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How to optimise for voice search

Learn how to better optimise for voice search.

Optimise Google voice search

As seo changes frequently voice search for Cortana and Siri has changed as well and it is becoming more popular that's why all the SEO professional that build tactics need to stay up to date with the voice search optimisation as well!

Devices for voice search

Users have been using voice search for a long time now from their smartphones to get quick answers because is much faster and easier than write a query. Below are some devices that uses voice search:

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

As all of these devices have a different voice search optimisation it is very important that every professional web developer and SEO create the right content and optimise rightly every web page of a website.

Tips for optimising voice search with keywords and content

What is the best strategy to optimise a voice search?

As most voice searches have more than 5 words which are spoken like if a real person is talking, when an SEO expert is optimising the content forvoice search is advisable to use phrases or strings that a real person would say as if they are asking a real question and the asnwer or question that an SEO is tryng to optimise should be placed in the first sentence of the web page. So the right thing to do is look for search terms/ keywords that involve a question and trying to write the content that anwer those queries.

Below are some useful tools to find out questions that people usually ask from a particular keyword/search term:

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

The best practice to start is to create a Q&A document with all the possible questions that customers could ask, then write the question and the content to answer that particular question.

Google rich snippets

Google answer box or rich snippets

The answer box, also defined as Instant Answer, is a featured snippet that appears at the top of Google search, this prestigious spot is also referred as 'position zero' as these rich snippets show up above all the search results, ads included! Some of the featured snippet boxes appear as paragraph, charts, list, images. If you want to have a chance to appear as a rich snippet it is adviceable that you optimise your page for voice search.

Google's Answer Box is powered by Google's Knowledge Graph and it determines the "intent" of a searcher's query. Answer boxes appear above all other listings in SERPs and if you can get some of your pages in the Answer Box for keywords/voice, you get automatic big credibility for your brand.

What is your goal? To start getting your pages optimised for voice search so they have a higher chance of showing up in "position zero".

TIPS: Local searches don't show up in Google Answer Box but they will and you should be prepared for when they release the local voice search. Add your business to Google my Business and add the schema code to let Google know more about your business.

Pay attention to the Answer Boxes (and sites/pages) that currently appear for keywords you're trying to target and "re-engineer" what that site is doing to get that zero spot. Research the featured snippet for each query you're going after and format your content to match/compete with the current zero spot holder. What can you add or do differently to take over that spot? Also look at what type of Answer Box results appear for the phrases you're trying to rank for (paragraph, bulleted list, charts or images.)

If you're ranking on the first page of Google search results and the Answer Box that's being displayed isn't the best, reformat your content to correctly optimise for that question and you could jump to rank zero.

local search voice search

So when you see a weak snippet, evaluate the code that site uses and make yours the format that Google really wants to see. That can increase the likelihood of your page showing up. Research the featured snippets for each search phrase you're trying to rank for and format your content the same way - or better.

Different search queries will show you different snippet types. For instance, "how to boil an egg" will probably show a list snippet. But if you ask "How do tornados form?" you'll probably get a paragraph snippet.

You want to make sure that you're matching the different snippets – match the paragraph the list or the table format for the answers you provide. This could mean adding the keyword question in the title of your web page, it could be a caption by an image, an Alt Tag, header tags, etc.

More Voice SEO Tips

Unlike search keyword phrases that you type into your computer, voice search is more conversational and natural in tone.

Here are some more general content and keyword tips:

  • Brainstorm keyword phrases with your whole team. (Customer support people are best because they answer questions from your customers every day.)
  • Add more Q&A pages to your site
  • Talk like people talk
  • Now more than ever target long-tail keywords
  • Be sure to use H1 tags with the keywords
  • If you're a local business trying to get local customers – write with "local intent"
  • Use schema
  • Write more pages on individual/specific topics
  • Think of questions people ask about your products and services – and write content that answers those questions
  • Answers to questions should be at the top of your page – ideally the first sentence
  • Voice search is also typically mobile and often locally focused
  • Because they're more conversational, voice search queries are also usually longer than typical text keyword search queries.
  • Claim and optimise your Google My Business Listing with voice search in mind
  • Use "trigger words" – More than 20% of featured snippets are triggered by these top 25 words (seoClarity)

The most frequently used terms are How, What and Best. This means that you should focus on content that answer questions"

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