How to Adjust Your Content Strategy for Voice Search

Researches expect voice search will account for over half of search queries by 2020. This doesn't come as a surprise considering humans can speak roughly 3 times as fast as they can type. It's easier and faster to get the answers to our burning questions via voice search. Smart assistants are still far from their peak performance but there's also another limitation - they need our help. In this article, we'll show you how you can take advantage of the newest trend by optimising your content marketing strategy for voice search.

Article by Dawid Zimny
I am particularly interested in web analytics. Knowing the way your visitors browse your website will help you improve their browsing experience and is crucial for converting them into clients.

Whether the prediction for 2020 turns out to be true or not, we’re sure voice search will increase its share in the search market. With Google being one of the leading providers of voice search services, we could see voice search becoming a ranking factor – just like with page speed last year.

Nearly 30% of smartphone users consider voice search as their first search choice, according to Stone Temple. But more surprisingly, Bing representatives have claimed that a quarter of Windows 10 desktop searches are using voice search.

20% of mobile Google searches and 25% of Windows 10 desktop searches are using voice search.

It’s clear that voice search is here to stay. But how to prepare your website for voice search?

How voice search is changing SEO

Back in the day, we optimised websites for search engines by stuffing keywords everywhere. Soon enough Google has noticed a trend of low-quality content occupying top spots on the first page. They reacted by not only deprecating the meta keyword tag but also punishing keyword stuffing.

More organic, quality content ranked higher, improving the overall user experience in Google’s search engine. Then came the long-tail keywords. This meant optimising for more natural phrases, such as questions, which became more popular than robotic strings of keywords.

Voice search was the obvious next step. After all, voice searches are just long tail keywords with a different input type. Asking your phone “how fast is the fastest car in the world” is much easier and faster than typing it out.

Optimising your content strategy for voice search

The similarities between voice search and long tail keywords mean we already are familiar with the natural approach to the search engine optimisation.

Focus on long, natural phrases

Going back to our previous example, nobody will say “fastest car speed” when using voice search. Naturally, you don’t want to remove the traditional keywords, but rather add some flavour to your content by including their natural counterparts.

Content marketing tools like BuzzSumo can find popular questions based on keywords. You can also use AnswerThePublic’s amazing keyword cloud, which matches your keyword with questions, prepositions and comparison words to give you the most popular long tail phrases.

AnswerThePublic's keyword cloud for "voice search"
AnswerThePublic’s keyword cloud for “voice search”.

Provide short, easy-to-read answers

Voice search can still return the classic results page with 10 links. However, often the voice assistant will instead read the answer back to you. The average answer of a voice assistant is 29 words long. Most of these results come from featured snippets and FAQ pages.

When creating an FAQ page or writing a blog paragraph that answers a question, your answers have to be as concise as possible. Less than 30 words is a good rule of the thumb.

The average Google voice search result is written at a year 10 level – or about 60-70 in Flesch–Kincaid readability scale. Using plain English can give you a better chance of being the number one result for voice searches.

Local voice searches

22% of voice search queries are related to location. We’ve recommended creating localised content in our local SEO tips and it’s even more important for voice search. You won’t show up for the “restaurants near London Eye” query if you don’t include “London Eye” in the copy of your website and on local business programmes.

If you’ve optimised your site for local searches, double down on that to take advantage of local voice search. Include popular landmarks in your localised copy to increase your chances of appearing in voice search results.

Voice search results have a superior page speed

We stress the importance of fast websites frequently. The matter comes back in multiple discussion, including voice search, and for a good reason.

People use personal assistants for their speed and convenience. A slow website defies the purpose of voice search. The average Google voice search result is twice as fast as the average desktop website.

Prepare your business for voice search

Voice search is a popular choice for a variety of queries. People search for more than the aforementioned know-how and local information. Personal assistants help them shop.

The voice commerce sector is already worth $2 billion and is expected to grow to $40 billion by 2022.

If you want a share of that, your business will have to revamp its website and content marketing strategy.

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