Top 4 Essential Tips to Optimize Voice Search

Ever wanted to talk like a search engine? In 2017 and beyond, not only can you talk like a search engine — you also need to if you want more of the right customers to find your website.

According to Location World, 40% of us use voice search at least once per day. That number is only expected to increase as voice search changes the way we do SEO. It’s easier, quicker — and fun. I personally use it and can see myself using it more as Google becomes more human.

Voice Search Optimization

Unless you get on board with this and meet the needs of your prospective customers, your website won’t be seen by predominantly mobile users who are using conversational language to get the results they want.

Voice search is an essential you need to learn as you seek to stay visible and relevant on Google. I’m going to show you exactly how to talk like a search engine, but it comes with a disclaimer: Before you know it, you might find yourself talking to your partner like a search engine.

If you can handle that, let’s make a start.

Write like a human

Ever written dialogue for a script? If you consider yourself to be good at writing dialogue, it should be pretty easy for you to pick phrases that humans are searching for with their voices.

If you’ve never written dialogue before, now is the time to get good at it.

A good dialogue writer pays careful attention to the way a human talks — the phrases and cadences they use.

When we speak into our devices to search for info on Google, we talk like we would if we were having a normal, everyday conversation with our friend. As opposed to talk like we’re typing dry keyword phrases into Google.

In other words, you need to loosen up and second guess what words a human would use when searching for your content via voice search. You need to humanize your content.

It might take you a while to get this exactly right, but here are some examples based around the keyword “New York”:

  • Prices for hotels this weekend in New York
  • Best places for vegetarians to eat in New York
  • What shows are on this weekend in New York

Choose keyword structures that mimic natural human speech as much as possible.

Employ question phrases

Voice Search SEO

People like to ask Google questions. In fact, question phrases have grown by over 60% year on year. Now that we’re talking into our devices, we’re going to ask even more questions.

This means that you need to think of the questions people will be asking that are related to your business, product, or niche. When thinking up question phrases, consider How, What, Where, and Why.

For example:

  • How can I lose weight?
  • What is a good diet plan for someone with stubborn belly fat?
  • Where is the nearest gym?
  • Why do so many people fail with their diet?

Remember to use long-tail keywords as much as possible, and put yourself in the shoes of the customer. What sort of questions would you ask if you wanted some information on your business, product, or niche? What problem might you have, and how would you phrase it if you were talking into your phone?

It’s all semantics

Let’s say there are two different people who want the exact same information about your niche. However, they’re both going to ask a different question to get the same info. They might want to both learn how much it costs to lease an Audi TT Coupe, but they perform a different search.

User 1 speaks into their device like this:

How much does it cost to lease an Audi TT Coupe

User 2 speaks into their device like this:

What are the best lease deals for an Audi TT Coupe

Essentially, their aim is the same — to get a great lease deal. Who doesn’t want that? However, User 1 omitted “best deals.” As such, their search results might be different from User 2’s.

The consequence for you? One user might find your site, but the other might not.

This is semantics. People are trying to find the same answers, but are wording their questions differently. This is likely to get worse with voice search. The good news is that Google uses Latent Semantic Indexing to gauge the underlying intent of an Internet user.

In other words, Google will do its best to uncover the “Why” behind a search so that they can better pair it up with the right content. What you need to do is create content that addresses your customers’ concerns as comprehensively as possible, covering the right basis and answering their questions with valuable content.

The more relevant and valuable your content is, the better it can rank.

Make sure your site is mobile ready

If you’ve been delaying making your site mobile friendly all this time, now is the moment you should get round to completing this particular task.

Mobile web browsing overtook desktop for the first time in 2016. Couple that with the fact that a quarter of 16 to 25-year-olds carry out voice searches on their phones, 40% of smartphone users started using voice search on their mobile as early as 2015, and that 67% of users on mobile leave an unoptimized site. There is no argument to be made for not making your site mobile ready.

Google has an awesome Mobile-Friendly Test tool that lets you gauge how mobile friendly your site is, but the most important things to focus on are:

  • Site speed — mobile users are in a hurry and won’t wait for a slow site to load
  • Responsive design — if your site looks a mess, your bounce rate will take a hit
  • Content layout — use short paragraphs, bullet points, and lots of white space to make your content look presentable

Talking like a search engine, then, is actually not that difficult. It’s just a case of second-guessing what people are saying into their phones when they want the info you’ve got. Keep experimenting, and you’ll get there.

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About the Author

Aljaz Fajmut Aljaz Fajmut is an internet entrepreneur and founder of Nightwatch — a search visibility tool of the next generation.
Follow him on Twitter: @aljazfajmut

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