SEO Strategy – Voice Search and its Impact in 2021  

How many times have you said ‘Hey, Google?’ today? Well, you’d not be the only one! Voice search is on the rise, and we’re not just directing our questions at smart speakers but at our mobiles, too. And with this being the case, not being optimized for voice search in future is likely to have an impact on your ranking! Read on to discover more about voice search and how your keyword decisions could make all the difference. 

Take it as it is; numbers do the talking. Almost one-third (27%) of the online users globally use mobile voice search. Those numbers have apparently just hit puberty as they’re bound to double in the next few years. 

Why is that? Is it more practical, convenient, or just trendy?     

Although it doesn’t exactly make us look like Tony Stark commanding his trusty AI Jarvis, voice search is gaining popularity as it is easy to use, fast, and conversational compared to conventional typing.     

What is Voice Search?     

The usual pitch would be – it is the future, but let us stick to more informative points. 

Voice search is a voice recognition technology that allows users to perform searches by speaking directly to their supported devices. These range from smartphones and computers to home assistant devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and more.     

All in all, Google voice searches have skyrocketed over the last couple of years, so incorporating voice search into your digital marketing strategy is a must. 

Whether you work with a website design company or you’re building your website yourself, from the ground up, make sure you optimize it for voice search.     

Website Voice Search Optimization in 2021

The question isn’t whether you should, but when to optimize your website for voice search. The answer is short. NOW, while you can still join the trailblazers leading the 2021 charge. 

Voice search is due to transform the future of eCommerce, with voice shopping projected to reach $40 billion in 2022. 

What are the main benefits of optimizing your website for voice search?    

  • Higher rankings: Voice search results tend to rank in the top 3 positions on search engine results pages (SERPs). Optimizing your content for voice searches attracts more visitors.    
  • Higher revenue: More visitors mean more conversions, and more conversions equal more revenue. It’s simple math.     
  • Higher authority: When you start ranking for voice searches and increase your audience, you boost your website’s authority.    

However, to make it work as planned, you need optimized content and voice search SEO. As always, keywords are the key.   

Voice search SEO requires:   

  • Question-based keywords: Form queries into question phrases and provide concise answers to said questions   
  • Long-tail keywords: Think about user intent and focus on action queries 
  • Conversational content: Use natural-sounding language 

Question-Based Keywords   

When users talk with a smart device and ask questions, they usually ask the whole question instead of using a set of keywords. 

We begin by using words such as “who,” “why,” “where,” “what,” and “how,” so make your content revolve around interrogatory statements.   

Remember, voice search will give you ONE answer instead of showing you the full page of search results, so you’ll have to conduct research to point to your target audience properly.   

It goes both ways, as by paying attention to which questions your prospective customers tend to ask, you can adjust accordingly and optimize your content with the right question-based keywords to your advantage.   

The best way to find those keywords is to use Google’s “Searches related to [insert your keyword here]” suggestions.   

Long-Tail Keywords 

Use the same logic when implementing long-tail keywords. Most voice search users are transitioning to long-tail keyword searches because natural language searches are often longer and too specific. 

Why do eCommerce giants like Amazon use long-tail keywords? 

  • They provide high conversion rates as long-tail SEO accounts for 70% of total online searches. 
  • They are easier to rank for because of lack of competition. 
  • People use long-tail keywords when performing voice queries.

Conversational Content 

Most users interact with their smart speaker/virtual assistant as they would with a human being. Spoken queries generally aren’t as concise as the searches we normally type. 

The most prudent way to optimize your content for voice searches is rather intuitive – write as you talk. Don’t use jargon or overcomplicated words and avoid the often sterile, corporate tone. 

Your content should be simple, on point, tell a compelling story and, most importantly, offer solutions to your users’ needs.   

Leverage Your Google My Business Page

We can safely assume that most users wrap up their voice search queries with the words “near me.” The main factor that determines whether we rank for those searches is the Google My Business listing. 

It’s one of the easiest ways to get noticed by your target audience, but you need to make sure your content and the overall information are complete and on point. 

You need to let Google know where your business is located when someone asks to display similar businesses in your area. Include your name, address, and phone number (NAP) in the listing and choose the right business category and area code. 

Additionally, you can try to rank for those “near me” queries by targeting local keywords that contain location-specific phrases that generate results related to the same geographic location. 

Voice Search Mobile Friendliness

Voice search is more mobile than ever before. Google’s voice search is continuously expanding its language capabilities. At this moment, it is available in more than 100 languages on mobile devices.   

When it comes to practical use, 56% of all voice searches originate from smartphones. Not to mention that Google’s new mobile-first index bases rankings on the site’s mobile.   

As Google notes, mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. 

In other words, only the mobile responsive websites are getting a shot at the first-page rankings in mobile searches as they are faster, and they drastically improve user experience (UX).   

If your website content is optimized for mobile use, your business will likely be among the first smart assistant and voice search suggestions.   

Page Load Speed

Page load speed is one of the crucial ranking factors whether you’re optimizing voice search SEO or otherwise. However, entangled with more complicated aspects of SEO, many forget about the basics. 

No one likes slow loading websites, not to mention that Google hates them the most. Generally, if your website takes more than three seconds to load, “Houston, we have a problem.” 

The same goes with voice search SEO. It’s simple; rank higher by improving your website speed and performance. 

Smart Speakers – Driving Force of Voice Search

It wasn’t long ago when we marveled at Alexa’s capabilities. Nowadays, smart speakers are becoming a common household item. 

In fact, smart speakers’ usage is estimated to grow exponentially, as more than half (55%) US households are expected to own a smart speaker in 2022.   

Luckily, we’re far from the potential Skynet (Terminator) scenario, but the remarkable technology push in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning changed how we interact with smart devices. 

As a result, more and more tech companies are releasing their own smart speakers, sculpting the future of internet search. 

For example, Google’s RankBrain, a component of Google’s core algorithm, can recognize words and phrases to predict results more accurately. When it encounters a new query, it can choose the best related results and give answers accordingly. 

Conclusion

Let’s go back to our original question(s)? What did we learn? Is voice search more practical, convenient, or just trendy? 

All of the above. Voice search is faster, easier and straightforward. With each passing year, voice search is on the rise. Its effect on consumer behavior is so vast that it’s immeasurable, and digital marketers must be prepared for its impact to meet user expectations. 

Tech giants that are leading this shift have already optimized for voice search, so it’s time to set your sails and follow them closely while the winds are favorable. 

 


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