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Looking for an in-depth guide on voice search SEO? Then look no further.
Whether you know it or not, half of all online searches will be made through voice search and the number is only growing every year.
If you’re not optimizing your website for voice searches yet, this is the time to fix it.
Because… voice search is the FUTURE.
Did you know that voice-enabled shopping is expected to rise to $40 billion in revenue generated by 2022.
As you can see above, voice search shopping is projected to rise at $40 billion in the U.S. and $5 billion in the U.K. by the end of 2022.
We hope that you’re now convinced to optimize your website for voice search if you want to stay in the game for the future. Let’s now get into the details.
Table of Contents
- What is voice search SEO?
- What are the benefits of optimizing your website for voice search?
- Voice Search Optimization: 7 Foolproof Ways to Optimize Your Site
- FAQs | Voice Search SEO
- Final Thoughts
What is voice search SEO?
Let’s first talk about voice search.
“Voice search is a speech recognition technology that allows a user to speak a search query into a device.”
In simple terms, voice search allows a searcher to use a voice command to search the Internet. That means it allows users to use search engines by speaking on a smartphone or computer.
There are many platforms that allow people to use their voice to browse information online.
Examples include Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Samsung Bixby, and more.
Now, let’s talk about voice search SEO.
Optimizing your content for voice searches is what voice search SEO is all about. So it is extremely important for you to find those keywords that people use for voice search.
In a voice search, people use different keywords to search for information online.
For instance, people might type “hospital near me,” but using voice search, they would say “what is the nearest hospital near me.”
Are you getting it?
In the voice search, people mostly use “elaborated i.e long-tail keywords”.
Voice search optimization statistics:
Here are some of the amazing voice search SEO stats.
- 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 according to ComScore
- 27% of the online global population is using voice search on mobile, according to Google
- 72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker (such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home etc) say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine
- A Gartner study predicts that 30% of all browsing sessions will include voice search by 2021
- According to an Adobe Analytics survey, the most common voice searches on smart speakers are asking for music (70%) and the weather forecast (64%), followed by fun questions (53%), online search (47%), news (46%), and asking directions (34%)
What are the benefits of optimizing your website for voice search?
Here are some of the biggest benefits of optimizing your site for voice search in 2021 and beyond
Higher rankings: According to a report, roughly 75% of voice search results will rank in the top 3 positions for a particular question on a desktop search. So if you’re optimizing your content for voice searches, you’ll start attracting more visitors from search engines like Google.
Better authority: If you start ranking for voice searches, ultimately it will boost your site’s authority. New audiences will discover your site which improves your overall organic visibility.
High revenue: If more and more people started finding your site through voice searches, it will ultimately grow your website earnings (or eCommerce profits).
So are you ready to learn how to do SEO for voice search? Let’s find out.
Voice Search Optimization: 7 Foolproof Ways to Optimize Your Site
1. Optimize for Google’s Rich Answer Box
Voice search will give you ONE answer instead of showing the top 10 search results.
For instance, if you’re using a smart voice control device such as Google Home, or an Amazon Echo, you’re only going to get one answer (i.e one result).
So what can you understand?
If you want to get more out of voice search SEO, you must provide the BEST result for a user’s command.
That’s how voice search is changing SEO.
In fact, Backlinko did an interesting case study on voice search where they found that “Content that ranks highly in desktop search is also very likely to appear as a voice search answer. In fact, approximately 75% of voice search results rank in the top 3 for that query.”
That’s the case with screenless voice search devices such as Google Home as they only produce one answer (one result).
Fortunately, when people are using voice searches on their mobiles or desktops (or laptops), they can potentially choose between the first 3 ranking results, not always the FIRST result.
Here’s where optimizing your content for “Rich Answers” can help you immensely.
So make sure to optimize for featured snippets.
A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a user’s query. It is displayed on top of Google search results and it is extracted from a web page along with the page’s title and URL.
