How Do I Optimize for Voice Search

Alexa, How Do I Optimize for Voice Search?

Figuring out how to optimize for voice search should be on every marketer’s mind.

And if it isn’t, there’s something wrong.

Over half of U.S. teens and 41% of U.S. adults using voice search on a daily basis. With voice-assisted devices becoming ubiquitous in our households, we can’t ignore the exciting and challenging new opportunities presented.

Digital marketers should be thrilled. We have the chance to figure out the best way to reach people by optimizing for voice search and paving the way for new types of services. This is a fun time for experimenting and making smart creative bets.

Statista research stated that 28 percent of users find this medium as a more accurate way of searching than using a keyboard. But most advice about optimizing for voice search is still very basic. We are at the early stages of forming the best structure for how this type of information exchange really works best.

How will voice search change the technology you are using today

Early Advice on Voice Search Optimization

At this point, I could take this article in a couple of predictable directions.

There is the easier, more common-sense advice I can give based on traditional search engine optimization and how developers build skills for devices like the Amazon Echo.

And then there is the advice I can give that I love best. The efforts I think will have the biggest payoff, but will require more of an investment of time and energy up front.

So let’s have some fun and jump into both! (I like to keep an eye on my blog analytics and I believe all four of you who end up reading this will get more value out of reading the essentials of voice search optimization AND the advice I have for getting ahead faster.)

Essentials of Voice Search Optimization

  1. Employ SEO best practices –  If you haven’t established best practices for search on your site, you need to take care of that first. For the uninitiated, some (not all) vital elements of SEO include:
    • Bot accessible and mobile friendly
    • Fresh, high quality content with relevant internal and external links
    • Meta data optimized – Understand how to optimize video and images along with the rest of your page content.
    • Consideration and use of targeted conversational and long-tail keywords (but don’t force it – aim for natural language and providing value)
    • High caliber backlinks
    • Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) – Make sure your site has Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate installed to ensure that data between your web server and browser remains private and secure.
  2. Develop smarter FAQs – You want to figure out the most important questions your ideal audience has and answer them in a way that could easily be delivered by a voice-assisted device. Use question queries in your FAQ and other content when it makes sense to do so.
  3. Think in snippets – Remember to edit your snippets so they provide the best answer to questions you want to rank for. Not sure what snippets are? Here’s a great explanation from Searchenginewatch.com:

Featured snippets are often referred to as ‘Position Zero’, a phrase coined by Pete Meyers. They are the direct answer results that appear at the top of the SERPs in a box, and they often include a link back to the source of the answer.

How to “Move the Needle” Quicker with Voice Search Optimization

Google search screen
The ways we search for content continues to evolve. Are you ready to optimize for voice search?

Want to jump ahead in the voice search game? Think through how people engage with a voice-assisted device. Then think of a great way you might use a voice-assisted device to reach your own business or organization. What is common question you could answer or problem you could solve? What would be an easy way for someone to ask Amazon Echo for information you provide?

If you cater to a local audience, you’re in luck. Right now, mobile voice search is three times more likely to be used for local-based queries than text searches.

If you are pest management company, for example, you might think of common questions you receive from the people who are most likely to become your clients. I’ll take a guess at a few:

  • “Alexa, who are the closest exterminators near me?”
  • “Alexa, how do I get rid of termites?”
  • “Alexa, what are the signs of carpenter ants?”

I would look at this list and then immediately think through the following:

  1. What can I do now? Have I already incorporated these questions into an FAQ and other types of content on my website?
  2. What could I do to make it even better? Is there an Amazon Skill or other simple tool that my target audience could use to access this information?
Amazon Developer Forums
A glimpse at Amazon Developer Forums

If you are ready to take the next step with optimizing for voice search, Amazon provides an easy-to-understand Amazon Developer portal and Forum that can help guide you through the process for developing new skills for Alexa. It’s like a whole new world opens up when you begin exploring these sites.

What happens next

This is just the beginning. There is so much more to learn and a lot still in development. Experimenting with optimize for voice search now will give you some early advantage to communication using these newer behaviors that are advancing rapidly.

The best you can do is go back to the questions. Always going back to the questions will help you to focus on the needs of your audience and bring to light new and better ways to meet them.

[Authors Note: This is my final post focusing on the auditory sense in my Five Senses of Marketing series. My next set of posts will explore some fascinating subjects related to the sense of touch (somatosensation) in marketing and how they are impacting us today. This is Day 6 of my 100 Day Blog Post Challenge (you can read my first post in this challenge, too). If you liked it, please share this post with others and subscribe to the newsletter for more great tips and news. You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.]

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