Maximizing voice search in 2018

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

More customers used voice search in 2017 than ever before and the trend is expected to continue into 2018. Not only are the number of people who use voice search growing, the number of questions asked per person is also on the rise. Digital assistants like Siri and Alexa have become essential companions for people who love to cook, don’t want to text and drive, and need quick answers.

With voice search available on more than 400 million devices, marketers have a massive (and often untapped) audience that they can reach. 2018 should be the year that your brand develops a voice search strategy and starts reaching people through this method of communication.

Check out these 7 steps you can take to maximize voice search traffic in 2018.

Develop Audience Personas for Voice Search

Your target audiences likely won’t change much from your traditional buyers and voice search users, but consider where people are when they use voice search and what they need.

Search Engine Land shared a chart explaining where people most often use voice search. More than 50% of people say they use voice search at home by themselves or with friends. This means they likely have access to their devices but prefer the rapid response that comes with voice search. Additionally, people use voice search on public transportation, at the gym, and in public restrooms.

By knowing where your customers are and what they’re looking for, you can tailor your content and calls to action to maximize conversions. A restaurant might make reservations easier for people using mobile search while a nearby bar might feature hours, parking, and directions. This is no different than tracking your target audience goals across various social media channels.   

Emphasize Natural Language in Your Content

Optimizing for voice search is all about natural language and phrasing. Brands that continue to force awkward keywords and stuff phrases throughout their content aren’t going to see as much of an impact from people searching naturally. During your content-creation process, consider reducing jargon or targeting specific grade levels with your writing. You may even need to create multiple content pieces that target different audiences based on their expertise. The goal of this is to connect with people naturally in the same way they talk to their smart devices.  

Plus, Google’s algorithm already works to punish keyword stuffing and promote content that is written for human audiences, so any efforts to put keywords before people will result in disappointing rankings as a whole.


Create a Long-Tail Keyword Strategy

Long-tail keywords are surging in popularity as marketers look to target these phrases and more customers use them for voice search. Instead of forcing various keywords together, voice search users say full sentences. This means marketers are noticing more long-tail keywords in their SEO reports.

Long-tail keywords have less competition than short words or phrases. While hundreds of retailers sell “red shoes,” the competition narrows significantly for the phrase, “where can I buy red heels in Atlanta?” If brands can target these less competitive long-tail phrases, they could watch both their voice search responses and overall conversions grow.   

Build Your Content Strategy Around Questions

If targeting long-tail keywords is part of your SEO strategy, then creating content with complete questions should be one of your primary tactics. Questions help marketers write concise headlines and stick to a clear thesis. Every subhead and idea within an article should tie back and answer the main headline. Marketers are also able to adjust the length and depth of their content to answer the questions thoroughly or target a more entry-level audience.

If you’re not using questions to develop your content strategy, consider testing a few pieces with this method. Notice how your traditional audiences respond on other marketing channels as well as responses to voice search. You may find that people across your marketing outlets appreciate the question-based content.  

Generate Ideas from the “People Also Asked” Box

If you struggle to understand what questions you should be asking and answering, check out the “people also asked” box that pops up in Google Search results. This will show you various queries related to the keyword that you might want to address.

Additionally, tapping into FAQs and questions your sales team answers regularly can help you quickly generate content ideas.

Write Featured Snippets That Target Position Zero

Featured snippets are boxes that concisely answer questions that users ask Google without people having to click on a link. Since 2014, the use of featured snippets has been steadily rising, and now more than a third of all searches include these easy answers.

Not only will targeting featured snippets help your overall SEO strategy as your brand is suddenly catapulted to “position zero” at the top of the page, it will also help your voice search traffic. Personal assistants often read out these featured snippets when people ask, providing information in a few clear sentences.

By developing content for featured snippets, you can watch your overall rankings rise.  

Continue to Develop Your Local SEO Strategy

Targeting voice search doesn’t mean your other SEO tactics fall by the wayside. Mobile voice searches are three times more likely to have a local element than traditional mobile text search. People use their mobile devices to figure out what is nearby, and the next step is to actually go to that location.

Make sure your Google My Business page is up to date and you follow our best practices for local SEO. Search engine results are all intertwined. You can’t focus on one strong SEO tactic and ignore the others.

Conduct an In-Depth Mobile Audit to Put Your Best Website Forward

All of your efforts to maximize voice search traffic will be futile if your website is slow and unusable when people access it. Customers are just as likely to bounce after a voice search as a traditional one. Make sure your load speed, usability, and security features operate at maximum levels to wow customers and make them convert.

If you haven’t run a comprehensive SEO and usability audit on your website recently, then it’s time for a review. Trinity Insight’s analyses and audits run through dozens of usability points to rate a website and find opportunities for improvement. We can clean up your pages and then take steps to maximize your pages for voice search in 2018.

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