Optimizing for voice search can be challenging for businesses of any size, and enterprises need a strategy that scales, as well.
Smartphones put the world at our fingertips. People have questions that need answering and services or products they need.
All of these things are just a search away and now, we’ve seen a cosmic shift to voice search.
Statistically, voice isn’t something that enterprise marketers can ignore because:
- 33% of people in the U.S. use voice search.
- 71% of consumers prefer voice search.
Voice optimization at scale is what every business should be doing. For enterprises, the challenge is scale due to the wealth of content assets they control.
In this column, we’ll take a look at specific tactics and optimizations that will support your voice strategy including schema markup, keyword research, site speed, FAQs, Google Actions, and more.
Here’s how to begin optimizing for voice searches, with a focus on enterprises.
Voice Optimization 101
Create Content And Voice Search Guidelines
Marketing teams should sit down with the content team or send guidelines outlining the importance of voice search optimization, incorporating these keywords, and protocols to ensure optimization.
Enterprises should have SEO governance in place already.
However, you’ll need to revise your existing governance and protocols for voice search. In fact, you want to add entire sections that focus primarily on voice.
Content creators and teams are bound to make mistakes.
It’s up to your protocols to find issues with content by performing thorough content checks.
Analyzing content before it’s published should be part of your processes already.
If it’s not, you can add in:
- Thorough content review before posting.
- Optimization analysis.
- Comparing content to researched keywords and questions.
Guidelines are a key part of every aspect of enterprise marketing because team members can come and go so often.
Redefine Your Keyword Research To Incorporate Long-tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords often have lower search volumes and are less of a priority for enterprises that target high-value and high-traffic keywords. However, voice search is natural and longer than just one- or two-word phrases.
Your pages need to answer questions (just like featured snippets do) and should include:
- How do I use XYZ product?
- How much do XYZ products cost?
- How do I fix XYZ problem?
People using search are asking questions, and you need to answer them. Redefine your keyword research process to include more long-tail keywords and question keywords.
Create processes and procedures for SEO teams – internal and external – to incorporate questions into your current content creation process.
Optimize For Site Speed And Mobile Experience
Voice searches come primarily from mobile and assistant devices.
Every enterprise must optimize heavily for mobile with:
- Responsive designs.
- Fast site speeds.
Periodically, your team should run Google PageSpeed Insights to find issues slowing down your site and to improve load time.
Optimize For Local Search To Boost Business
Local and regional optimizations are huge for businesses that operate locally.
Over 50% of people search for local businesses via voice search.
- Where is the nearest Subway near me?
- What grocery stores are open nearby?
- Where is the closest pharmacy?
You’ll want to review the enterprise’s Google and other local listings.
Listings should always include the company’s operating hours, short blurbs, and photos.
Complete listings make it easier for searchers to reach out to your business or visit it in person.
Terms may include “near me” phrases, or they can be specific, such as [car manufacturers in Detroit.]
One tip crucial to an enterprise’s success when optimizing for local is to account for regional or area slang.
Your research teams should understand local slang and dialects that may be used in a search.
For example, [where can I get the best soda in Boston] will change to [where can I get the best pop in Ohio] due to regional slang.
Internal teams should help you create these distinctions before moving into new markets to help content creation and search engine optimization teams maximize local voice search potential.
Master Schema Markup To Add Content Context
Leveraging schema is crucial to help search engines make sense of an enterprise’s site content. Review and incorporate schema markup guidelines to help boost voice search.
A few tips that can help you master schema are:
- Start using Google’s Speakable Schema (beta) for sections of your text best for Google Assistant and voice search.
- Use analytics to help understand keywords and phrases customers are using.
- Find speakable snippets in new and old content to add schema.
- Think of your content in a conversational way to enhance context.
Schema markup, when used properly, can help add context to the content on each site and allow for greater voice search potential.
Add FAQ Sections Into Key Pages
Remember how you need to add questions to your keyword research?
It can be challenging to find ways to add questions to pages without interrupting the natural flow of your content.
How can you overcome this? Frequently asked questions.
FAQs can add immense value to your pages and help you start improving your voice search optimization.
One way to begin incorporating this is to:
- Perform a full content audit on the site(s).
- Identify pages and blogs where you can answer questions.
- Start adding FAQs to the most important pages and pages with the most potential.
Since you’re optimizing for voice search, answering questions in conversational tones is crucial.
Begin The Transition To Conversational Language
Content creators have heard about tone and consistency for decades.
“Speak the customer’s language” is often repeated across industries.
However, when dealing with voice search, a shift toward conversational tone is emerging.
As it turns out, the stuffy “business tone” isn’t how most people use their Google Assistant or Amazon Echo.
You’ll need to ensure that content teams are on board with these changes.
A quick meeting to reinforce conversational tones and maybe an update to briefs sent to writers can help drastically.
An excellent way to adjust content to be conversational is to have:
- Editors review all content.
- Read content aloud.
Small changes, and if you can add in spoken words and slang, can make a world of difference when trying to create more conversational content.
Use Google Actions
Google Actions can be a major perk for anyone trying to optimize for Android devices.
If you build actions for your web content, you’ll need to use structured data.
Google has a lot of great tutorials on how to use actions for creating:
- How-to guides.
Depending on the type of content created, Google recommends using a theme or plugin to add in schema.
Teams should learn how to use Google Actions to optimize their content properly.
Actions will help ensure that anyone using Android devices or Google Assistant will have an easy time finding your content.
Voice search is quickly becoming the go-to way for people to search.
While there will always be traditional typed searches, enterprises and marketers should focus on the possibilities that voice search has to offer.