The Most Important Voice Search Strategies for 2017

“How long does a cow live?” “How many miles is the longest road?” According to reports by ComScore, by 2020 at least half of online searches will be conducted through voice query. It is undeniable that voice is the future of search.

The exponential growth in voice search could be attributed to several factors. For starters, voice recognition is becoming more accurate and so are the results. A KPCB report showed that voice recognition accuracy has increased by 92%. Additionally, due to the improved accuracy, consumers are finding it easier to search using voice queries than typing out questions.

As the popularity of virtual personal assistants grows alongside increased smartphone penetration, it is inevitable that voice will change the way people search and will have significant implications for SEO.

Below are essential strategies to optimise your business for voice search in 2017:

BUILD CONTENT USING LONG TAIL KEYWORDS 

To  make the most of voice search and make your content more visible and relevant,  it is important to consider the type of questions people who may interested in your product may ask and how they may ask these questions.

While your content should address the needs of the searcher who types questions and the one who uses voice query, you must consider that these two types of searchers are distinctively different.  Searchers who type queries may be looking to undertake extensive research while those who use voice search may be looking for quick and immediate answers.

With this in mind, content built using long tail keywords to appeal to both types of searchers will win. Unlike short tail keywords, long tail keywords are more natural phrases used in voice queries. In other words, the use of long tail keywords makes content more conversational and becomes more relevant to your target audience.

Incorporating natural language into content is gradually becoming a mainstream SEO requirement for ranking and greater visibility in the search engines.

ZOOM INTO THE LOCAL MARKET   

A great number of people using search regularly query about local businesses. The growth in local voice search queries demands that businesses optimise for local search to increase brand awareness and foot traffic.

Making it easy for search bots to crawl and index your website is an essential localisation strategy that provides your content with much-needed visibility in the search engines in response to voice queries.

Adding pieces of code including rich snippets, schema and micro data also helps to provide additional information about your business thereby boosting the relevancy of your content in response to voice searchers. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper is an excellent guide to adding a HTML markup in your site.

Other optimisation strategies for local search include claiming your business and accurately listing it on online directories including Google My Business and Bing Places for Business by including accurate and up to date contact and location information.

MOBILE FRIENDLY CONTENT IS A MUST-HAVE 

Voice search is almost entirely conducted via mobile devices. This makes it necessary to optimise your content ready for mobile to attract, engage and retain prospects and customers alike.

Research by HubSpot found that websites and content that is poorly optimised for mobile have a higher bounce rate, meaning your site is attracting suboptimal engagement and conversion. Your mobile optimisation strategy should place voice search front, back and centre.

In addition to building a responsive website, your mobile optimisation efforts should also focus on ensuring that your site loads fast. Consumers using voice search are typically on the move and requiring quick answers. Google’s PageSpeed Insights provides up to date insights into improving the speed of your mobile site. Another apt tool to use is the Mobile Friendly Test by Google, which lets you see if your site adheres to Google’s mobile algorithm updates.

Lastly, in the spirit of providing an optimum user experience, when creating content, it is important to consider how mobile owners use their devices. Simple and easy to read content with upfront solutions to customers’ queries receive the least bounce rate and instead record higher conversions.

LEVERAGE THE OPPORTUNITIES IN ANALYTICS 

In spite of the imminent rise in voice search, accessing reliable metrics and analytics with which to build a solid strategy is still not easy. However, some marketers are using paid search to assess impressions and to determine the queries that are conducted via mobile.

Presently, there is no mechanism for determining which queries are specifically voice searches. However, by filtering the mobile queries one may be able to extrapolate which of these mobile queries were primarily voice searches based on the phrasing of the queries. By using paid search in this way, a marketer would be able to create broad match modifiers so that an ad appears on search results when a searcher uses specific words in a query. Use of analytics will prove to be incredibly important in the formulation of a voice search strategy that truly delivers results in terms of eyeballs, engagement and conversion.

Traditional SEO is here to stay but as mobile penetration increases and voice technology continues to improve, voice search will significantly change the face of SEO. What this means for marketers is that  content will need to be optimised  for natural language searches to be able to provide users with  information fast, in a great format for the user and whenever they need it.

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