What Every Web Developer Needs to Know About Voice Search Optimization

Just when you got used to new algorithms and mobile-first indexing, there’s a new trend to incorporate into your design.

Voice search optimization will alter your SEO priorities and place additional weight on search semantics. That means reconsidering how people use search and applying it to your content.


Why Optimize Differently for Voice Search?

We’re all juggling busy lives and trying to multitask effectively. In fact, a PWC survey found that 71 percent of respondents would rather tell their search assistant what they need than put down their work and type it out.

Ninety percent of those surveyed have heard of voice-assisted tech, and nearly 3/4 of them have used it at least once.

They’re also accessing this feature from a range of devices.

Although most use their voice assistant for all of their online activities, the majority would prefer this mechanism to make search more precise and efficient.

What does this mean for SEO?

Way back in 2013, Google introduced the Hummingbird algorithm. This meant that developers and content creators had to alter their approach to SEO to match to transition toward contextualized search indexing.

Voice-powered search relies on a technology known as natural language processing (NLP) that recognizes and evaluates the texture, context, and behavior of human speech and applies it to a range of activities.

Using machine learning, Google and other search interfaces eventually learn to recognize speech patterns, accents, and other qualities, zeroes in on the semantics, and recalibrates focus to consider the contextual relevance of these factors and apply them to search queries.

Once the algorithm can contextualize one element of search, such as a person or broad topic, it can refine the results in subsequent searches without referring back to the original term.

For example, a user might ask their Google assistant to find a good restaurant nearby, which will probably return quite a list. This can become further segmented by adding a voice query like “I meant vegan bistros”, and so on until you get a more specific result.

Since voice queries are more conversational, tailoring your keywords to this reality is essential to traffic generation.

Besides boosting search rankings, learning the ins and out of voice-activated search provides guidance to address localization and allows you to adapt the language settings accordingly.

Best Practices for Voice Search SEO

People talk more fluidly and faster than they type, typically using phrases and questions rather than one or two words. Optimizing for voice-activated search will help better serve your clients and provide a more focused UX.

Voice-activated search, AI, and other innovations will soon become the standard. Here are some best practices to get you into the groove of developing or marketing for voice SEO.


Do Your Research

You’re probably already on top of changes in algorithms and consumer search trends. All you need to do now is alter the way you research your keywords to favor the realities of voice-activated searches.

To do this, you can sit down and brainstorm every question/phrase related to a popular keyword in your category. Then, you can weave these phrases or questions into your content or metadata. There are also automated tools that will do this for you.


Optimize for Local SEO

Most voice search is conducted by mobile users looking for a local business. Making sure that your local SEO game is on-point will take care of some components of voice SEO as a consequence.

  • Make sure that all of your online business profiles are complete, accurate, and up-to-date
  • Claim your Google MY Business and Yelp listing
  • Set up and connect all of your social platforms
  • Optimize each page of your website with long-tail, location-based keyword phrases, and meta tags


Add an FAQ to Your Website

Since many voice searches originate with a question, adding an FAQ section to your website will allow you to naturally introduced common, business-specific queries. When a user asks their voice assistant to find {Your service} near me, your website will rank higher.


Match Long-Tail Keywords or Queries to the Buyer’s Journey

Smart marketers already know that creating content to complement the buyer’s journey will cause higher conversion rates. The way to achieve this for voice SEO is to match your query terms to each stage.

There are four main stages of any buyer’s quest for a new product or service, awareness, interest, evaluation, and purchase. Try to divide your questions and assign them to the stage where they’ll gain the most traction.


Use Schema Markups

If this isn’t something you’re already including in your marketing or site building, start now, today. Schema markups, also sometimes referred to as “rich snippets”, allow you to alert web crawlers to specific content on your website for more meaningful indexing.

They’re like little HTML-coded breadcrumbs you leave for search engine spiders to follow.

For example, they can be portions of reviews or testimonials, news blurbs, or on-site video.

Any kind of structured data that provides context and highlights the relevance of the content to the searcher’s query will work. If you’re unsure how to go about it.

WordPress has plugins that will make it easy. Non-WP developers and site owners can use this tool.


Final Thoughts

Why wait to be overtaken by the emerging tech? Whether you’re a new developer or just need to upgrade your skills, start with preparing for an era of voice search.