5 ways to optimise content for voice search

Google recently announced its new guidelines that will help you optimise content for voice search.optimise content for voice search

Trust us, there are a few differences between this and your standard SEO practices, so you need to pay attention.

To make things simple, we’ll outline the key ways you can optimise content for voice search and explain why it’s so important. No use in hanging around, let’s jump right in!

Voice search: What’s the fuss about?

At the moment, there are over one billion voice searches per month and 40% of adults now use voice search at least once a day.

Voice search usage is only set to increase in the coming years. comScore estimates that a whopping 50% of all searches will be voice-operated by 2020 … that’s only two years away!

Why is it increasing so quickly? Well, digital assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Cortana and Siri are now pretty commonplace. Everyone wants to try out this new tech!

So, we have to admit it – voice search is a big deal and it’s going to revolutionise the way we write content.

We’re going to have to use a more conversational style and put great emphasis on semantic search. After all, 28% of people believe that voice search is a more accurate way of searching.

We’re not sure the technology is quite there yet, but it’s much faster. People can speak an average of 150 words per minute, whereas they can only type 40.

Content writers should prepare for much longer queries, too. Voice searches tend to be between three and five keywords in length!

They also tend to be presented as a specific question. ‘Who?’ questions are most popular, followed by ‘how?’, ‘when?’ and ‘where?’.

optimise content for voice search

It’s pretty clear that we should all optimise content for voice search, but how do you go about it? Read on to learn more:

How to optimise content for voice search

You can check out Google’s official voice search guidelines here, but these are the key points to address to optimise content for voice search:

1. Think about eyes-free technology

Often, site visitors won’t have the chance to look at a screen. Most voice assistants don’t have one!

This makes it difficult when you use a chart, table or graph to answer questions. Instead, these must be translated into useful speech.

Think about how you’re going to do that on your site now, and it will save you a stack of problems later when voice search adoption hits its peak.

2. Consider information satisfaction

Your audience wants an exact answer to its query. Your content should meet your readers’ information needs and (in some cases) exceed them.

You must answer their questions precisely and efficiently, or your content will be ineffective.

Google will give your content a ‘needs met’ rating. If your content fails to meet the needs of the user, it’ll go straight to the bottom of the voice search rankings.

3. Find the right length

When a displayed answer is too long, users can quickly scan it visually and locate the relevant information. However, this isn’t possible for voice answers. They’ll just read out a whole paragraph that relates to the answer.

To stop this from overwhelming (or irritating) your audience, you need to provide a helpful amount of information. Not too much or too little, like Goldilocks’ porridge it should be ‘just right’.

However, determining what’s ‘just right’ can be tricky. Try to make a statement like the ‘featured snippet’ that appears in Google and you’ll probably be alright.

Eventually, Google’s AI bots and search engines will be able to identify the relevant fragments from a longer paragraph and deliver them via voice search. But for now, the tech isn’t that advanced, so you’ll have to write content that answers questions quickly and concisely. Good luck!

4. Focus on content formulation

It’s relatively easy to work out what a badly written piece of content is trying to say when you look at it on a screen. However, it’s much more difficult to comprehend a spoken sentence that’s grammatically incorrect.

To optimise content for voice search, you must edit it thoroughly and put a new emphasis on grammatical correctness. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to be a grammar stickler!

5. Follow traditional SEO tactics

You may think that because voice search has arrived, you can let the old SEO rules slip. However, that’s really not the case.

If 50% of searches are voice, the other 50% are on screen so your usual SEO ranking rules apply.

Also, there are some suggestions that pages that rank well on screen will have the best shot at reaching the top of the voice search rankings, so it’s worthwhile covering both.

Be sure to try these tips to reach the number one spot:

  • Use a HTTPS or SSL site to boost credibility
  • Make sure your page loads quickly
  • Establish your domain as an authority
  • Promote social sharing

So, there you have it, five steps that will help you optimise content for voice search. Start implementing them now, and you’ll be ready for the voice search rush in 2020!

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