We all know that a successful business in the 21st century has to have a digital presence. This means setting up Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, of course, and it also means having a fully functioning website, one that has been properly search engine optimised (SEO).
The value of SEO can no longer be ignored. If, as a brand, you haven’t made sure that your site is optimised for both desktop and mobile users, and you haven’t targeted a range of search terms to help drive you up the rankings, you really are missing a trick – and missing out on a lot of valuable custom.
Page one rankings can send a huge amount of business your way so if you’ve yet to include this in your marketing strategy, now is definitely the time to start looking into it.
But if you’ve already been making strides where SEO is concerned, there’s a new area of focus you might like to divert your attention towards – and that’s voice search.
With the rise of the Internet of Things and an increasing number of devices now being connected and working together, voice search is only going to become more and more popular as time goes on and businesses would certainly be wise to bear this in mind and make sure that their sites are optimised for voice searches, or they could find they start losing out.
People love using voice search, in part because of the novelty factor, but as this fades into the background, they will continue using this as a way of finding what they want online because it’s more convenient and quicker than typing – and it can be done on the move.
It all goes back to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update, which took place in 2013 and really shook the SEO industry up no end. What Hummingbird meant was that user intent was taken more into account by the search engine when it came to results, with the contextual meaning of searches becoming more and more important for rankings.
SEO professionals had to instantly change their content creation strategies and stop keyword stuffing immediately or earn their clients a big black mark against their name in search engine results.
A word of warning – if you’re working with any company that still uses keyword stuffing as part of its strategy, you might want to find someone else to help you with your SEO.
But back to voice search… this is just another way for Google to help prioritise the overall user experience and make search results more meaningful and accurate, so ensuring that your site is optimised for this is yet another way you can get yourself on page one of results.
How to optimise for voice search
First of all, you need to understand the differences between voice queries and those done using a keyboard. Where voice is concerned, question phrases are a common go-to for those trying to find what they want online – so something like “what restaurants are open now?”.
Voice search is often used by people looking for local information, which makes sense because they’ve got their phones in their hands and need that information right then and there.
“Near me” and “how to” searches are also growing in popularity, so you need to take these into account when devising your SEO strategies, as well, making sure you incorporate relevant keywords when creating content for your site.
This could be anything from including “near me” in your anchor text, meta descriptions and tags or making sure you include phrases that are commonly used to describe your local neighbourhood… all of which will help drive traffic to your site and ensure that your customers can find you online.
When it comes to putting your keyword lists together, make sure that you prioritise question keywords if you want to optimise for voice search – so include words like where, when, what and how, all of which are conversational and which search engines will appreciate in results pages.
3 SEO strategies to take away with you
- Create lots of FAQs on your blogs and product pages, as these are a really easy way to include question keywords. They also make it very easy for search engines to take content from your site and turn it into rich snippets.Rich snippets appear above the ads in organic search results, so this is where you’re aiming for your content to pop up. Rich snippets are also what the likes of Google will use as results when voice searches are carried out – so this is really where you want to be.
- Be as conversational as you can when it comes to content creation, as this is what voice search is all about. You need to consider factors like the kind of question keywords people are using, typical conversational style, the type of questions being asked the most and what answers are being ranked as voice search results.
- Also cast a critical eye over your Google My Business listing. Because people often use voice search for local queries, it’s vital that your listing includes your name, address and phone number, as well as the appropriate business categories. Prioritise local SEO and you’ll soon start to see an increase in website hits.