Voice search will change how you need to create content

With 20% of all searches on Google now done with voice, it’s crucial companies ensure they’re well placed to capture this growing trend. Marketers also need to help searchers find what they’re looking for when they ask for it by voice.

The emerging age of assistance products like Google (home), Amazon (Echo) and Apple (HomePod) show the way people search online is changing and the question people are asking is ‘how can we ensure our SEO strategy stays on trend?’.

Happy woman talking to a smartwatch sitting on a couch in the living room at home

Optimise for voice search

We’ve grown accustomed to the way search engines operate, having learnt long ago to succinctly enter the keywords to find the information. But unlike the keywords typed into a search box, voice search is far more conversational. It usually occurs on a mobile (60% of mobile searches are voice), is often based locally, (“where is the nearest sports shop?”), and is typically longer than their text search counterpart.

Google voice search results sit at a ninth-grade reading level, so kids around the age of 14 should be able to comfortably read and understand your content to rank better in voice search. So keep your content conversational in tone, but clear and concise too.

Google also loves content that offers the reader value – pages with higher word counts provide a lot of value and answer more than one question on a topic. When it comes to a Google voice search, the average word count for a results page is 2,312 words. But this doesn’t necessarily mean longer content is better, because voice search results are normally very short, at an average of just 29 words.

What we can conclude, however, is that the more words or content you have, the higher your chance is to match a searcher’s query. More content means your page will also rank for more voice searches. Google has said that voice searches are 30 times more likely to be action queries than typed searches.

voice recognition with smart phone

Top actions:

  • Actions on Google

You can invest in Actions on Google development so that your customers can say “OK Google, I want to buy footy tickets from Ticketmaster” and get a better response from Google Home than “I’m sorry, but I don’t how to help you with that”.

We are in the early adopters stage with this technology, but its fast growing. Voice search is expected to make up 50% of all Google searches by 2020.

  • Claim your Google My Business listing

If you haven’t already claimed your Google My Business listing – do it! This provides Google with more information about your business, like the industry you’re in, address, phone number and you can include photos. You can also build your Google reviews through your listing, which is great for SEO.

  • Conversational keywords

Keywords in voice search are more conversational (long-tail+) – the ‘plus’ refers to conversational phrases that you add when optimising your content. You need to mimic how real people talk and ask questions verbally. Think about what questions your business gets asked over the phone and use them to create content pages that focus on these longer, more conversational search terms.

  • Structured data markup

This gets a little technical, but it’s crucial you use structured data markup to give voice search devices accurate information about your site and content. Using www.schema.org to provide the data markup for your content makes it easier for search engines to understand your content and its context.

  • Mobile speed

As we grow more impatient in this instant gratification era, it’s vital to provide users a fast site load time, especially from a mobile. Why exactly? Because 52% of users will leave your site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Use the Test My Site tool to see how your site performs.

Contribute: Paul Carroll, CEO, Pure SEO Australia has over 25 years’ experience in sales in marketing. In that time, he’s been motivated to discern and master the shifts of the digital marketing landscape. Paul genuinely understands the opportunities that voice search presents savvy businesses who are agile to the changing tide.