Voice Search Queries on the Rise

Optimizing for organic search is a continuous process as user behavior shifts and changes on a daily basis at the micro level, which eventually leads to shifts in strategy overall. These shifts in behavior and the accommodating changes to search engine algorithms and strategy, are happening more and more. The latest change in user behavior shows a perfect example of why SEO is an on-going process, where brands need to consistently evaluate and adjust their strategies accordingly.
Google announced on Thursday, May 19th during its Google I/O keynote that voice queries across a multitude of mobile search assistants and apps (Siri, Cortana, Google Voice Search/Now, Viv, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home) now take up 20% of all mobile queries. This trend is continuing to grow, as we do not expect it to slow down. People are now beginning to trust that technology can understand and even anticipate their needs.
A data survey conducted by MindMeld, a technology company, in December of 2015, revealed how this trend has continued to unfold and grow. By tracking the trust of searchers using their mobile devices and apps, the data has allowed them to better understand the intent of their voice commands.
Outside of queries like “bank near me” or “nearest pizza shop”, it’s important for businesses on the web to understand how to craft their content in a way that leverages these insights and targets more conversational-toned mobile searches.

What is “Conversational Content”?

To break this down simply, think about how normal conversations are conducted. When you talk to a friend or a co-worker you are likely using everyday language and tone. When we speak to others we tend to tell stories. There’s a buildup, a middle, and an end. We use normal, everyday words, and some of us tend to be very expressive. The trick to writing “conversational content” is for it to sound real and not like a robot.When we look at the overall landscape of searches and web pages that rank best for a wide variety of terms, we see that informational-style content ranks the highest on average. These informational searches typically have queries that address the Who, What, Where, Why, and How questions. Examples:
  • What is the difference between a cooktop, a range and a stove?
  • When is the best time to open an IRA?
  • Why is my dishwasher so loud?
  • Where can I buy red marathon running shoes?
  • Who is the closest business executive mentor to me in San Diego?

Best Practices for Optimizing for Voice Search

Below are recommendations for tackling optimization to target voice search queries.

Step 1: Keyword Identification

As with all on-page SEO efforts, it begins with keywords. Keyword research tools, such as the Google Keyword Planner, don’t currently breakout keyword search volume by voice search. You can see trends by device, which gives you insight into how popular a given keyword is in trending. But there are best practices for obtaining mobile-specific keyword queries, more specifically for voice search queries. Some tools to identify the most relevant keywords to optimize for voice search include:
  • Keyword Research Tool: Parse for longer-tailed terms that include the “question” starters. (SEMrush)
  • Social Analytics Tool: Use these types of tools (such as Netabse) to help identify questions users are talking about, which can be relevant to content ideation.
  • AdWords “Broad Match” Report: Check to see if question-type keywords are being broadly matched to current search campaign ad groups.

Step 2: Choosing the Type of Content to Optimize

The easiest content to build that supports “conversational content” include:
  • Blog posts & articles
  • Infographics
  • FAQs sections on the site

Step 3: On-Page Optimization for Voice Search

Once you have a list of keywords that you feel are relevant to voice search (conversational content) queries, optimizing the content for these is the same as optimizing content towards the keyword intent. Best practices to keep in mind:
  • Page titles and Meta descriptions are crafted to be geared towards the search intent of the user
  • Body copy that is well written and highly relevant to the topic of the page
    • Including graphical elements and bulleted lists to help support the copy
  • Use an internal and external linking strategy that uses a variety of anchor text tags to help support the page’s search intent.
Understanding what your target audience is searching for is key to crafting the right content for your pages. But proactively writing content that is targeting voice queries will get you ahead of the game and allow you to maintain your ground as these types of queries continue to increase. Have any specific questions regarding voice search queries? Feel free to contact us.

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