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How to optimise for voice search

Learn how to better optimise for devices capable of voice search.

Optimise for voice search

Since SEO changes so often, voice search for Siri and Cortana has also changed, and is becoming increasingly popular. This is why all of the SEO experts that come up tactics must stay current with voice search optimisation also!

Voice search devices

Users have used voice search for quite some time using their smartphones to get fast answers since it is easier and faster than writing a query. Voice search engine optimisation is used on these devices and more:

  • Android Phones
  • Microsoft/Cortana
  • Google Home
  • Tablets
  • iPhone/Siri
  • Amazon Echo/Alexa

All of the devices have their own voice search optimisation, so that is why it is critical that each professional SEO expert and web developer create the best content and correctly optimise each web page on a website.

Tips for how to optimise voice search using content and keywords

What strategy is the best for optimising voice search?

Since a majority of voice searches have over 5 words that are spoken as if a real individual was speaking, whenever an SEO expert optimises content for voice search, it is recommended to use strings or phrases that would be spoken by a real person like they were asking a real question and the question or answer that an SEO is attempting to optimise for should be put in web page's first sentence. So the best thing to do is look for keywords/search terms that involve a question and then try to write content that answers these queries.

The following are some useful tools for finding questions that people commonly ask from specific keyword/search terms:

  • Answer the Public
  • Blog Search Engine
  • Storybase
  • HubSpot Blog Topic Generator

The best practice is getting a Q&A document created that has all of the potential questions that customers might ask, and then writing the questions and content for answering the specific question.

Google rich snippets

Google rich snippets or Google answer box

Instant Answer, or the answer box, is a featured snippet. It appears at the top part of the Google search page, and the prestigious spot is also called 'position zero' since these rich snippets appear on top of all of the search results, including the ads! Some featured snippet boxes appear in image, list, chart, or paragraph form. If you would like to have the chance to appear in a rich snippet, you are advised to otpimise your pages for voice search.

The Google knowledge Graph powers the Answer Box and it determines what the "intent" is of the searcher's query. The answer boes are above all of the other SERPs listings and if you are able to get some of your pages appearing in the Answer Box for voice/keywords, it will automatically boost your brand's credibility.

What is your main goal? To get your page optimised properly for voice search to give them a better chance of being displayed in "position zero."

Tips: Although local searches are not displayed in Google's Answer Box, they will and you need to be prepared for when the local voice search is released. Make sure your business is added to Google my Business and then add their schema code so that Google can learn more about your company.

Pay close attention to the Answer Boxes (pages/sites) that are appearing currently for the keywords you are attempting to target and then "re-engineer what each website is doing in order to get the zero spot. Research featured snippets for all of the queries you are targeting and format your content so that it competes and matches the zero spot holder that is there currently.

What can you do differently or add in order to take that spot over Or simply look at why kind of Answer Box results are appearing for the phrases you would like to rank for (images, charts, bulleted list, paragraph).

If you are ranking on the Google search results' first page, and the Answer Box that is being displayed isn't the best, then your content should be reformed to properly optimise for the question. Tat could have you jumping to rank zero.

local search voice search

So whenever you see a snippet that is weak, evaluate the code the website is using and make yours into the format the Google really likes to see. That can increase the chances of your pages showing up. For each of the search phrases you are attempting to rank for, research the current featured snippets and format your content in a similar or better way.

Different search queries display different types of snippets. For example, "how to boil an egg" probably will be a list snippet. However, it will probably be a paragraph snippet for the query "how do tornadoes form?"

You want to ensure you match different snippets - so you should match the table format or paragraph the list for answers that your content provides. That might mean adding a keyword question into your web page's title or it may be a caption in a tag, header, alt tag, image, etc.

More tips for voice search SEO

Voice search is a lot more natural and conversational in tone compared to the search keyword phrases types into a computer.

The following are some more keyword and general content tips:

  • Get together with your entire team to brainstorm keyword phrases (customer support individual are the best since they answer questions every day that customers ask.)
  • Add extra Q&A pages to your website
  • Speak the way real people do
  • Target long-tail keywords
  • Use H1 tags with your keywords
  • Write content with local intent if you are a local business attempting to obtain local customers
  • Use schema
  • Add more pages on specific or individual topics
  • Think of questions that are asked by people about your services and products - and then create content that answers these questions
  • Answers to these questions should be on top of your page - Ideally within the first sentence
  • Typically voice search is mobile and frequently locally focused
  • Since voice search queries are more conversation, usually they are also longer than most keyword search queries
  • Claim your Google my Business listing and optimise it while considering voice search
  • Use trigger words. Over 20% of featured snippets get triggered by 25 top words, with the most frequently used being Best, What, and How.

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