Natural language processing has made search engines more adept at serving our needs. But as search engines become more complex, brands have to keep up. Trending technology like voice search is more convenient for users, but it presents a new challenge to brands.
Marketers have to keep up with user behavior if they want to get more traffic. 50% of all search engine queries will be done via voice in 2020, which is just a few months away. By 2022, over 50% of all American homes will have at least one smart speaker. People are using voice assistants like Siri and Alexa on a regular basis, which means it’s time to focus on voice search.
It’s clear that voice is not only big with consumers, but it’s going to make huge changes in the content marketing space. If you’re investing in content for SEO, you need to pivot your strategy right now to include voice search.
Why Voice Search?
Let’s be clear: voice search isn’t a passing fad. Marketing experts have been saying for years that voice search is going to be big. With 2020 just around the corner, we’re about to see voice-first search become reality.
Voice search isn’t just the future of search engines, but of content marketing. Statistically, over half of all your search engine referrals will come from voice search. Fail to optimize your content now and you’ll miss out on a big boost to your organic traffic.
By optimizing for voice search, you’ll show up better in the search engine results page (SERP). This means you get more traffic, increased brand awareness, and eventually more sales.
However, you probably already know that voice search is important. The challenge most brands face today isn’t the importance of voice search, but how to take action and optimize for voice search.
Pump your time and money into a content marketing strategy that moves the needle for your brand. Pivot away from focusing just on text-friendly SEO and embrace voice search.
6 Ways to Optimize Content for Voice
Brands need to embrace 6 voice search best practices to appeal to voice users in 2020 and beyond.
1. Design a mobile-friendly website
If your site isn’t optimized for mobile users, you’re already behind. Search engines like Google have been giving preference to mobile-friendly sites for years. They’ll continue to do so as voice search becomes more popular.
Mobile traffic and mobile searches have been surpassing desktop traffic for years. These mobile users are switching to voice-first search for convenience, which means if you want to be voice-friendly, you have to be mobile-friendly.
The easiest way to be mobile-friendly is to design a responsive website that scales to fit mobile screens.
2. Optimize local SEO
Do you have a physical store or location? If so, you need to optimize for local SEO to stand out to voice search users.
Over 80% of all smartphone users conduct “near me” searches. Search engines pull a lot of this data from Google My Business listings. If you haven’t updated your listing, you aren’t reaching these users.
Update your Google My Business listing by checking your phone numbers, hours, and website. Add relevant photos of your location and product to increase the likelihood that mobile searchers will visit your location.
And don’t forget to optimize your listing with keywords. Users often search for the “best” product near them, like, “Siri, find the best ice cream near me.” By using phrases like “best ice cream in town,” you’ll better optimize your listing for voice search.
3. Use longtail keywords
Voice search allows people to use natural language to conduct searches. That means voice users are searching for very different queries than text-based users.
Optimize your content for voice search by moving away from choppy keywords and embracing natural language. Use keywords that people use in real-world conversations. For example, instead of optimizing for “haircuts in Phoenix” you would optimize for “Where can I get a haircut?”
4. Think like a customer
Marketers can no longer squeak by without doing audience research. Sit down with your target audience and conduct interviews. Run your campaigns past them to find blind spots.
By having your finger on the pulse of what makes customers act, you’ll know how to better optimize your longtail voice keywords. It’s not enough to think like a marketer; go to the source and start thinking like a customer.
5. Ask questions
It’s not enough to use longtail keywords, though. If you really want to stand out in voice search, use questions as your keywords.
Most voice search queries start with how, where, what, or when. Make sure you integrate questions in your content strategy. One way to do this is with blog headers that feature a question (“How do I optimize my content for voice search?”).
Another option is to create an in-depth but useful FAQ page on your site that addresses common questions that users search for. You should also look at your Google Analytics to see what queries people search for once they’re on your site. Your sales team might also know common questions that customers ask during the sales process.
6. Develop an Alexa Skill
More users are choosing Alexa for information and entertainment. Instead of going to Google, Alexa users ask their smart speaker directly for information.
If your users are bypassing search engines, it makes sense to develop an Alexa Skill. You create the Skill, add it to the Amazon market, and encourage users to download it. Using wake commands, users can interact with the Skill without going to your website or opening a search engine page.
Keep in mind that a good Alexa Skill can be branded, but it has to primarily deliver value. For example, Zyrtec has an Alexa Skill that automatically tells users the daily allergy forecast for their ZIP code. Deliver value first and let your brand be a secondary consideration.
The Bottom Line
Voice search is already happening. If you want to get ahead of the curve in time for 2020, now’s the time to add voice to your content marketing strategy. Follow these 6 best practices to get more mileage out of your content in the age of audio.
Still not sure how to optimize for voice search? Trust your content with Logical Media Group’s expert content strategists. Contact us now for a free brainstorming session.