Smartphones put the world at your fingertips. People have questions that need to be answered and services or products that they need.
All of these things are just one search away and now we have seen a cosmic shift towards voice search.
Statistically, voice is not something enterprise marketers can ignore because:
Large-scale voice optimization is what every business should be doing. For enterprises, the challenge is scale due to the wealth of content assets they control.
In this column, we’ll look at specific tactics and optimizations that will support your voice strategy, including schema markup, keyword research, site speed, FAQs, Google actions, and more.
Here’s how to start optimizing for voice searches, with a focus on businesses.
Voice Optimization 101
Create content and voice search guidelines
Marketing teams should sit down with the content team or send out guidelines emphasizing the importance of voice search optimization, incorporating these keywords and protocols to ensure optimization.
Companies should already have SEO governance in place.
However, you will need to review your existing governance and protocols for voice search. In fact, you want to add entire sections that focus primarily on vocals.
Content creators and teams are bound to make mistakes.
It is up to your protocols to detect content issues by performing thorough content checks.
Analyze content before publishing should already be part of your processes.
If not, you can add:
- Thorough review of content before publishing.
- Optimization analysis.
- Compare content to searched keywords and questions.
Guidelines are a key part of every aspect of business marketing, as team members can come and go very often.
Redefine your keyword research to incorporate long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords often have lower search volumes and are lower priority for businesses targeting high-value, high-traffic keywords. However, voice search is natural and longer than one- or two-word phrases.
Your pages should answer questions (just like featured snippets) and should include:
- How to use the XYZ product?
- How much do XYZ products cost?
- How to solve the XYZ problem?
People who use search ask questions and you need to answer them. Redefine your keyword research process to include more long-tail keywords and question keywords.
Create processes and procedures for SEO teams – internal and external – to incorporate the questions into your current content creation process.
Optimize for site speed and mobile experience
Voice searches come mostly from mobile devices and assistants.
Every business should strongly optimize for mobile with:
- Responsive designs.
- Fast site speeds.
Periodically, your team should run Google PageSpeed Insights to find issues that are slowing down your site and to improve load time.
To see 10 Enterprise Page Speed Optimizations and Implementation Tips to learn more.
Optimize for local search to drive business
Local and regional optimizations are huge for businesses that operate locally.
More than 50% of people search for local businesses via voice search.
- Where is the nearest metro near my home?
- What grocery stores are open nearby?
- Where is the nearest pharmacy?
You’ll want to review the business’s Google and other local listings.
Listings should always include business hours, short blurbs and photos.
Comprehensive listings make it easier for people to contact your business or visit it in person.
Terms can include “near me” phrases or they can be specific, such as [car manufacturers in Detroit.]
A crucial tip for business success when optimizing for local is to consider regional or local slang.
Your search teams should understand local slang and dialects that may be used in a search.
For example, [where can I get the best soda in Boston] will change to [where can I get the best pop in Ohio] due to regional slang.
Internal teams should help you create these distinctions before entering new markets to help content creation and search engine optimization teams maximize local voice search potential.
Main schema markup to add content context
Exploiting the schema is crucial in helping search engines make sense of the content of a company’s site. Review and embed schema markup guidelines to help boost voice search.
Here are some tips that can help you master the schema:
- Start using Google Speaking diagram (beta) for sections of your text that work best for Google Assistant and voice search.
- Use analytics to help you understand keywords and phrases customers use.
- Find meaningful snippets in new and old content to add schema.
- Think about your content in a conversational way to enhance context.
Schema markup, when used correctly, can help add context to content on every site and enable greater voice search potential.
Add FAQ sections in key pages
Remember that you need to add questions to your keyword research?
It can be difficult to find ways to add questions to pages without interrupting the natural flow of your content.
How can you overcome this? Frequently Asked Questions.
FAQs can add immense value to your pages and help you start improving your voice search optimization.
One way to start incorporating this is to:
- Perform a full content audit on the site(s).
- Identify pages and blogs where you can answer questions.
- Start adding FAQs to the most important pages and the pages with the most potential.
Since you’re optimizing for voice search, answering questions in a conversational tone is crucial.
Begin the transition to conversational language
Content creators have been hearing about tone and consistency for decades.
“Speaking the language of the customer” is often repeated in all industries.
However, when it comes to voice search, a shift towards conversational tone is emerging.
Turns out stuffy “professional tone” isn’t how most people use their Google Assistant or Amazon Echo.
You will need to ensure that the content teams agree with these changes.
A quick meeting to reinforce the conversational tones and perhaps an update on the briefs sent to the writers can help considerably.
A great way to adjust content to be conversational is to have:
- Editors review all content.
- Read the content aloud.
Small changes, and if you can add spoken words and slang, can make all the difference when trying to create more conversational content.
Use Google actions
Google Stocks can be a major benefit for anyone trying to optimize for Android devices.
If you’re creating actions for your web content, you’ll need to use structured data.
Google has lots of great tutorials on using actions to create:
- Practical Guides.
Depending on the type of content being created, Google recommends using a theme or plugin to add to the schema.
Teams should learn how to use Google Actions to properly optimize their content.
Actions will help ensure that anyone using Android or Google Assistant devices will easily find your content.
Voice search is quickly becoming the preferred means of research for Internet users.
While there will always be traditional typed searches, businesses and marketers should focus on the possibilities offered by voice search.
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