More than 150 million people in the United States use voice assistants to direct commands to their smartphones, connected cars, smart speakers, and TVs, according to Insider Intelligence.
Driven by younger tech-savvy generations, the voice assistant audience is predicted to gain another 17 million fans by 2027.
At the same time, the number of people who use voice assistants to search for content is also growing. So, when someone asks Alexa or Siri a question that pertains to your brand, how do you make sure your content appears in the search?
You need to optimize your content for voice search. While “voice search optimization” is a marketing buzzword, it should be on your radar as the use of voice assistants grows.
To get started with voice search optimization, consider these tips:
- Think conversationally
The phrasing that users choose for voice search is typically different than one done by text, which means you may need to alter your optimization approach.
When a consumer’s vehicle gets a flat tire, they may head to Google and type “tire service centers near me.” A voice search, however, may sound more like a conversation with a friend or coworker: “Hey, Siri, where can I get my flat tire fixed?”
This subtle difference can make all the difference when targeting voice search keywords or Q&As in your content. The more accurate your long-tail keywords and the more closely worded your questions are to one that would be asked via voice search, the more likely your brand will appear in vocal search results.
2. Capitalize on featured snippets
Voice assistants often read featured snippets to answer a voiced inquiry.
Featured snippets are content that Google shows at the top of its results to answer a question. For example, when you Google, “How do I start an LLC in Florida?” this snippet appears:
Since it’s common for voice assistants to read these snippets, you should focus on earning the coveted snippet spot. How do you go about that?
Google selects snippets through a secret algorithm, so it’s not an easy win. However, to improve your chances, you should do the following with each piece of content:
- Use “what is….” in a subhead
- Fully answer the question
- Don’t use your brand name or mention products to answer the question
- Don’t use first-person language
3. Optimize your assets for each channel
Ensure that every new asset is optimized with keywords as it’s created, including meta-data, for every channel. If your brand has a local store or service center, you’ll want to optimize keywords with the local city, state, or neighborhood.
Next, you’ll want to optimize your existing assets for each channel. Consider the following examples:
- Ensure that your website has a responsive design, as search engines tend to favor sites that ensure a good user experience across multiple devices and screen sizes.
- Ensure your blog posts or podcast descriptions are optimized to include local or long-tail keywords.
- Rework your brand’s FAQs on social media with natural-language wording, ideally with questions worded similar to how a user would word them with voice search.
4. Prioritize page speed
You may have great content on your website, but if your page takes too long to load, it won’t appear in voice search results (and your bounce rate will skyrocket). This is especially true for mobile speed. Start with a simple site test via Google PageSpeed Insights to check your loading times. If pages take too long to load, you’ll see reasons why. Get your IT team to review these issues and make necessary adjustments.
5. Leverage your Google Business Profile and local directories
To find information for local voice queries, Google Assistant relies on the information provided on your free Google Business Profile. Businesses can increase the chances of being found in a voice search by optimizing their Google Business Profile with keywords, business hours, services, and contact information.
Fill out your entire profile, leaving nothing blank. While this effort can help you with voice search, it’s also a budget-friendly way to market your business, so it’s a win-win.
Other voice assistants, such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, may pull from local directories. These websites list businesses based on their location, so optimizing them will help improve your chances of being discovered with voice searches for local establishments.
Consider this overview of tips to help consumers find your business when using voice search. By using conversational language, ensuring your pages are responsive for all devices, beefing up your local profile listings, and optimizing assets, your marketing team will help prepare your brand for the ever-growing use of voice searches.