Here’s how it looks like;
As you can see, the above illustration is a “featured snippet”. When you search for “richest man in the world”, Google is directly displaying the answer along with the web page’s title and URL so you don’t have to browse a ton of links online to get the answer.
Optimizing your content for featured snippets is probably the best way to rank for voice searches.
Here are some interesting facts about featured snippets.
- Out of the one million queries that STAT analyzed, 9.28% of them contained snippets
- Over 70% of the featured snippets didn’t come from the very first organic result (that’s great news, that means you can get a featured snippet even if you’re ranking at 5th position)
- Featured snippets appear with an image 27.58% of the time (so make sure to use illustrations and images in your content)
Here are few effective tips to rank for Google answer box AKA featured snippets.
- Answer the question clearly and try to answer it in under 100 words. From our experience, Google featured snippets also show you the links. So don’t hesitate to include links.
- Include number lists posts. You’ll have more chances of ranking for featured snippets if you create number lists posts.
- Make sure to include lists, graphs, and tables as they often get shown in the Google answer box.
Above all, follow the best featured snippets practices to rank for answer boxes in Google.
2. Use Question Based Keywords
Whenever a user searches on Google with a question-based keyword term, Google tries to provide an answer to the question.
Here’s how it looks like;
As you can see above, when you search for a question-based phrase like “what’s the population of the world?” – Google instantly gives you a quick answer (which is also known as “answer box” or “featured snippet”).
Google uses “semantic search technology” to process users’ queries.
Google “Searches related to” section also uses the same semantic technology to provide relevant keyword terms at the end of search results.
Semantic search technology takes the following things into consideration.
- Natural language understanding (NLP)
- User context
- Query stream context
- Entity recognition
So if you want to optimize your website for voice search, start targeting question-based keywords.
How to find question-based keywords?
The simplest (and free) way to find question-based keywords is to use Google’s “Searches related to [your keyword]” suggestions as they can help you discover all the keywords your users are searching for.
For instance, if you’re trying to rank for “how to clean Mac”, you can use the “Google searches related to” section to discover what questions people are actually asking.
Have a look;
See that? You can find all the relevant question-based keywords for most of the phrases using the “Google Searches related to” section.
Apart from that, you can also use the Semrush keyword research tool to find question keywords.
Here’s how to use it like a pro.
Quick note: You can grab Semrush 30 day free trial from here.
Once you’re on the Semrush dashboard, go to Keyword Magic Tool and enter any keyword.
Then, choose the “Questions” tab to find a list of all the question-based keywords.
Here’s how it looks like;
See that? Semrush keyword magic tool is showing us over 24,000 question-based keyword ideas for the keyword term “SEO”.
You’ll also get all the keyword data for each of those keyword terms including search volume, keyword difficulty, trend, CPC value and more.
3. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
Did you know that 70% of searches are long-tail keywords?
Do you know why long tail SEO accounts for 70% of total online searches? Majority of the people are increasingly moving toward long-tail searches because natural language search (NLP) is growing rapidly.
Also, big ecommerce sites like Amazon earn 57% of sales from long-tail keywords.
Here are a few more reasons to use long tail keywords in 2021.
- Long tail keywords provide you high conversion rates
- They are easier to rank for (because of less competition or monthly searches)
- Most of the times, you don’t need to build a ton of links to rank #1 for long tail keywords
- People use long tail keywords while performing voice searches (so it definitely helps you with voice search SEO)
- And the list goes on
So how to pick better long tail keywords in your niche?
One of the easiest ways to find long tail keywords is to take a broad topic and begin typing it into Google.
You will then see Google autocomplete suggestions like this one;
See that? When you enter a broad keyword phrase like “best laptop for” on Google search, you’ll instantly get a ton of long-tail keyword ideas as Google autosuggestions.
Although Google autocomplete feature is great but it takes so much time to manually discover great long tail keywords. Most of the time, you’ll miss out on “hidden keywords”.
