As voice search becomes increasingly popular, it’s more important than ever to ensure your site seamlessly translates from text to speech. Here’s how to keep your content on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
While the prospect of voice-activated technologies was once limited to the realm of science fiction (consider the novelty of Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her), these tools have since become a nearly ubiquitous part of our daily lives. Research carried out by HubSpot in 2015 showed that 37% of people use Siri, 23% use Microsoft’s Cortana AI, and 19% use Amazon’s Alexa AI at least once a month. Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods has even made it possible to buy an Alexa device while grocery shopping.
Among the range of tools this technology provides, voice search has emerged as one of the most popular options. In 2016, for example, 20% of search queries on Google’s mobile apps and Android devices were voice searches. As voice search continues to grow in popularity and changes the way consumers navigate the web, it’s important to make sure that your content evolves alongside it, remaining searchable and rising to the top of relevant voice search results pages.
Keep It Local
Many voice search queries are targeted at local listings, such as “Where can I find a hairstylist near me?” To maximize your reach, be sure to claim your business and optimize your listing on major search engines like Google, as well as consumer review sites like Yelp and FourSquare. The easier you are to find, the more likely it is that your audience will engage with your content, and by extension, invest in your product or services. Keep in mind that voice search users are seeking mobile-friendly content, and make it as simple as possible to interact with your site by activating features like click-to-call.
Say Goodbye To Keywords
Well, not goodbye to all that, but don’t be yoked to keywords without including conversational words around them. When people ask a question over voice search, they typically form it in a different, more natural way than they would via a traditional search engine. Rather than typing in a keyword or short phrase like “New York weather,” for example, vocal queries tend to be more fleshed out questions, such as “OK Google, what temperature will it be tomorrow in New York City?” Making sure your content is optimized to capture this type of traffic is key to getting the most out of voice search.
Add Schema Markup
Schema markup is a recent, powerful innovation for maximizing your SERP rankings. This vocabulary of microdata can be added to pages and posts in order to provide search engines with a way to better categorize your content. In turn, this helps to surface your content in response to the queries that it is most likely to provide a helpful answer to. Resources like schema.org — which was developed through a collaboration between Google, Yahoo, and Bing — provides an informative overview of how content marketers can best capitalize on the benefits of schema markup.
Make Sure You’re Mobile-Friendly
Research How Users Give Voice Commands
Understanding how consumers actually give voice commands is one of the most essential steps to optimizing voice search. Every piece of voice-activated technology has its own specific voice commands, and researching the intricacies of each platform can help boost your search results. These commands are often specific to each individual platform or piece of hardware — but luckily, there are many great resources that catalog complete lists of commands for voice technologies like OK Google and Apple’s Siri. The bottom line: the better you can anticipate your target audience’s voice search queries, the easier it will be to send relevant content soaring to the top of their search results.
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