to Siri. But now, more and more people are using tools like Google Voice and Alexa and it’s essential for anyone with a website to start thinking about voice optimisation.
It has been estimated that more than 50% of all searches will be conducted through voice by 2020, and if you don’t want to be left behind, it would be wise to get started with voice optimisation now. Here are a few tips for anyone trying to optimise their content for voice search.
Start with Local Search
One of the main reasons people use voice search is to find specific places they would like to get to. People may ask for things like “find an organic grocery store in Houston”. In this specific case, it would be wise to optimise your site for the phrase “organic grocery store Houston”.
But the way the phrase is formulated is important too. If they happen to run a query like “find an organic grocery store near me”, Google will recognise the words “near me” and run a search for local businesses.
This is where local SEO comes in. Google uses Google my Business listings for local searches, and unless it’s configured correctly, you might lose a huge chunk of local voice searches. So, make sure that you double check your Google my Business listing and make sure that it is accurate and up to date. You should also make sure that it is consistent with your site’s contact info and with your contact info on other pages like local business directories for instance. Inconsistent listings may end up affecting your local rankings negatively and affect your site’s visibility.
Monitor Your Analytics
If you’re running an analytics tools, you probably have a module that shows which queries have sent people to your site. If your analytics tool doesn’t, or even worse, if you aren’t using an analytics tool at all, you should use Google’s free Search Console. It will give you a complete report of what type of questions brought people to your site and you’ll be able to optimise your on-page content accordingly.
Scope in on Long Tail Keywords
People don’t run voice searches like they do regular searches. People have a tendency to shorten their queries with regular search. For instance, someone trying to improve backlinks is much less likely to type something like “how to get more high-quality backlinks to my site” than something more simple like “how to increase backlinks”. On the other hand, voice search is more like a conversation. Therefore, you’ll have to put yourself in your customer's shoes and try to imagine how they would speak in order to find suitable long tail keywords.
In this case, regular keyword search tools might not get you the type of long tail keywords you’re looking for. You’ll have to be more intuitive and think of questions people would ask to get to your site. One of the best ways to do this is to run voice searches yourself and start brainstorming question ideas. Tools like AnswerThePublic.com are also great for this. You can enter any keyword specific to your line of business and it will automatically append terms like “how” and “who” or “with’ and come up with a variety of commonly asked questions.
As you can see, optimising for voice search doesn’t have to be rocket science. However, you still have to take the time and effort to adapt your SEO strategy if you don’t want to fall behind and miss the ever increasing number of voice searches that are being conducted every day.