That’s why almost all the professional bloggers and SEOs use premium tools like Semrush.
Here’s how you can use the Semrush keyword magic tool for finding long tail keywords.
Just enter any seed keyword term like “SEO tools” and you can also use filters like “word count” (we set it to 4 in this example) to find easier to rank long tail keywords.
Once we apply the filters, here’s how the data looks like;
See that? Semrush generated over 5000 long tail keywords (which are of 4 words and more) along with various metrics including;
- Monthly searches (The average number of monthly searches for a given keyword over a 12-month period)
- Average keyword difficulty (The keyword difficulty index from 1 to 100% shows you how difficult it would be to outrank your competitors in the Google organic top 20 for a given keyword)
- CPC (cost per click)
- And more
Once you click on any of those long tail keyword terms, Semrush will give you even more details of that keyword phrase.
Here’s how it looks like;
See that? For every individual keyword, you can get in-depth data where you can find more useful keyword metrics.
4. Create Conversational Content
Did you know that the average Google voice search result is written at a 9th-grade level?
Simple and easy-to-read content may help with voice search optimization.
Also, make sure to create content that’s conversational.
Don’t use jargon. Don’t write in a corporate tone. Write as you talk. That’s the best way to optimize your content for voice searches.
Here are some of the effective tips to create conversational content that helps you with better voice search SEO.
Solve a problem: With every blog post you write, solve a problem. Pick one theme (or topic) with every individual post. Try to cover A to Z information about that topic. Make 10x better than the other top 10 search results.
Make it appealing: Use a ton of graphics such as pictures, videos, or graphs within your blog posts. They hook your audience and make your content visually appealing. You can use tools like Canva to create engaging graphics for your content.
Tell a story: Whenever possible, tell a story. Share your experiences. People connect to stories. That’s why we often write about our blogging mistakes, journey, earning reports and more as they instantly grab our audiences’ attention.
Come up with great topic ideas: No matter how great your content is, if your topic is not engaging, most people will NOT connect to it. That’s why it’s so important to know your audience, find their wants and needs and brainstorm great ideas that connect with them.
Create long-from content: Did you know that long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles? There is so much data that backs that “long-form content always ranks well in Google”. So create 2000+ word articles for your most important keywords.
5. Make your site mobile-friendly
Since the majority of voice searches happen on mobile, it is a no-brainer to make your website fully optimized for mobile devices.
And… the most important thing is Google uses mobile-first indexing.
Here’s what Google has to say about it – “Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.”
Yes… there was a time when all the search rankings were based on your site desktop version (including your mobile rankings).
But after the launch of mobile-first indexing, only the mobile responsive sites that are faster and provide a better user experience are getting first-page rankings in mobile search.
Here’s a difference between a mobile-friendly and non-mobile responsive design.
So if your site is NOT mobile responsive yet, get a mobile-friendly theme or install a plugin like WP Touch to make it responsive. If you’ve enough budget, hire someone to create a unique responsive design for your site (just like we did at BloggersPassion).
6. Improve your website loading speed
No one likes slow loading websites, not even Google. In fact, website speed is a ranking factor as Google rewards faster loading sites.
The same is the case with voice search SEO – you can get better rankings by improving your website page loading times and performance.
In fact, TTFB (Time To First Byte) also plays a major role in improving your Google rankings. Time to first byte is the duration that any website user has to wait for the initial response after being requested for something on the Internet.
Google found that bounce rates on mobile are 9.56% higher than on desktops.
Smartphone users, especially those using voice search, have less attention span. So you need to make sure your website pages load quickly especially on mobile devices.
Here are some of the proven ways to improve your site’s speed to increase your chances of ranking for voice searches.
Use the right web host: Did you know that your hosting provider can affect site speed? Research shows that 40% of people will abandon your site if it takes more than three seconds to load. So using a faster web hosting is a no brainer if you want to improve your traffic and conversions.
