How to Explode Your Results with Voice Search SEO

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Siri. Amazon Alexa. Google Assistant. Cortana. If you asked any of these voice search digital assistants where your business is located, when it’s open, or what you offer, what would they say?

Your customers are asking these questions — 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last year alone.

Voice-powered services have created a seismic shift in how consumers find information about your brand.

Is your business ready with voice search SEO (search engine optimization)?

According to AdWeek, 67 million voice-assisted devices will be in use in the U.S. by 2019. This changes the way that digital content is managed.

It certainly creates more challenges as you look for ways to be sure your content is recognizable in voice searches and gets the results you need.

In order to take advantage of voice search SEO, you need to know what it is and how it works. This will mean adopting new techniques that allow voice search SEO to shape your content creation.

In this article, I’ll answer the question, “How can I learn the basics of voice search SEO?” I’ll show you the basics of optimizing your business’ digital content for voice search.

And of course, if you need more help after reading this article, I’d be glad to have a conversation about how I can help you further.

What are Consumers Talking About? — Get Conversational

Speaking of having a conversation, that’s the first step in preparing your digital business content for voice search. The essence of voice search SEO is human conversation.

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Think about the last human conversation you had. Did it resemble a typed-in Google search query?

Probably not, unless you speak like Yoda or Dr. Spock.

When we use a computer, we use short phrases to find information because it saves physical effort.

We are accustomed to thinking in keywords or phrases.

When you search for restaurants via typing on your phone or computer, you might write “best restaurants in Nashville.” This is computer language.

If you use voice search, you will probably ask a question, like “Hey Siri, which restaurant serves lunch right now?”

On mobile, the searches are a conversation with a virtual assistant. Voice queries contain conversational words and are longer. Voice search is more likely to contain question phrases.

How can you prepare for this?

For voice search SEO, my favorite beginning place is an online tool called Answer the Public. When you enter a keyword, it returns a bunch of questions.

From the massive list of questions related to your search term that the tool provides, you can begin to get an idea of what questions you should include in your content, and how.

A FAQ page on your website is a great place to include many of the popular questions searchers can ask relating to your business and its products or services.

Another key to voice search SEO is to optimize your website meta data with popular voice search queries. Use questions your page content will answer in the meta titles and descriptions of your pages.

We’ll talk more about crafting content for voice search SEO a little later in this article. For now, gather some good conversational queries relating to your products or services.

Where are Consumers Searching? — Get Local

Approximately one fifth of all voice search queries are for local content. This makes sense, and it will only continue to grow, because people use mobile phones on the go to locate information.

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And hold on to your hat: an astounding 50% of local mobile searches by a consumer lead to a physical visit to a nearby store location.

That means getting local with your voice search SEO is critical. And here is another critical fact: Google disclosed that “near me” searches have grown more than 130% YoY.

People extensively use the search query for “things to do near me.” It is a mobile-driven phenomenon. Voice search makes these “near me” searches faster and easier for the user.

How can you make this work for you?

Incorporate the following keywords into your SEO strategy:

1. “Near me” in your title tags, meta description, internal links, and anchor text

2. The phrases people use to describe the neighborhood around your location

3. Landmarks around your business location

4. The titles of local institutions that are relevant to your business

How Can I Help Consumers Find Me? — Get Listed

This next tip is closely related to the above section on Getting Local with your voice search SEO. There are two ways a user might search for local businesses like yours:

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1. “Pizza delivery in Nashville” — If you have optimized your site for local keywords like Nashville, then you have a chance to appear higher in this search result.

2. “Pizza delivery near me” — For these questions, Google tracks your mobile device location and compares it to localized Google My Business listings.

This is why a vital step for your business is to claim your Google My Business listing. If you have already claimed your listing, be sure your name, address, and phone number with area code are completely accurate.

The introduction field to your Google My Business listing should contain a well-written 400-word pitch to describe your products and services.

Why is this important?

If this is the listing Google will use when consumers search for your products or services “near me,” the most accurate listing will be returned high in search listings.

And, since voice search listings will only show a few, you want your business listing to show up as high as possible in these local voice searches.

How Can I Answer Consumers’ Questions? — Get Relevant

If more voice searches are in the form of conversational questions, then a great way to answer those questions is through your digital content. Simply put, create blog posts answering your customers’ questions.

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Remember, people speak different keywords in voice searches than the ones they type in search engines to refer to your products, services, and business.

Once you have collected their common questions and phrases (step one above), you can create content for them.

I recommend creating dedicated blog posts based on your customers’ questions.

You should also optimize the existing content on your blog and product pages for these queries.

Does this really work?

Finding the questions of your target audience and answering them through blog posts will not only help with voice search. Boil it down, and voice search is really just SEO, and the same general rules apply.

Good SEO majors on high-quality content that provides something of value to the user. Just because you are optimizing for voice searches, doesn’t mean you forget every other SEO practice.

Google ranks quality content highly; good content that answers the questions your target audience is asking through voice search queries is a definite win-win.

Are you one of those impatient buggers that scroll to the end for a recap? Well, here it is:

“How can I learn the basics of voice search SEO?”

Answer some questions yourself:

1. What are Consumers Talking About? — Get Conversational

Learn the basic form of voice searches.

2. Where are Consumers Searching? — Get Local

Learn to make your content local.

3. How Can I Help Consumers Find Me? — Get Listed

Learn to use local listings.

4. How Can I Answer Consumers’ Questions? — Get Relevant

Learn to answer questions with content.

For more writing help, see my other Medium articles or visit my website at Michael Stover — Freelance Writer & Editor.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +439,678 people.

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