5 Ways to Add Voice Optimization to Your Digital Strategy

Here’s a love story brought to you by your favorite voice assistants.

“Alexa, find me the best first-date restaurants in my area.”  

“Okay, Google, play a podcast that will tell me something about successful relationships.”

“Siri, what are the top honeymoon spots in Hawaii?”

This little romantic tale offers just one example of how pervasive voice-activated search and virtual assistants have become. They’re on our smart speakers, phones, tablets, and laptops. We ask them about everything from the weather, local business hours, and available parking to operating instructions, song titles, and trivia. Regardless of how you use yours, voice search is everywhere – and with their growing Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, they’re becoming more accurate and omnipresent all the time. In 2022, 62% of Americans 18+ were using voice assistants, with more than half of them using the technology daily. And worldwide usage is expected to skyrocket to 8.4 billion. In other words, no matter what industry you’re in, it’s not enough to be Googleable. You need voice search optimization.

Don’t all searches use the same tech? Not exactly.

Voice searches do tap into standard search engines like Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, and Yahoo. But they also use longer, often more complex conversational syntax. And, their algorithms try to glean the underlying meaning behind any given query.

Optimizing your digital presence for voice search results doesn’t mean you have to completely redo your SEO strategy. On the contrary, voice search optimization efforts can help improve the way general search engines see your content, raising your position in all kinds of search results. That’s why we’ve identified five key ways in which every business should engage in voice optimization.

  1. Use conversational keywords.
    Conversational keywords should feel authentic and natural – how people really talk — while still keeping an eye on spelling, grammar, and clarity. Consider using personal pronouns (“I,” “you,” “we,” etc.) in your blog posts. And don’t be afraid to be entertaining (maybe your opening lines might tell a little story ;~)). This less formal style will help your content feel more authentic and approachable. Equally important, it also will be interpreted as more relevant to voice queries.
  2. Use question keywords.
    Question keywords include “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.” Use these question words on your web pages and follow them with quick, satisfying answers. FAQ pages are great for this. You can – and should – provide more detail further down on the page, but these quick-hit matches go a long way toward supporting voice searchability.
  3. Use Long-tail keywords.
    Long-tail keywords consist of three or more words, and they are necessary for voice search success because conversational queries are longer than most typed search engine queries. For instance, our voice searcher above says, “Play a podcast that will tell me something about successful relationships.” The same search on a standard search would simply be “relationship podcasts.” Make sure your SEO strategy and tactics allow for both approaches.
  4. Use schema markup.
    Schema markup is HTML code that helps search engines provide specific details about your business in their search results listings. We’re talking about things like contact information, pricing, and reviews, as well as your address and business hours. Human visitors to your site will never see this code – but the indexing bots will, which helps search engines see your content as more relevant.
  5. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, think locally.
    Voice searches often include location-specific requests – so you want to make yours easy to find. That said, it’s not enough to just set up Google, Yahoo, and other aggregator business profiles, which will include your address. Location-oriented voice requests often seek places according to local landmarks and major streets. So, consider including language like “Just off Main Street” and “Right near the Metropolitan Museum of Art.” Be sure that both your website and any aggregate business pages include your hours of operation, too. After all, people will likely ask, “Find me a [TYPE OF BUSINESS] near me that’s open right now.”

Beyond these valuable voice search optimization enhancements, you should continue to pay attention to standard SEO best practices. Improve your page speed. Create SEO-friendly links. And create a great user experience.

If adding voice optimization to your SEO strategy feels overwhelming, we get it.

Whether you want to handle these efforts on your own, engage a professional partner like Relish Marketing, or share responsibility, we’re always eager to hear about your challenges, offer the benefit of our experience, and help you achieve the search results you need, both now and in the future.