Voice search: How it will change SEO

Steven Mike Voser
Steven Mike Voser
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Want to rank well in voice search results on Siri, Cortana, and more? Read on for 3 simple tips on how to prepare for voice search.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s undeniable: Voice search features are becoming ever more popular. From Amazon to Apple, more and more tech companies are embracing voice technology to help improve the usability of their devices and programs. And, as the voice technology behind apps like Siri and Cortana improves, these apps will quickly go on to attract more users across various platforms. But just how will the use of voice search features affect search engine optimization? In this article, we’ll explain how the growth of voice apps might affect SEO and share some simple tips on how you can prepare for the spoken revolution.

 

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WHY IS VOICE SEARCH IMPORTANT?

It’s easy to look at this post and think: “Why should I care about voice search?” Well, the answer is simple: Because it’s growing. While there aren’t a lot of statistics on voice search patterns, Google search results show that voice search is becoming increasingly popular. In 2016, in fact, voice search made up 20% of all the search queries received via Google’s mobile app, says Google CEO Sundar Pichai. And those numbers are only expected to grow as the technology behind virtual assistants like Siri, Cortana, or Alexa becomes more refined and user-friendly. That being the case, it’s high-time your company starts taking voice search seriously and prepares its SEO strategy accordingly. But how exactly do you do that? Well, the first step is to understand how voice search works.

 

Well, the first step is to understand how voice search works.

 

VOICE SEARCH 101: UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS

It’s important to understand that each voice search application works slightly different. However, they are all similar in that they generally rely on a combination of data usually sourced from search engines. Siri, for example, will compare your search query with related data from Bing to produce the best possible results. Amazon’s Alexa, on the other hand, relies on a combination of data from Bing and Amazon, while Google Home uses data from Google. In fact, Google Home provides most of its answers based on featured snippets found in Google search results. Given these differences, most voice search apps will produce different results for the same search query. Also, most voice search engines and virtual assistants are also susceptible to machine learning, allowing them to keep tabs on customer search pattern and use this data to provide better results. This means there is a number of ways you can optimize your content for voice search theories. Here are a few tips to help you do that:

 

HOW TO GET FOUND VIA VOICE SEARCH

1: COMPETE FOR FEATURED SNIPPETS

Remember how we mentioned that Google Home provides most of its answers based on featured snippets? Well, that being the case, featured snippets should be the #1 target of your voice SEO strategy. A good way to target these snippets is to use SEMrush or Moz Keyword Explorer to look for related keywords that already have a featured snippet. Then, spend some time researching the source of that snippet and find a way you can improve that content. Make sure to analyze the page carefully and look for reasons why it ranks so well. Look at things like:

  • The page format
  • Overall user experience
  • Both written and visual content
  • Load times

By evaluating these areas of the page and comparing them to yours, you should identify some clear ways on how you can improve what your competitor has done and hopefully steal their snippet. Remember that this process is long and hard, and there are no guarantees you’ll be successful. Pro tip: For better chances at success, make sure to target keywords with snippets that you already rank for on page 1 of Google. You’re more likely to steal a snippet when you’re already ranking well for the related keyword.

 

You’re more likely to steal a snippet when you’re already ranking well for the related keyword.

 

2: TARGET PAA (PEOPLE ALSO ASK) BOXES

Google’s People Also Ask boxes are a goldmine for SEO in general. By presenting you with a variety of related questions to your query, they make it easy to branch out to identify important keyword/phrase combinations that you need to target. When it comes to voice search, Google PAA boxes are extra important. In fact, statistics show that a single PAA can show up in over 20 different results pages. That’s some serious online real estate and you’d be crazy not to compete for it. To properly target PAA boxes, make sure to clearly identify the boxes most valuable for you and dedicate time and effort to producing 10x content for those queries. In doing so, you’ll be strategically fighting for some of the prime estates on the net that you now attract a ton of traffic.

 

3: CREATE FAQ PAGES

FAQ pages tend to dominate voice search results. And it’s not hard to see why: A well-drafted FAQ page will clearly address the key questions that a customer is asking. By honing in on these questions and providing high-value answers to them, you greatly improve your chances of ranking for the specific query as well as the many related keywords in the phrase. In doing so, you’ll also automatically help your chances of ranking as a featured snippet as the answer to one of these many questions. In order to build a great FAQ page, remember to:

  • Use AnswerThePublic.com to gather question-related data for a specific keyword.
  • Build fresh, reliable content for that search query and make sure it attracts many attractions.
  • Continue updating the page on a regular basis to avoid being penalized for old, stale content.

 

GET READY FOR THE VOICE SEARCH REVOLUTION

There you have it; 3 ways to improve your search engine strategy for voice search. For more related articles, make sure to regularly check out our blog.