Voice search is more convenient for many users. Increasingly, people are using voice search to get the organic, fast returns they want. Yes, return from voice searches are faster. If you’re wondering what percentage of actual searches are voice, the answer is around 50% and rising.

Should I optimise content for voice search?

Want voice search statistics?

If you remain unconvinced, there are a ton of statistics you can get off the web via a good old-fashioned typed-in, or voice, search, which show that voice search is on the rise and already significant. Just say, “What percentage of searches are voice?” And you’ll get a lot of interesting information.

For example:

  • Online grocery shopping represents 20% of the total of voice orders
  • Consumer spending by voice assistant is predicted to reach 18% market share by 2022

And if you think this is just teenagers with smartphones, it isn’t. Voice search is shown to have moved way past the early adopters of technology and is now very much in the mainstream.

What can you do to optimise content for voice?

First, it helps to understand that Google wishes to improve its returns based on ‘user intent’ and to do that it relies on NLP (Natural Language Processing) behaviour, which is the improved recognition of voice texture, behaviour and interest.

You may remember the time when marketers had to stop keyword stuffing content because Google wanted to improve search results based on ‘natural’ usage of words and language. Voice search is really an extension of this, in that Google algorithms are working to understand the ‘intent’ in the natural language that real people use when they speak.

Optimising content for voice is really then about ensuring Google knows what your website is all about, and writing content that is more natural in its language use. Let’s look at how voice search differs from typed in searches, and this will help to inform optimisation for voice.

  • Searches by voice contain more conversational words and are longer
  • Searches by voice tend to be a question-phrase
  • 22% of searches by voice are about something in the user’s locality

Keeping the above in mind, here are the things you can do to optimise accordingly

  • Look at a tool like Answer the Public, type in your keyword and then see the phrases returned that people are using to search for – this will help to give you the long-tail keywords and phrases you need to populate your content.
    For example, instead of a typed-in search of ‘cheapest petrol’, an equivalent voice search is likely to be, ‘where is my cheapest petrol?’ Instead of ‘perfect school shoes for a pre-schooler’, a voice search might be, ‘best school shoes for pre-schooler near me?’
    Think about the question phrases browsers are likely to ask, and write your content around these. Top three question search phrases start with Best, What and How.
  • Use a natural, conversational tone and focus less on keywords.
  • Keep your answers concise, and give as much context as possible.
    If you’re selling rubber gloves, but they are for industrial purposes, not domestic, make sure that comes across in your content.
  • Answer the direct questions of your customers on your website. You can do this in an FAQ or focused blogs where you feature their question and answer it fully.
  • Consider using local references in your content, since 22% of searches have local relevance. Local place names and landmarks may help you if your customer base is in your locality and likely to be searching for your products and searches. Also, make sure you complete your Google My Business with your locality information.

It’s more work, both in terms of digital measures and writing content, but voice search is here to stay so the best thing you can do is to get onboard. As you create your content, do all you can to understand your users’ ‘intent’, then make it natural so those voice searches have a chance of finding you.

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