There was once a time when voice search was firmly in the domain of science fiction. You’d see space ship captains or superheroes search by asking the computer, usually an AI, a question. However, that future is now a reality. More and more searches are voice-based searches every day.
Google Voice Search has been around since 2012 and has been increasing in popularity ever since. Mobile devices have their own built-in voice search as well, including Cortana and Siri. Then came Amazon Alexa and Google Home and the other dedicated voice search virtual assistants.
Ever since 2017, voice search has been one of the top trends in SEO. It’s therefore essential for SEO marketers to take voice search into account when planning any SEO strategy. In particular, keywords are affected by the new voice search trend. So what do we need to do to optimize for voice search?
Modern Artificial Intelligence
Imagine artificial intelligence in science fiction. When people interact with it, whether it’s a computer or a robot, it’s always via voice. For the most part, people speak to these AIs exactly as they would a person. The format of any query is conversational.
People don’t usually search for single-word keywords when they search for something using voice search. They ask a question. Keywords should, therefore, be designed to respond to this type of search.
Answer a Question
Say you run a pizza restaurant in Winter Springs, Florida. The keywords that you’d want to rank for would probably be pizza, Winter Springs pizza, best pizza restaurant or something similar. But if people are looking for pizza using voice search, they’re not searching for pizza. They’re asking “What’s the best pizza in Winter Springs?” or “Where can I get pizza in Winter Springs?”
Your keyword strategy should seek to answer questions that your customers are most likely going to be asking.
Long-tail keywords are going to be an important part of your SEO strategy. These are key phrases that are generally three or four words or longer and has a head keyword. A head keyword is a short general keyword (like “pizza”) that the long-tail keyword is based around.
The advantage of long-tail keywords is that they more accurately represent how people actually talk. They can answer a question or mirror a question that users are actually asking. Single keywords are nice and easy for typing on a computer but longer key phrases are necessary to respond to users’ voice searches.
Long-tail keywords have the added benefit of being easier to rank for. You’re competing only with other pizza restaurants in Winter Springs for “best pizza in Winter Springs” instead of competing with the entire world for “pizza.”
Optimizing for Voice Search
Answer the Public is a great resource for key phrase inspiration. If you enter a short keyword into its search bar, it’ll provide you with a chart filled with questions that users ask about that particular word. You can look through their list to find the questions that you think your users might want to know the answer to. Then, you can use Google Analytics to see what has the best results.