Unlocking OK, Google: Voice Search Optimization Tactics You Can Use Right Now

Unlocking OK, Google: Voice Search Optimization Tactics You Can Use Right Now

Voice is the next frontier, so understanding how to optimize your website’s content for voice searches is essential. In this video, I’ll cover an overview of voice search and how it should fit into your overall SEO strategy. I’ll give you three tips for ranking for conversational queries, including: creating content that answers the 5 W’s, using structured data, and using headers and lists.

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Voice search is the next frontier of search, but how do I (and you!), as a marketer, leverage it?

Today I’m going to talk about the first area of opportunity, and that is how to use natural language.

Using Natural Language

Google has suggested that voice queries are much longer than text queries. Unfortunately, there’s no way to distinguish between spoken queries and typed queries in tools like Google Search Console. But based on comments from Google representatives, we know that spoken queries are longer. They are more specific, and frequently they’re formed as questions. It makes sense. If you’ve ever used voice search before, what have your search queries looked or sounded like?

Three tips to ranking for conversational queries

  1. You need in-depth content that answers the “who, what, when, where, why and how” questions that people commonly search for. Back in 2013, Google released Hummingbird. This algorithm update does an amazing job at putting search queries into context and understanding user intent. So, instead of thinking only about what people are searching for, answer the other “W” questions people may ask about your products or services. Speaking of questions, you’ve probably also seen the “People Also Ask” box displayed in search results.lasik-people-also-ask-box The answers are predominantly from authoritative sites that create in-depth content that answer specific queries. Remember in-depth content is about more than length, it’s about answering questions from all angles – the 5 W’s!
  2. Make sure your content uses the appropriate structured data or Schema markup. Without getting too technical here, Schema lets you provide more context about your content to search engines. And, if your site is marked up appropriately with Schema, it can become eligible as a rich result.If you’ve ever Googled a recipe or researched a new TV, you’ve seen these results. My colleague, David Manng, has a fantastic blog post that covers all of the angles on Schema and structured data.Schema’s also valuable to get your brand into the Knowledge Graph. When you do a brand search on a computer, what do you see? This is an example of our profile view, with a reviews, address information, and photos. Knowledge Graph
  3. It’s also important that your page content is structured well using headers and lists. There’s no secret sauce here. Just remember that Google has an easier time understanding the topics your page focuses on when you incorporate header tags to introduce sub-topics and use bulleted or numbered lists when appropriate to make reading page content easier. Usability is a big component of SEO. People do not read webpages the same way they read books. People scan pages, looking for information that satisfies their search query.

The best thing about these tactics is that they will improve your site’s performance for typed queries too.

Remember to keep track of the specific changes you’ve made to your site. And you might want to roll out changes incrementally so you can see what impact those changes have on your website visibility and traffic.  Finally, if your business relies on foot traffic, phone calls, or both, be sure to ask your customer how they found you! If they say online, you know it’s working.


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Seth Nickerson

Seth Nickerson cut his digital marketing teeth when the Internet still had training wheels (Mosaic anyone?). He was sitting in a TV station newsroom in Portland, Oregon when his career in SEO began with a simple question: “How did we get this traffic to the website and how can we get more of it?” He knew that SEO was something worth pursuing because winning at organic search can be a game changing experience for any business.