Preparing for 2021: How (and Why) to Optimise for Voice Search

How to optimise for voice search

Hands up if you’ve finalised your marketing plan for the first quarter of 2021? If you have, we hope you’ve included some strategies to optimise your content for Voice Search – and if not, now’s the time to add it to your to-do list.

What exactly is Voice Search, though – and how can it boost your business?

If you’ll pardon the pun, it kind of speaks for itself.

Voice Search is just that: the act of searching for what you want or need by using your voice. This includes ‘asking Alexa’, for example, or using your in-car speaker – and if you’ve done a great job of your content marketing, your content should already be optimised for this search capability.

Introduced by Google in 2010, Voice Search has gathered pace in recent years, with more and more people buying voice-activated gadgets like Amazon’s Echo Dot.

Why is Voice Search on the rise – and why does it matter?

It’s simple, really. More and more of us are relying on the ‘anywhere office’. It’s a concept that sees us working in environments that are not traditional or may be difficult to get our laptops out in, such as in the car.

Voice Search also comes into its own when the user is multi-tasking. For example, when you’re baking a cake and your hands are covered in butter. You won’t want to type on your laptop or phone with buttery fingers, so you might simply ask Alexa: ‘how many ounces are in 250g?’

To understand how Voice Search might work well for you, you must get to grips with when people are using it. Finances Online offers some stats: 52.8% of people surveyed use it while driving, while 21.3% opt to use it when they’re doing another activity, such as baking that cake.

People who are working or watching TV will also be tempted to make use of Voice Search, with 7.4% and 7.5%, respectively, making the most of the technology.

So, why should you care about Voice Search?

To put it bluntly, if you don’t, your business may get left behind.

The fact is, your customer base is changing all the time; as younger people populate the workforce, the way they engage with businesses like yours inevitably changes. If you’re one of many businesses that have found the traditional routes to market just aren’t working for you, maybe it’s time to embrace Voice Search.

You may well have adopted the digital marketing techniques early. With that, you may have since discovered that the keywords that once used to bring you customers or clients aren’t the same as they were two or three years ago.

The Internet – and the way we use it – is an ever-changing beast, but it’s a beast you can get on the side of if you’re ready and willing to embrace said change.

Plus, Voice Search isn’t going away – and even if your customers aren’t yet using it, believe us when we say they soon will be.

Voice Search has already come a long way.

The original Voice Search from 2010 required users to call a number from their mobile device, ‘after which they were prompted by a recorded message to: ‘Say Your Search Keywords’, writes the team at WordStream.

It was a slightly more long-winded process than the Voice Search we know and use today, with the user saying which keywords they wished to search for, which would then update an open webpage with results for their query.

Paving the way for huge developments in screen recognition technology, it would later be integrated into tech like Google Maps, and Google’s own virtual assistant, Google Now.

How do You Optimise for Voice Search?

By now you’ll know that Voice Search is a vital tool – or should be – in your marketing toolbox. So, how do you optimise for Voice Search?

It starts with understanding your target audience and their device behaviour. What that means is, ascertaining which devices they are using and when – and what are they searching for?

Your backend website stats should give you some insight, but don’t just take a one-off look and base your entire strategy on what you see there and then; it needs re-looking at regularly if you’re to ensure your customers and clients can continue to find you online amongst a sea of competitors.

For example, 50% of your audience may currently be baby boomers, but that doesn’t mean that will still be the case a year from now.

It takes time and money to generate new content, so don’t leave it too late to start reworking your content for voice search; start mapping out your marketing strategy now and get ahead for 2021.

Where to Begin: At-a-Glance Tips

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Don’t be.

Optimising your site for Voice Search needn’t be much different than optimising it for a standard search. Here’s what to try:

Target Conversational Keywords

Think about it…if you were searching for something using your voice, you’d do so with a question, wouldn’t you? With that in mind, you should target conversational longtail keywords that ask questions, considering where different questions appear in your sales funnel.

For example: a potential customer asking: ‘What is X?’ is in a different part of the sales funnel than someone asking: ‘What is the best X?’

Tailor your content accordingly, then, and if said people are already in your database (because, for example, they’ve purchased from you before), you could use A/B email testing to tailor your marketing strategy to them.

Position Yourself as an Authority

People buy from companies they trust, so position yourself as an ‘authority’ in your industry by producing useful, keyword-driven content your customers are looking for.

This could include FAQ guides related to your products and services; they may not sit in your sales funnel, but when someone performs a search that is relevant to your field, it makes for excellent brand building when they are in the market for a product or service you offer.

Consider Sequential Searches

Does your content address questions like: ‘What is the best X?’? If so, be prepared for follow-up questions from your customers, including ‘How much is it?’

Google can contextualise ‘it’ or ‘there’ in relation to the page it is currently looking at, but if you don’t have content that answers the next question, expect the user to be taken away from your site to a page that does – and we all know what could happen when they do that. Yes, they will probably buy what they need from that site instead.

Don’t let that happen – make sure you can answer all their questions on your own site – and in one fell swoop.

Approach UX ‘Device First’.

Anyone using Voice Search is inevitably searching on the go. This tends to mean mobile users, so make sure your website pages are easily scannable for search engines.

You should make good use of content menus for longform content like blogs, ensuring you use headers to orient your reader to the places, or rather, pages you’d like them to visit.

Ensure that your page is mobile-responsive and loads quickly; there’s nothing more frustrating than a site that is slow to load. If your site is image heavy, too, consider how you can change that – an image CDN that serves images in next-gen formats is a good place to start.

When overhauling your website or your marketing practices in general, always keep the customer in mind as well as the search engine. What are your customers searching for – and what kind of experience do they want when they land on your site?

Get Ahead for 2021

If your website isn’t yet optimised for Voice Search, there’s still some time left this year to make sure it’s more than up for the challenge when 2021 rolls around.

We can help you get organised; simply contact our team here at Numagoo for more information.

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