We have been using WPX Hosting to run our site for more than 5 years and we’re extremely happy with it. If you want faster loading times, make sure to check out WPX Hosting as it provides the ultimate website performance.
Use a CDN: According to BuiltWith, over 41% of the top 10,000 websites are using a CDN (Content Delivery Network). If you’re getting traffic from all over the world, by using a CDN, your website’s content will be delivered faster to these users as there is less distance to travel.
It’s a better idea to go for a web host that offers a free CDN (WPX hosting offers a free CDN to all its users) or you can also use free CDN networks like Cloudflare to boost your site loading times.
Install a caching plugin: A caching plugin generates static HTML pages of your website and saves it on your hosting server. That way, whenever someone tries to access your site, your caching plugin serves up the lighter HTML page instead of processing the whole page.
We use and highly recommend WP Rocket as it provides ultimate caching features to provide faster page loading times.
That said, if you’re looking for more ways to increase your site’s speed, read this guide.
7. Improve your local SEO
Did you know that 39% of voice search users are looking for business information?
So you can’t ignore your local SEO as you need to optimize for local SEO rankings as people search for local businesses using voice searches.
Have a look at the following example.
As you can see above, local businesses can get better organic rankings if they’ve perfected their local SEO optimization.
You can’t ignore local business directories such as Yelp, Yell, Google My Business etc as they can help you display customer ratings, business information etc.
Here are some local search ranking factors that you can’t ignore.
- Google Assistant returns the longest answers at 41 words
- Businesses can implement local SEO techniques when optimizing for Google Assistant
- You can get better rankings in Apple’s Siri by generating high Yelp rating and positive customer reviews
Here are a few amazing tips to improve your local SEO for voice searches.
- Create a Google My Business (GMB) account as it’s a must for anyone who wants to put their business in Google search. Make sure to provide correct business information like Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP).
- Get listed on the online local business directories such as Yelp, Google My Business, Yellow Book, Apple Maps and more and try to get as many customer reviews as possible to stay ahead of your competitors.
- Optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content. Whether you’re running a normal website or local business website, they are essential to boost your search rankings.
Above all, make sure to implement these essential local SEO tips to get #1 rankings on Google.
How to Optimize for Voice Search in 2021: A Quick Checklist
Here’s a quick checklist that helps you easily optimize your website for voice search.
- Use natural language with direct answers to provide answers to users’ questions
- Make sure to use schema markup and rich snippets to optimize for voice searches
- Make sure your content is properly optimized and remove all the duplicate contents from your website (including duplicate title tags, meta description, and more)
- Domain authority (DA) can play a big role. So try to build as many links as possible to improve your website’s voice search results.
- Use long-tail keywords
- Target question-based keywords as they often help you appear in the featured snippets. Use tools like Answer The Public or Quora to find relevant questions in your niche.
FAQs | Voice Search SEO
Here are some of the frequently asked questions around voice search optimization.
Voice search is a speech recognition technology that allows users to search by saying terms aloud rather than typing them into a search field.
Nearly 50% of all searches use voice for web search and the number is only growing. According to Google, 27% of the online global population is using voice search on their smartphones.
If you want to rank for voice searches, you need to optimize for featured snippets. Also, target long-tail keywords to rank for voice searches. Make sure to provide correct information and use question-based keyword terms whenever possible.
Here are some of the amazing tools you can use to improve your voice search SEO.
– Semrush (#1 SEO toolkit used by 6+ million people)
– Answer The Public (to find lots of question-based keywords)
– Ubersuggest (freemium tool)
– Google Search Console
According to the PWC report, 71% of the search users would rather use their voice assistant to search for something than physically typing their queries. So it’s quite evident that voice searches are rapidly increasing.
This is the RIGHT time for you to create a voice search SEO strategy for your website or business if you want to get more conversions and search traffic.
So what are your thoughts on voice search optimisation? Are you already optimizing your website for voice search? Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments.