Voice search is a handy tool that people worldwide have come to rely on. In fact, 123.5 million people opted for voice search technology in 2022 instead of typing their queries.
It’s safe to say that people love to voice search. So, here’s our question: can your target customers find you through this search method?
Of course, following SEO best practices is the most effective way to get your business noticed through traditional organic search. But as you’re looking to optimize for voice search, there are both new tactics you can implement and proven SEO basics you can hone to boost your visibility.
Here are the major areas to prioritize as you focus on improving your voice search ranking
1. Clean Up Your Customer Data
Seasoned marketing professionals already know the importance of defining and using customer data. But when did you last review or update that data or your buyer personas?
Start your campaign to optimize for voice search by reassessing and drilling down into your customer data by asking yourself key questions like:
Has your idea of “target customers” changed since the last time you reviewed your buyer personas?
Are there new online resources or outlets that your customers are using? Have you identified why those watering holes are useful for them?
Do you understand what your targets are looking for at every stage of the buyer’s journey?
A comprehensive, fresh understanding of your target customers will be your biggest ally here, as voice search relies heavily on detailed awareness of what your ideal customer will search for, likely on-the-go. This will help you create specific content likely to catch target customers using voice search. And within that content, you should…
2. Double Down on Keywords
We’re sure you’re already generating content that focuses on being clear, concise and valuable to your audience. But those attributes are even more important when tailoring pieces for voice search, along with aligning said copy with strong, relevant keywords.
Strategically chosen and implemented keywords and phrases will help you stand out in voice searches from your competitors, as those are what Google will search for first.
Deciding what keywords and phrases to include should start with considering how your target customer might voice search for your business.
Use yourself as an example: think about how you use this feature on your phone. If you’re looking for a bakery, we bet you’re not saying, “bakery near me between Fullerton Avenue and Belmont Avenue in Chicago that bakes cakes for retirement parties with vanilla cake and blue icing.”
But what are you likely saying?
Bakery near me delivery
Bakery retirement cakes near me
Where is a bakery near me?
Retirement cake baker near me
While these phrases are much shorter, they include long-tail keywords. These consist of more specific searches (often three or more words) that are not searched as frequently but provide more targeted results.
Including long and short tail keywords like these that define your business’ location, specific products, services and capabilities will make it easier for Google to find and crawl your website and then push you to the top of your target customer’s search. Make sure your keyword research is current; if not, you can use Semrush and Google Keyword Planner to identify the best phrases for your business.
With clear, concise and constructive marketing assets sprinkled with relevant short and long-tail keywords, it’s easier for Google to crawl your content and push it to the top of your lead’s voice results.
3. Beyond SEO Best Practices
While we bet you’ve implemented basic SEO best practices for traditional organic search, there are still a few goals to shoot for and tactics to use to further the likelihood of voice search success:
Aim for Featured Snippets
From HubSpot, Google featured snippets are defined as “selections of content displayed on the search engine results page without the user having to visit the page where the content lives.” These snippets are placed in between sponsored ads at the top of the page and its list of search results and will look something like this:
Occupying coveted featured snippet space is a major win for your website’s SEO presence, whether people are saying or typing their searches because it gets your company’s information out front and center. While it can be difficult to snag a featured snippet spot, it’s a goal to keep in mind as you create clear, concise and constructive content and follow the steps we’ve laid out above.
Not all your customers may be English speakers. Creating content in other languages helps widen the pool of potential leads from voice searches. These pieces should include the same best practices we laid out above, just like your English content. But unless you have a native speaker on your team, consider working with translators or fluent freelancers to create grammatically correct copy that will engage speakers with different native languages.
Adding Schema Markups
Beyond including backend best practices like metadata and alt tags, you can create schema markups for your website. A schema markup (also known as structured data) consists of code to give search engines a more in-depth description of your website. It’s invisible to readers and is just an HTML add-on.
Schema markup has been proven to boost website engagement and overall visibility and help answer search queries more comprehensively. And according to Schema App, it’s most commonly used by small businesses. According to their latest report, 40% of businesses with under five employees are using schema markup. That means if you’re a small company looking to compete and rank for voice search results, it’s time to add schema markup to your web pages.
Does your website have an FAQ page? If you don’t, it’s time to build one ASAP.
Your FAQ page should hit on your target customer’s most common questions about your business, services or products, using keywords like Why, How, Where, What, Can I, Do you, etc.
Using our bakery example – say a potential customer is voice searching, “where is a bakery that delivers to Chicago,” an FAQ page that clearly states, “We deliver to Chicago,” is more likely to reach the top of their results as opposed to “We deliver across several cities in Illinois.”
Defining these frequently asked questions will also help inspire content most relevant to your audience.
5. Target Local Searches
Did you notice in our last example how we included the bakery’s location? Optimizing your website and content for customers in your area is a powerful move that will only help boost your voice search visibility. That’s because 58% of consumers already use voice searches to find local businesses.
First, if you haven’t already, now’s the time to build (or claim!) your Google Business Profile. Not only will your Google Business Profile appear when it’s triggered in relevant searches, but this profile also controls how your company will appear on Google Maps. This is a great example of a platform that relies heavily on accurate results from voice searches (since typing while driving is not ideal).
From there, you can add location-based short and long-tail keywords to your website copy. For example, our bakery will have more success with local customers by including phrases like “bakery in Chicago,” “Chicagoland bakery” or “Delivers to Chicago suburbs” on their website and other pieces of marketing content.
6. Optimize for Mobile
Yes, many computers can voice search, but I can’t say I’ve ever used it. If someone uses the voice-to-text feature, it’s likely on their phone, which means your mobile content needs to be ready for voice search users.
If it’s hard to navigate your website or loads slowly, it’ll make it difficult for Google to crawl and find the answers to your target customers’ questions. This means it’ll overlook you for another business with mobile-friendly content.
You can take several steps to create a more mobile-friendly site, including building responsive website designs and implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) markups.
Find Your Customer’s Voice
Following the steps above is a win/win for your company. Not only will it lead to the likelihood of higher rankings for voice search results, but it’ll also only strengthen your overall organic SEO and find more leads for your business.
As always, we’re here to help with your SEO questions and more. If you’re ready to invest in your online SEO, contact us today to learn more about our services.