Voice Search: How To Optimise Your Website

Laura English

Laura English

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There’s this joke among marketing professionals that the rules of SEO change about 10,000 times a year, but we all know it’s only actually around five to six hundred. We’re here to tell you it’s about to get a bit harder with voice search on the rise. Don’t stress, we’ve done the hard yards to work out how to compete with smart speakers and artificial intelligence taking over.

What is voice search? It’s using Siri on your iPhone, or your Google Home, or Amazon Alexa to search for something. If you step into almost any 20-something household and start a debate there’s a 90% chance a Google Home or AI device will settle it. Younger generations are waking up and asking Google what the weather is like and how traffic will be and they’re asking her to convert miles to kilometres during TV shows. They’re also finding recommendations that way: where should I eat, where’s the closest barber, send me the directions to the closest cafe.

Use long tail keywords

The way we’ve searched with Google previously is pretty different to voice search. When you google something you’ll use keywords, ‘closest cafe’. Voice search differs because we’ll use a more conversational tone when we search with our virtual assistants, “Hey Google, where’s the best cafe closest to me?”.

Long tail keywords are cool without factoring in voice search. They target more specifically and there’s lower competition for them which means lower cost. Long tail keywords won’t always necessarily improve your ranking but they’ll direct more ‘ready-to-convert’ leads your way.

One way to factor these in is obviously by doing some long tail keyword research, but don’t waste too much time on it. The best thing you can do is create and write quality, knowledgeable content and write naturally. Your conversational tone is absolutely an asset in voice searching.

Think about voice search intent

Look at your product or your services and think about why someone might be searching for it. Particularly with voice search there are three key drivers for a search.

Informational: Searching for information. ‘How does the sun work?’ ‘Why is the sky blue?’

Navigational: Searching for a specific website or product. ‘JB Hi-Fi speakers’

Transactional: Where the searcher is ready to buy or book. ‘Book flights online’.

For pretty much any organisation, ‘transactional’ searchers are who you want to target.

Make everything local

A really significant amount of voice searches are likely to be local-based. Like we mentioned previously, users are searching for recommendations, so the closest restaurant or the best cafe in Brisbane. Your regular SEO strategy probably targets keywords like your city, region, or state. That’s totally fine, but targeting it a little bit more will only become more valuable to you in the almighty rise of voice search and digital assistants. Your reviews and ratings will help here too. Try and be across Google and Facebook reviews and anywhere else that matters in your industry. If you’re a restaurant owner, now’s the time to make sure you have a positive presence in reviewing apps like Zomato and TripAdvisor.

Some other things

Answers average at 29 words long so when you’re structuring the content for a voice answer, try to keep it around 25 words. Keep your wording simple, the average reading level of the content taken from Google is that of a year nine. Remember, Google appreciates quality content that shares knowledge.

At Sonder, we know SEO, come chat with us and see how we can help.

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