6 Voice Search SEO Tips for 2021
Most of today’s smartphones have voice search capabilities. Plus, a growing number of people have at least one smart speaker in their homes.
These realities and others mean it’s essential to include voice-search specifics in your search engine optimization (SEO). Here are six practical suggestions.
Think About the Types of User Intent
User intent attempts to conclude why people search for different things by understanding the reasons behind their queries. For example, if a person searches for “pumpkin pie,” do they want to buy it or make it?
Understanding user intent can also cut down on repetitive voice searches. Perhaps someone says, “Where was Tom Hanks born?” Their next question could be, “How old is he?” They don’t have to repeat the actor’s name because the first question gave the necessary context.
Google’s philosophy is that all searches fall into three categories: do, know and go. The first type centers on action-based or transactional activities, while “know” queries help people learn. “Go” questions relate to navigational location-based information.
Amazon recently introduced a new capability for user intent with Alexa devices. They can predict someone’s goals based on their questions. If someone asks how long it takes to cook pasta, Alexa might answer and then ask if it should set a timer.
As you finalize your SEO plans, think about why people will most likely come to your site. Then, check that the website features naturally incorporated phrases and keywords that will probably show up in voice searches.
Decide Which Devices to Target
A 2020 survey found that an estimated 76 million Americans over age 12 own smart speakers. There is also a growing segment of people who have more than one of these devices in their homes.
You may think that the same voice-search SEO strategy applies no matter which devices you want to target. However, an in-depth analysis disputed that assumption.
Researchers checked how often voice-enabled devices provided the same answers. They found stark differences, even among gadgets from the same brands. For example, answers given to users of Google Home Minis and Android phones matched across the devices only 0.33% of the time. People using Google Home Hubs and Android smartphones got the same answers in 66% of cases.
Other variations included how voice assistants return place-specific results. Alexa utilizes Bing, Yext and Yelp!, while Apple’s Siri only uses Yelp!
Settle on which devices to prioritize before developing your SEO voice-search strategy. Then, determine how the answers given by those respective gadgets should influence your next steps.
Consider How SEO Could Guide Product Recommendations or Provide Other Services
The increasing prevalence of voice-enabled chatbots is an emerging trend likely to substantially improve customer service for the foreseeable future. People are familiar with typing short questions into a chatbot interface and receiving brief, helpful replies. They can now verbally ask and get responses through a smart speaker or another voice-recognition device.
Research shows that 47% of people would buy products that a chatbot suggested. A new service from Audible takes advantage of that reality by providing a hands-free way for people to get audiobook recommendations through Alexa devices.
The “Alexa, call Audible” prompt connects people to someone who can suggest titles, as well as solve technical problems and provide other information about the service. This offering is a 24/7 benefit for customers in the United States.
Some chatbots let people begin their conversations through text, then switch to voice or vice versa. Now is an excellent time to determine how you could capitalize on voice-enabled chatbots, especially as they become more popular.
From an SEO standpoint, consider the reasons why people typically need help or want advice. Think about what phrases your site could contain to cater to those who prefer using voice-enabled devices. For example, you might address the “Can I contact customer service through my smart speaker?” question or list the operating hours of a voice-enabled chatbot that lets people talk to humans when desired.
Prioritize Question Keywords
People who use voice search tools tend to be conversational. Instead of saying, “Closest coffee shop,” they’ll ask, “Hey Google, where is the closest coffee shop?”
A company analyzed 50,000 voice searches to get a clearer idea of how people request information. The data showed that five keywords that are often the start of questions ended up in the top 10 most-used words. They were “how,” “what,” “is,” “where” and “when.”
It bears mentioning that “why” and “who” were the 11th and 12th entries on the list. “How” was the most frequently uttered word of all.
Adjust your SEO strategy to account for how people will often ask questions with voice searches. You might even create a FAQ page featuring the things customers ask the most. This approach boosts your authority, and it could help you meet SEO goals.
Provide Short Answers
The people browsing websites may want to see in-depth content about their queries. However, it’s more likely that someone doing a voice search needs brief answers that get right to the point.
When a study examined 10,000 voice searches made on Google Home devices, it showed that most answers were not more than a couple of sentences. More specifically, responses contained an average of 29 words. Another interesting finding was that nearly three-quarters of all answers came from pages comprising the top three Google results.
Improve your SEO outcomes by focusing on brevity first. For example, when answering a question, cite the source and the information someone wants, but nothing more.
Next, determine what you should do to help your site rank better overall — not just in terms of voice searches. Taking an all-encompassing approach should increase your site’s chances of showing up as most relevant. People will be more likely to come across it, whether looking for content via voice-enabled devices or while typing on their computers.
Think About the Needs of People Searching in Their Cars
Do your customers or clients want to do business nearby? If so, tweaking your SEO and voice search strategy could help.
When researchers looked at when people perform voice searches on their phones, they found that 64% did so while driving. Also, 9% of those said they depended on them in their cars at least six times per day. However, 51% said they found voice searches distracting.
Think about how you could accommodate people in cars. For example, providing the right answers quickly could reduce distractions.
While reviewing website content, verify that it meets needs regardless of the platform used. Check for accuracy with information such as business hours, locations and services offered.
Succeed With Voice SEO Strategies
Maybe you’re planning to optimize for voice search for the first time. Alternatively, perhaps you want to improve the results of a currently implemented voice SEO plan. These six tips will help you do both.