In a previous post, we here at Triple Canopy Media discussed the rising trend of users seeking out the products, services, and information they want to find through the use of voice search.
In short, as voice search apps and personal assistants become more commonplace, users will grow more comfortable using them, even in public. You’ll want to make sure that your company is prepared for this rising trend.
What steps can you take to make sure your website will still end up near the top of the search engine results even as voice search takes over? Read on!
How do you generally hold conversations with your (human) loved ones? It’s unlikely that you speak to them as though you’re a robot out of a science fiction movie from the 1950s. (But if you do this, contact us and we’ll take you out for a virtual lunch.)
If you’re proficient when speaking in a particular human language, you probably don’t have to think too hard when responding to basic questions. If someone asks you, “Where did you park the car?” you, without dwelling too much on the construction or sequence of the words in the sentence, will answer the questioner in the same conversational manner. Thus, you’re probably going to reply by saying something like, “I parked on a side street near the bakery,” rather than, “side street near bakery.”
In other words, you would respond in a way that sounds natural. That’s what we mean here at TCM when we say that your content writing should be conversational in style. And that’s more important now than ever before as voice search takes over and people speak to their devices as though they are (almost) human.
Consider constructing at least some of your chosen keywords as though they could have been lifted out of a sentence that one person would say to another person.
Speaking of speaking in sentences…
Longer keywords, longer tails
As TCM explained at length in an earlier examination of this aspect of SEO, the explosion in the use of voice search means that you’ll want to experiment with longer keywords in your website’s content. (And these longer keywords are often at or nearer to the end of the “long tail” on a search engine results graph.)
Sure, fewer people are going to search for a very long keyword compared with a shorter one, (thus, the position of those keywords on the long tail of the graph), but that means there’s less competition for ranking with regard to that keyword. That makes it easier for you to get near the top in the rankings.
And as people conduct more and more searches using voice search, they are going to be more likely to speak (that is, search) using longer keywords. Think about incorporating some nearly-full-sentence keywords into your content, if indeed your business is the best answer to the question that a user is likely to ask their device.
Be an authority
Keep in mind that people perform searches not just to find products and services they want to purchase, but also to get information. (Getting information, of course, is often research that people engage in when they’re planning to buy something—like what your business offers, for instance.)
Your website should be full of content that benefits users. It should be relevant and informative, in addition to being readable. Make yourself a repository, an authority. Compose your content with the goal of answering questions users are asking.
When writing with a set of keywords in mind, think about not only the questions people might ask, but the way in which they might ask them. Look at it this way: how are searchers trying to get the information they want and, most importantly, how are they framing their questions? The use of “question keywords” has been on the rise, in large part thanks to voice search. Composing your content with this in mind might produce real ranking benefits for your site.
Featured Snippets and FAQs
Another strategy? Try creating content for your site that might help you land in Google’s coveted Featured Snippet box. What’s a Featured Snippet? It’s the information in the box you see at the top of the page in the screenshot below.
The Featured Snippet in this screenshot of a question about Featured Snippets explains what a Featured Snippet is. In case you can’t quite make it out, the Featured Snippet is Google’s idea of the most direct, “best-fit” answer to a query. The Featured Snippet appears above the organic search results without displacing them, providing information while also showing a link to the page that is the source of this information.
Featured Snippets will take on increasing importance as voice search dominates searching methods in the future. It’s good to be listed above the organic search results on any page, obviously.
But if someone is using a virtual assistant designed to respond to voice commands and questions, (as opposed to a phone or a laptop that has additional interfaces), that device isn’t going to read off pages and pages of results in response to a query. Instead, it’s going to read out a short, best-fit answer from the Featured Snippet.
Thus, if you can write content that puts your website information in that spot, you’re going to be the only result for an increasing number of searchers.
You can’t order Google to make your content part of a Featured Snippet, obviously. But you can try to rank there through good, relevant content.
If your website has a Q&A section, for instance, the information you provide there can also go a long way in helping you to rank highly—maybe even in the Featured Snippet spot. Providing clear, concise answers in response to questions that users commonly ask their devices about your industry is a great way to get Google’s attention. And it’s well worth your time and energy.
Voice search is on the rise. And with the growth of personal assistant devices, that trend is not likely to reverse itself anytime soon. To stay competitive in searches, you should be composing good, relevant content, as always. Keeping voice search top-of-mind means making sure that the content you post is informative and answers common questions using the language people use when speaking to each other.
Find your voice, and others will find you by using theirs!