The Changing Face of SEO: The Impact of Voice Search

by | Feb 14, 2017 | Content Marketing | 0 comments

by | Feb 14, 2017 | Content Marketing | 0 comments

Google and its Home, Amazon and Alexa, Microsoft and Cortana, Apple and Siri. These companies have their dedicated chatbot to assist customers with searches on a variety of devices, such as Bluetooth speakers, smart TVs, phones, tablets and computers. This is driving the reliance upon voice search across a variety of website and program types. In fact, roughly 20 percent of Google searches are now voice searches, and that percentage is probably higher when you include other devices.

To further advance this change, speech recognition software gets better and better, with the word error rate now at just 8 percent, down from 23 percent in 2013. It is not just about words, either. These computer programs understand the context behind the words, responding to natural phrasing.

With the improvement in voice searching only set to become better and smarter, it is changing the way that search engines respond to queries. This could create a change in the way that SEO content marketing works. To get ahead of the change, it is important to start implementing a few actions so that your sites are voice-search friendly.

Understanding the Intent  

One important consideration to make when developing your content marketing SEO campaigns is the difference between a typed query and a voice search. Although ultimately people want to find the solution as quickly as possible, those who type in a phrase for searching are typically more willing to do a little bit of research. However, those who use voice search want an immediate response with a quick answer. A strong campaign will respond to both kinds of users when developing their optimization strategies.

Voice Search

Infographic by Google

Users who create a search query with a long phrase in full sentences create a clearer intent. This makes it easier for search engines to provide the results the user wanted and expects. This not only helps the search engine to know what to provide to searchers; it also allows you to know what customers want and need. This leads to developing content that matches the questions that people are most likely asking in connection with your goods or services.

Longer Keyword Phrases

One of the major changes that voice search will have for SEO content marketing is that keyword phrases will get longer. Although it might not be the complete end of short tail keywords, long tail keywords are becoming more and more relevant. Therefore, when you develop content and include keywords optimized for SEO, spend more time concentrating on long-tail keywords that are more like the natural phrases people use when they speak. This will make it easier for your sites to be found during a voice search.

As an added bonus, long-tail keywords make it easier to rank for a particular term. They are specific, which means that they are more focused towards a particular niche area. It also makes it more likely that a person who finds your site after a search for these keywords will convert into a strong lead or a customer.

Look Behind the Curtain

Some components of your program that will help with voice search deal with more than the SEO content marketing side. Instead, it dives into the technical side of website optimization. One such tool that provides additional assistance is schema markup. It is a coding add-on for HTML that provides context to your pages to benefit your ranking. It describes to the search bots what your content actually means, rather than just random words that appear together.

There are other microdata elements that might help to improve your search rankings for both traditional searches and voice search. This includes your XML sitemaps and directions to businesses.

Develop the Right Type of Content

When you create a content marketing SEO strategy that is voice search friendly, it is important to also develop content that assists in your plan. One type of content that does this is FAQ pages. Many queries using voice search are some type of basic question. By having an FAQ page that answers the most common questions involved in your business and/or industry, then you will have rich content ready to be mined by search bots. It is also easy to include long tail keywords, because you will create a question-answer response that is written in a conversational way.

Voice Search Friendly

Infographic from Reputation Upgrade

Another way to create content that will do well in the voice search era is to do your keyword research. Just as you have spent time looking at the most popular short tail keywords in your industry to help you build a better site ranking, you will need to do the same for the longer phrase-type keywords. There are tools that allow you to find the most common queries through auto-completing the initial part of phrases. This will help you to expand the type of content you create by providing new ideas for yourself or content writing services that you utilize.

Start Small to Prepare

Although voice search might be changing the face of SEO content marketing, it does not mean that you have to do a complete overhaul of your site in one night. It will take time for voice search to completely overcome traditional search engine use. However, now is the time to start implementing changes so that you are ahead of the curve when the time does come. There are a few key changes you can make now:

  • Moving forward, concentrate on long tail keywords
  • Develop content that answers consumer’s questions
  • Look at your current search listings to see where there might be issues
  • Focus on misspellings due to mispronunciation
  • Incorporate misspellings and common mistakes as keywords in your content
  • Optimize your pages with natural language searches in mind

As an added bonus, when you make these changes to assist in voice searching, you are also helping your overall SEO content marketing strategy. This is because even traditional searches are starting to utilize more natural phrasing and questions.

Voice searches are set to become more and more common, and they will change the way that SEO works. By starting to make changes now, you will ensure that you do not fall behind the time and continue to remain relevant to both search engines and your customers.

Jon Bingham
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