Google has completely changed the way we market to customers over the past 15 years. Customers can ask questions (even grammatically incorrect ones) and get answers that are clear and concise. Yet Google is changing the way we write web content even more.
Now with voice assistants getting smarter every day, Google has announced that it will tailor searches to meet the needs of voice assistants over laptop and mobile users.
Find out what you can do to ensure your SEO voice search terms are being utilized wisely.
1. Conversational Sentences
Voice search is all about searching for long-tail keywords that are conversational. When your readers Google something by voice, they aren’t using the shorter keywords that you’ve probably been focusing on for the past decade.
For example, when someone asks Google a question via a keyboard, they usually use chopped-up sentences to avoid typing long sentences. They might type something like, “Best restaurants NYC.” When we speak conversationally, we would never just blurt out, “Best restaurants NYC!” We would say something like, “What are the best restaurants in New York City?”
2. Long Sentences
Just like you need to include conversational keywords, you need to focus on longer sentences. Try to use long-tail keywords that sound like actual sentences.
For example, when someone does a Google search using a keyboard, they probably type something like, “Waco Bridge TX address.” When they use voice search, they probably say, “What is the Waco Bridge’s address in Texas?” Focusing on conversational keywords will help you rise to the top of SEO voice search results.
3. Local Searches
Google has declared that local searches will get top billing on voice searches in the upcoming years. This means that more people are searching for local businesses using technology like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. This makes plenty of sense. If you think about the fact that most people are probably using this tech in their cars to find businesses, the voice activated searches are most definitely being used.
When was the last time you were in your car and said something like, “Where is the closest McDonald’s?”
4. Top Searches/Instant Gratification
We already know that readers generally love instant gratification and are more likely to seek out top search results. Who has the time to scroll below the fold anyway?
People who use voice search are even less likely to scroll below the fold. This is generally because they won’t have the option to scroll. Voice assistants simply read the results based on the first few that show up on Google. Now it’s more important than ever to get to the top of Google search results.
5. Google My Business
Since more and more people are using voice searches to find local businesses, it makes sense that Google will favor those sites that also happen to be local businesses. Stake your claim by listing your business on Google My Business.
This way, people will find you directly when your potential customers are searching for similar businesses. You should also list your business on Google My Business anyway. You’re much more likely to come up on search results on mobile and laptop searches too.
6. Mobile Friendly Websites
We all know that mobile friendly websites are the wave of the future. For the past few years, Google has made it very evident that sites that are mobile compatible will be given priority listing. This goes double for searches made by voice assistants. Try to use fewer graphics, visuals and Flash. Voice assistants don’t usually “read” visuals.
To ensure your business comes up above the fold, make your website as mobile friendly as possible. This means you need to test the speed for your mobile site in addition to your desktop site (see number 10).
7. Scannable Articles Are King
Readers are going to be less likely to read your article. They will be even less likely to read headlines and titles. Make sure your articles are as scannable as possible. Put pertinent information (such as your business’s address) above the fold. Don’t make your readers search for any information, or your bounce rate will be off the charts.
8. Create a FAQ Page
Google already favors questions. Voice assistants will value questions even more. Most readers use voice activation to ask questions. The closer your SEO matches the searches, the higher your page will show on Google search results.
Creating a frequently asked questions page is the fastest and easiest way to get readers to your page. Use a website like Answer the Public to help you get good ideas for SEO friendly questions that your readers are asking. Then answer them succinctly, and link to other articles on your site.
9. Use Google Sitemaps
Your website is only as good as the information Google can find. Create a sitemap to ensure that your information is being crawled and scraped by Google and other apps that voice assistants might use. This sitemap will help Google find your information and help your potential readers find you.
10. Site Speed Matters
Just like with laptops, tablets and smartphones, speed matters for voice assistants too. Ensure your site is fast enough for Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri by using a tool such as Google Page Speed Analytics to determine if your page meets all the minimum requirements.
11. Google Hummingbird
Google updated its algorithm in 2013, and they made it very clear that questions were going to play a more important role. This update was called Google Hummingbird. This goes double for voice activated SEO. Make sure your keywords are formatted correctly to ensure that your page is Hummingbird friendly.
12. Who, What, Where, When and Why
Speaking of formatting questions, the most properly formatted questions start with a who, what, where, when or why. Make sure you pay attention to the five Ws when formatting your questions to score the highest on Google searches.
These types of questions create the most natural sentences, searches and long-tail keywords.
13. Featured Snippets
In number four, we already spoke about the importance of getting to the top of Google search results. At least we mentioned getting above the fold. You can take this advice one step further by getting to the number one spot. Or you can even strive to get into a featured snippet.
Featured snippets will get you to the coveted top spot on a Google search result. This is the ultimate goal for any website. The more questions you ask on your site, the more likely you’ll end up in a featured snippet. Your site might even get quoted if your content is good enough for Google’s highest honor.
14. Analyze the Way Your Customers Speak
We’ve already mentioned that you want to write SEO that is conversational. Yet you’ll also want to ensure your SEO is tailored to the way your customers speak. Analyze your readership, and try to find out where your readers are from. You may want to tailor your SEO to ensure it matches the way your customer speak.
For example, people from the South, certain cities and different countries speak differently than someone from Los Angeles. Try to determine if your customers speak differently than you to ensure they are finding your content on Google.
15. Schema Markup
Use schema markups to ensure that Google is analyzing your content correctly. This is particularly a good tool if you want to use a lot of idioms and figures of speech on your website. For example, the word “crush” can be used in many ways. You can crush something in a good way or a bad way. You can literally crush a can. Make sure you’re using schema markups to tell Google how you’re using these types of words.