How to Optimize for Voice Search – 3 Things To Do Right Now

There’s no question that voice search is a huge opportunity to get people to discover your site. But if you don’t act now, it could turn into a missed opportunity.

What used to be a “future trend” is now solidly here and relevant for 2020. 55% of teens and 41% of adults make at least one voice search per day. Fully 20% of all searches on Google are now voice searches.

And guess what? It’s not all on mobile phones. There’s also Amazon Alexa, which has sold over 200 million devices and has hundreds of millions of interactions weekly.

The thing is, websites are all text. How do Google, Alexa, or Siri choose what result to give the user?

Ultimately, there are 3 things you can do right now that will help you compete in this new paradigm and get discovered through voice search.


1. Optimize your content to answer questions the way people speak.

Give direct answers to real questions. Make sure you understand the intention behind the question, and take into account all the context involved. That way, you’ll give the best, most direct answer. This is where your FAQ page can come in handy. If your questions are phrased the way real people speak, and your answers are actually useful, you’re giving yourself a good chance of appearing on voice search results.

When crafting your answers, be sure to keep it relatively short and to the point. The average voice search answer is 29 words long.

Ultimately, it does help to rank in Google search already. In fact, 40% of voice search results come from the “snippet” that Google gives up at the top of search results.


2. Research what questions people are asking with voice

People searching with voice tend to ask their questions in natural language instead of using the abbreviated phrases more common from keyboards. So when you’re optimizing for voice search, you can get a competitive edge by using natural-sounding keyword phrases. Make it conversational. Use the full phrase, like “where is the best restaurant near me” instead of focusing on “best restaurant nearby” or similar more robotic-sounding combinations. This way, when someone asks a question with exactly those words, you’ll be among the first to come up.

One of the biggest opportunities in voice search is local search—“… near me” searches have increased by over 150%.

To succeed in voice SEO, you don’t have to beat out the best SEO strategists in the world. You might just have to beat out the people in your local area. That’s a lot easier!

Plus, this allows you to focus on so-called “long tail keywords”. Long tail keywords are those which may not be the most common, but because they don’t get as much traffic, they have less competition and are easier to dominate. For example, it will be hard to rank for the search phrase, “travel ideas Paris.” Instead, try to rank for the phrase “what are the cafes with the best view in Paris?” This way, when someone asks that specific question, you’ll be the first to come up. It might be a lower-volume search term, but you’ll win all the traffic from people searching for it. Do this with a few dozen long tail keywords and you will be sure to come out on top.


3. Create a voice presence on the platforms that matter

If your site ranks on Google search, then it is automatically gets pulled into searches that happen on Google Assistant, Siri, etc. But if you create a voice app for Amazon Alexa, the leading smart speaker assistant in the US, you can give yourself an unbeatable lead on voice searches that happen on Alexa. And Alexa is fielding hundreds of millions of queries every week from over 80 million households.

When a user asks a question, Alexa’s search algorithm first checks the list of published Alexa skills, and if she doesn’t find anything good there, she will default to search Google.

You want to be in the list Alexa searches first. One good way to get presented to people by Alexa is to create an Alexa skill that answers their question directly, and provides a satisfying answer.

You can create an Alexa skill in under 5 minutes with Shoutworks using your existing website content, no tech skills needed. All you need is the Shoutworks WordPress plugin, and you can give yourself a head start in voice search on this leading platform. Click here to try Shoutworks free.

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