What Is Voice Search And How To Optimise For It 

 

As time moves on, so technology is also constantly evolving. This also means that user experience is changing, with more and more people using voice search. Artificial Intelligence assistants like Siri, Alexa, and even Cortana and Google Assist are the results of this change, and studies have shown that almost 72 percent of people perform searches with the help of a voice assistant

However, voice search is often overlooked by those who are not as tech-savvy when it comes to digital marketing. Voice search optimisation (VSO) is still part of search engine optimisation (SEO) related, but there are certain aspects that differentiate it from this traditional method. 

 

What Is Voice Search?

In simple terms, voice search is when people use the voice search function via a device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, to make a query using a search engine or a digital assistant. Think of it as asking a question using your voice instead of typing, like this: “OK Google, what is the best coffee shop near me?” This query will be matched with online information in order to provide the best answers. 

Voice search uses natural language processing (NLP), which allows for search algorithms to become smarter and to understand speech patterns that are used in everyday search and conversation. NLP is effective for voice search in search engines because humans enjoy asking questions and receiving answers. It is a natural form of conversation. 

It is important to remember that the voice assistant will not read out the entire search engine results page (SERP) but only the most relevant and valuable results. User behaviour will be taken into account, which means that you will need to be highly competitive when it comes to content creation. 

 

How To Optimise For Voice Search

 

Use Long-form Content with Question Phrases

When we search for information on a computer or type into our devices, we use shorter phrases because it takes less effort. But, voice search is a conversation between the user and the virtual assistant which means that often the queries come in question form. However, this does not necessarily mean that you should use long-tail keywords, but rather you should use question phrases. 

If you are unsure of where to find these question phrases, you can use a free tool such as Answer The Public, which uses any keyword you enter and shows you visuals and graphs of questions around this keyword. These are natural language phrases, and also provide insight into the consumer mindset. Using these question phrases in your content will make it easier for search engines to use it for voice search results. 

Easy to Read Makes You Easy to Find

This is a similar tip to the one above, but it is equally as important. Easy-to-read content for voice search is vital because it is more likely to be chosen by digital assistants. This is because it is easy for them to read, and easy for users to understand. However, you should never diminish the quality of your content just to be found by digital assistants. 

Ideally, you should be writing for someone who has a high-school education. Using an editing program such as Grammarly or the Hemingway Editor will help you to make your writing style simpler, to the point but will maintain the quality of your work. Having a good readability score not only improves the chances of your content being read by digital assistants, and it will appeal to consumers and help to build trust and loyalty. 

Structured Data Optimisation for Better Results

It can be difficult to fully optimise for voice search, but there is one effective SEO practice you can use which will help the process along, and that is optimising your structured data. This helps you to make your content highly relevant to Google without changing how your content appears to users. Having a sitemap is one way to do this, and another is to use a structured data or schema markup, 

A schema is a form of microdata, which when added to a webpage, provides a rich snippet to appear in search results. Google or any other search engine will now have a clearer idea of what your website and content is about, which makes it easier to show the relevance of your content to search engines and digital assistants. This is a good overall SEO practice and can help with featuring your content in search results. 

Be Future Facing

Voice search in South Africa and across the globe is no passing phase, it is becoming the norm and if you want to be part of this movement, you need to optimise for it. It is set to disrupt what we know about SEO but is a challenge to be accepted and met in order to remain competitive. 

By using long-form and easy-to-read content, as well as structuring your data and using a schema, you can optimise for voice search and reach the digital assistants and consumers meaningfully. 

NetMechanic is geared for the future and can work with you to create a website that is the same.  Contact us today to find out how we can help you. 

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