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SEO 10 min read

Optimizing SEO for Voice Search: Staying Ahead in the Digital Landscape

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Written by Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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Expert reviewed by Kat Sarmiento

Sr. SEO Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 21 Jun 2023

According to a report from PwC, 72% of Americans use voice search through their smartphones and connected devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. As the use of voice assistants rises, marketers and business owners are smart to optimize websites for SEO voice search. That way, they can increase the chances of appearing in results.

What Is Voice Search Optimization?

an image of a grey smart speaker

Voice search optimization involves using natural language phrases throughout your landing pages, blogs, articles, and other content. Natural language phrases are similar to how a person speaks rather than what they might type into a search engine. 

For instance, you might type “Los Angeles doctor” into Google if you’re looking for a regional primary care physician. However, you’d likely use a question format in a voice search — something like, “Who are the top doctors in L.A.?”

You can successfully optimize for voice search if you have a solid SEO voice search strategy. As a result, voice assistants will naturally turn to your site to answer related user inquiries.

Trends in Voice Search

Voice search is gaining in popularity as more people learn how to use it. And the technology for voice search has improved over the years, making the answers people receive more relevant to their needs. 

There are several voice search trends that every business should be aware of. For instance, a National Public Media study found that over 60% of Americans use voice assistants on multiple devices, including smartphones and computers.

And according to Capgemini, around half of Americans use voice assistants while driving. Similarly, the Search Engine Journal found that 25% of consumers use voice search to buy household goods and other items, and NPR reported that 52% of consumers use their smart speakers daily.

People are turning to voice search to find information, seek assistance, and even purchase items they need. You’ll need to optimize for SEO voice search to ensure that your company appears in their results. 

Strategies for Voice-Friendly Website Optimization

a man giving voice command to his phone

Voice search optimization is a little trickier than traditional SEO. After all, home voice assistants will provide a precise answer to a person’s question. However, a list of relevant websites will also appear if the consumer uses a smartphone or other device that displays text.

For instance, if you ask Siri for a list of restaurants near you, it will provide up to 10 places within a few miles of your current location. The restaurants will appear through Apple Map links, which you can click on for additional help, like directions or menu information.

The goal, then, is to have your business come up as one of the top results in a voice search. To increase your chances of doing so, here are a few strategies to consider.

1. Claim Your Business on Google Maps

People often turn to voice search when they need help finding a business nearby. 

For instance, someone looking for a nearby Italian restaurant might turn to their smartphone for recommendations. You’ll have a higher chance of appearing in their search results if you have a complete Google business profile that shows your location, food style, and opening hours.

A Google business profile is free to claim and takes under 30 minutes to complete. Simply add relevant information about your company, industry, products and services, and contact information, and you’ll be done before you know it. A completed profile will help you appear in the search results whenever someone looks for a business like yours nearby.

Your website should connect directly with your Google business profile and include the same address and contact details. That way, anyone who finds your business through voice search map results can easily click to learn more. 

2. Add FAQ Questions to Your Website that a Consumer Might Ask

Most people do at least some research before they make a purchase or take a specific action. You should include a few common FAQ questions at the bottom of each of your blogs, articles, landing pages, and other areas of your website that directly answer common inquiries.

For instance, a legal service landing page for car accidents might include questions like:

  • How long does it take to receive compensation after a car accident lawsuit?
  • Will a car accident lawsuit go to court?
  • How much is the average compensation for a car accident lawsuit?
  • Do all car accident claims result in legal compensation?
  • Do I have to pay hourly legal fees for a car accident lawsuit?

Those are all inquiries a typical car accident victim considering a personal injury lawsuit would have. If you provide the answers to them, you’re more likely to end up in the results list.

3. Consider Voice Search Advertising

E-commerce companies that obtain customers through PPC ads and platforms like Google Shopping may see more clicks if they optimize their ads for voice search advertising. To do so, they’ll need to use keywords that align with how a consumer might use voice search to find the products they want.

Most consumers preface their voice search inquiries in the form of questions. You’ll want to incorporate typical questions into your PPC ad campaigns and product descriptions to see the best results.

For instance, if you’re selling raincoats, you might include voice search advertising questions like:

  • What’s the best raincoat you can use in snow and rain?
  • What’s the warmest raincoat available?
  • What’s a good raincoat to buy for a visit to Iceland?
  • Who sells a wide variety of purple raincoats?

Each of your PPC ads would include these questions within the ad text, and you’d rephrase them in your product descriptions. Consumers interested in purchasing a raincoat or finding a company that sells them would see your organization at the top of their voice search results. 

4. Try to Capture Featured Snippets

Featured snippets appear in Google searches as a summary answer to a user’s question. You should try to include information from featured snippets to increase your chances of appearing in voice search results. 

To see what featured snippets appear in Google for your keywords, simply perform a Google search. For example, assume your targeted keyword is “how to save money.” The featured snippet on Google is an article from Nerd Wallet that provides 22 money-saving tips. 

To increase your chances of replacing Nerd Wallet, you might develop a lengthier article with more money-saving tips than Nerd Wallet provides. You’d want to use headers for each tip to increase your chances of appearing in the search results.

5. Include Conversational Keywords in Your Article Content

Conversational keywords are long-tail phrases that a person is likely to use in a voice search. Rather than leaving them solely to your FAQ section, sprinkle them throughout your text to increase your chances of appearing in voice search results. However, you’ll want to ensure that their usage looks pretty natural. Otherwise, people will sense the questions are there solely for SEO purposes.

For instance, if you have an article about cat grooming, including a question like, “What’s the best way to trim my cat’s nails?” would fit in quite nicely. You might use it in a header or work it into the body of your content.

Of course, you don’t want the bulk of your content to be questions. Ideally, pick only a few conversational keywords to use within each piece, and save the remaining ones for a short FAQ section at the bottom.

6. Aim for a Lower Reading Level

a little girl reading a Dr Seuss book

Voice search and SEO work best with content that has a lower reading level. This means that your text should be easily understood by someone with a 9th-grade reading level or below. If your readability level is too high, voice text search won’t easily understand it, making it less likely to appear in voice search results.

To evaluate your content’s reading level, run it through a free app like Hemingway, which automatically rates your text’s reading level. From there, you can determine whether adjustments are necessary. If you score too high, remove any uncommonly used words and shorten your sentences.

The reading level is especially important for e-commerce companies wanting their products to appear in voice shopping searches. Few people are likely to use terms like “cerulean” or “azure” to describe the color of a clothing item rather than simply “blue.” Make sure you use basic phrasing to increase your chances of ranking high.

Voice Search and SEO Provide Immersive Brand Experiences

When you incorporate SEO voice search into your marketing techniques, you’ll notice that customers find you through a variety of channels, not just search engines or social media. 

Optimizing your website and advertising strategies for voice search can help you obtain more traffic and customers — something that every company needs. Try these strategies today so you can prepare for the future of SEO: voice search.

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Sarah Edwards photo

Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed