How marketers can stay one step ahead of the voice search trend: A guide
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard or seen somewhere that half of all searches this year will be conducted through voice-enabled devices, like Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. But did you know that:
- 30% of these searches will be done without a screen?
- Voice search queries include three to five keywords and are longer than text-based searches?
- 20% of UK consumers use voice search devices multiple times a day?
Clearly, voice search is no longer just another search option to keep in mind. And unfortunately, many old SEO and marketing strategies simply won’t work here.
Statistics such as these show just how important it is for companies to adjust their SEO and marketing to keep up with this noteworthy trend. After all, you could potentially miss out on a major percentage of organic traffic by failing to optimise your content for voice queries!
So, how can marketers get ahead of their competitors with this trend and keep their links at the top of the SERPs for voice search?
Dive deep into intent research
In 2019, Google announced that they were releasing the BERT algorithm which featured highly advanced machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) technology to provide users with more relevant results.
BERT is designed to understand the intent of a search by analysing entire phrases, as opposed to looking at things word by word.
Therefore, your keyword research strategies need to be focused far more on intent than ever before – especially when it comes to related long-tail phrases. Your content needs to be based around longer phrases - rather than specific keywords.
Why, you ask? Well, because the majority of voice searches are phrased as questions.
According to BrightLocal’s report, the most common trigger words for voice search queries are “how” and “what”, along with “where”, “when”, and “why.”
Since BERT analyses searches based on context clues provided by all of the words within a phrase, it is important that your content provides a clear solution to their intent.
So, if you run a food blog, you may want to target more searches like “How do I make pizza dough with gluten free flour?” rather than just “gluten free pizza dough” if you want to qualify as a top ranker.
Optimise for position zero
According to Moz, 85% of voice-search results are pulled directly from position zero - also known as featured snippets.
This is for quite an obvious reason: voice search devices can only provide one answer. For example, Google Home and Alexa will repeat the top result for a query word-for-word for a clear, concise answer.
Creating content with bite-sized bits optimised for position zero is a great way for online businesses to rank for organic searches.
The best way to do this is to organise your content into paragraphs that address specific topics or questions. That way, when a customer asks their voice-enabled device a question, Google’s algorithm can quickly pull out an answer from your content.
Make sure voice-optimised search still converts
While voice search is incredibly popular, it may not necessarily be growing your converting traffic. After all, the majority of searchers are looking for a quick answer or a bit of information - rather than searching for a specific product or service.
While there is currently not much research on how voice search affects conversions or CTRs, we do know that, unfortunately, many rich snippet links do not drive in a lot of traffic. Featured snippet links receive less than half the number of clicks that a top-ranking search result does.
Again, this is likely due to the fact that featured snippets provide a quick answer and give the user little reason to check out the actual page. So, in addition to creating content for featured snippets for voice search, you should also be focusing on enticing users to learn more.
Let’s revisit the food blog site recipe for gluten-free pizza dough again.
In order to qualify for a featured snippet, you will probably want to create a list of ingredients (listed in H2 tags) required for the recipe, as this is often shown in the zero position. Now, people will need the full recipe and instructions on your website. So, this will hopefully entice searchers to click on the result and visit your page.
To go a step further, you could place a video of you actually making the dough on the page!
Voice search is rattling up the way that SEO strategists and marketing teams are creating content in the upcoming year. It is quite apparent that this trend is here to stay – and you need to be ready to adjust in order to maintain high visibility on the SERPs.
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