Search engines can hear you now. Driven by the rapidly-increasing popularity of digital assistants such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant, people are increasingly using their voices to conduct web searches through their mobile devices and smart speakers. Alpine.AI estimates there are over one billion voice searches per month. and ComScore predicts 50% of all searches will be voice searches

Voice searches are greatly impacting search engine optimization strategies (SEO) and content marketing. To adapt to this upward trend, content marketers need to adapt their content strategies to include voice or face decreased traffic and page views.

How Voice Searches are Different

Search query topics are often different from what they might search for when inputting text. Understanding the intent of the person conducting the search and how the results differ can help in optimizing your content. According to a study by Stone Temple, 60% of people prefer voice searches over text searches. The primary reason people use voice search is that their hands or vision are occupied. For example, a person driving or someone cooking dinner.

Some of the differences include:

  • Longer than typical text keyword search queries — Instead of two or three keywords, voice searches are made in full sentences and mimic natural speech.
  • Questions — Most voice searches are questions spoken in a conversational voice.
  • Locally-focused — Searches by voice tend to be about nearby locations such as asking directions or finding a local business.
  • One search result — Text searches provide a list of results but voice search returns only one result.
  • More action queries — Voice searchers are usually looking to find a place or buy something.

Four Ways to Optimize Content for Voice Search

Voice searches are not going to eliminate text-based searches completely. However, you cannot afford to ignore voice searches. Adopting the following four tactics can help you start optimizing your content for voice search.

1. Create Question and Answer-Based Content

Create a detailed Frequently Asked Questions page or blog incorporating longtail keywords and specific questions in conversational language. To understand what questions may be asked, Document and record the exact words used by customers when they contact your business by phone.

2. Focus on Longtail Keywords

Voice searchers use natural language and will elaborate more than entering text in a search. Implement longer, more specific keyword phrases or full sentences to better match conversational style.

3. Incorporate your Location

Voice searches are more likely to be location-based. Incorporate as much local data as possible including localized keywords, user reviews and testimonials, and contact information.

4. Ensure Your Content is Mobile-Friendly

According to Google, 20% of mobile searches are voice searches. Ensure your website is user-friendly and includes responsive design, fast website speed, and easy-to-read content.