There’s a funny scene in the film “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” where Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott has to interact with a mid-1980’s computer. He tries talking to it and then when told to use the mouse, he tries talking to the mouse. It’s funny because, fans of Star Trek know, in the future, all interactions with computers are done vocally. Well, the future is here. 25% of all searches are done over voice. Siri, Alexa, Cortana and other “assistants” listen to your commands and pull back relevant results. So, how is Voice Search SEO different than Text Search SEO? Think about your own actions here for the answer. When you search on a computer or mobile device, you usually enter the exact term you’re searching for, like “Mexican food near me” while for a voice search, your query is more of a question or statement, a more natural way in which we speak. “Alexa, where is Mexican Food near me”. The number of words tends to be more as well as the hierarchy of the words. Search results treat your query in terms of importance with first word most important, 2nd and so on. Voice search is looking at your entire query before designating importance and performing the search.
So, how do you prepare your web presence for both instances of search? I’m glad you asked. Here’s some basic points to help you prepare your web presence for voice as well as traditional search:
Reconfigure and Re-Imagine Your Content:
Voice search focuses in on direct answers to your questions. So, get to the point. Include FAQ on your product pages, instead of a separate page. Include questions in a way people will ask them and answer them with as little fluff as possible. The typical answer to a voice search is 29 words, where a text search answer, regardless of whether it’s mobile or not is 41 words.
Use Conversational Language for Content
Following up on point number one, write the way you’d speak. Voice results want to the point, natural speech results. Before you jump in to re-do your content, ask yourself the following questions:
What type of question keywords are people using?
What is their conversational style?
What type of questions are being asked the most?
What type of answers are best suited for these queries?
What answers are performing well and being displayed as voice search results?
Finding the answers to these questions will help you restructure your page content to maximize searchability.
Target Keyword Phrases Instead of Just Words
Now that you know the questions to include, stop focusing on those one or two words combinations of keywords to target. Voice search usually entails long keyword terms, 3-4, sometimes 5 or 6 words in length, compares to the 2-3 word search term for test search. Do some keyword research for your product or service and find the sweet spot of high traffic, low competition keyword terms and use them naturally in your content.
There’s no quick an easy fix to preparing your web presence for the growing trend of voice search, but the work done up front will pay dividends down the road.