Mastering Voice Search Optimisation
Hey Alexa, define Voice Search Optimisation….
Voice Search Optimisation (VSO) is the process of enhancing digital content, by tailoring keywords and phrases, to maximise your contents visibility in search results for voice search queries.
Voice search queries are performed through voice-enabled devices and assistants. Some of the most well-known and popular voice assistants that you may know of are:
- Alexa – Amazon virtual assistant
- Siri – Apple’s digital assistant
- Google Assistant
So, why is optimising for voice search important?
Today, you’ll find voice assistant technology integrated into smartphones and laptops, applications, smart speakers and even TV remotes. It is forecast that in 2024 there will be over 8bn voice assistants in use worldwide. In January 2023 alone, 21.7% of internet users aged between 16-64 worldwide used voice assistants every week to search for information. In a digital landscape where consumer behaviours are constantly evolving, there are several reasons why optimising for voice search can reap rewards, including but not limited to:
Increasing Chance of Discovery:
Optimising for voice search means you increase the chance of discovery and selection as the preferred source for information by voice-enabled devices. Greater visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) helps people find your business, services and/or products.
Appearance in Local Searches:
Voice search is often used by consumers to find services and business within their local area. Tailoring your digital content for voice search can enhance your local Search engine optimisation (SEO), so potential customers can find your business when their on-the-move.
With the wealth of information available online, delivering relevant content that provides answers to voice queries can create positive interactions between your business and the user. This could increase trust in your brand and foster positive brand associations that help users remember you.
From checking the weather forecast, to searching for a specific product or local business, there are distinct differences between voice search and text search – and no, it’s not just that you don’t have to manually type your query, although, this is one of the conveniences of voice search!
4 Key Differences between Voice Search and Text Search
1. Structure of Queries
With voice search, queries use natural language as the user speaks to the device, whilst with text searches, the user will type their query into the search engine. This difference in input method means the structure of voice and text queries also differ. Voice queries can be more conversational, whilst text searches tend to be short, concise and use specific search terms to get relevant results.
2. Keywords and Phrases
Whilst users may use shorter, direct words for text searches, for voice searches, they’re more likely to use natural language and long-tail keywords/phrases.
3. How results are delivered
Voice assistants usually deliver a result verbally or in a way that is hands-free for the user. Text search results may require the user to look through multiple results to find what they’re looking for.
4. Intent of the User
With the conversational aspects of voice search, users tend to demonstrate more immediate intent, with the expectations of quick, direct responses. Intent with text searches can be varied across the four types (informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional intent), they might be searching for a specific page they want to view, have a specific action in mind i.e. purchasing a product, or they might be searching for information on a certain topic.
Best Practices for Voice Search Optimisation
Now we’ve covered some of the differences, let’s look at best practice when optimising content for voice search.
Natural and Conversational Language:
Develop content that has a more conversational tone, incorporate long-tailed keywords and phrases that reflect how your target audience speaks. When using voice search, a user’s queries are more likely to be phrased how they would ask questions to a person.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Content:
FAQs help address users’ common queries – the format of this content better aligns with user intent. By providing concise answers to FAQs, you’ll increase the likelihood of your content being selected as the voice search result. FAQs can be industry-, company- or product-related.
Structure Content for Featured Snippets:
Feature Snippets, also referred to as Position Zero, are search results positioned above organic search results on SERPs. They can be formatted as a short paragraph, video, table, or list snippet – keeping your content concise is important here. You’ll also need to think about structured data and schema markups of your content so it’s more visible and easily interpreted by search engines.
Think Local and prioritise location-based content:
Voice search users often have local intent – they’re looking for business or services in their area and are more likely to do this whilst on-the-go. You can optimise for this by including location-specific information and keywords. As a business, keeping your Google Business Profile up-to-date and complete is a good place to start.
Your goal here is to ensure your content is not only optimised for the nuances of voice search but engaging for the target audience who’re using voice-enabled devices and assistants. By incorporating best practices you’ll increase your chances of discovery and expand your reach. Remember, consumer trends are constantly evolving, therefore reviewing and adjusting your strategy accordingly is crucial.
Is Voice Search Optimisation Relevant for B2B Organisations?
The big question. There are several reasons why voice search is increasingly relevant for B2B organisations. User behaviours are changing, and today’s B2B decision makers are more tech-savvy than ever before. According to research from McKinsey, around two-thirds of B2B buyers chose remote, digital interactions or digital self-service in 2021. Our smartphones have become extensions of us – they’re difficult to live without. Voice search can be a convenient and fast way for B2B decision makers to find the information they need – more so now with the rise of hybrid working. Adapting to changing B2B behaviours is crucial to staying relevant in a competitive landscape.
Consider how voice search optimisation can improve user experience. Time is precious – B2B buyers value efficiency and their searches will usually involve specific queries and keywords. Optimising for voice search by targeting these keywords and delivering detailed information makes your content more accessible and relevant, contributing to an enhanced user experience.
Embracing technological trends can position your business as an innovator and enhance your credibility. Furthermore, being an early adopter can provide a competitive edge – potential buyers are more likely to discover your business before competitors that have not adapted.
In conclusion, Voice Search Optimisation aligns with evolving behaviours of consumers and B2B-buyers alike. By taking a strategic approach, you can enhance user experience, and improve the visibility and accessibility of your business to potential buyers.
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