Optimising Your Material for Voice Searches: Content Curation Within the Voice-Activated Age
There is no doubt that the Internet has come a long way in recent years. From 4G connectivity to hands-free smartphone gesture recognition, it seems as if the halcyon days of dial-up connectivity represent nothing more than a nostalgic (and frustratingly sluggish) trip down memory lane. One of the latest trends to take this sector by storm is the introduction of voice-powered searches. Many experts now predict that this alternative will represent more than 50 per cent of all searches by the year 2020. While this is great news for the average consumer, it places an additional challenge upon authors. How can your material be optimised to meet this growing demand? Let's see what the industry professionals have to say.
Taking the Preliminary Formatting Into Account
It is a good idea to quickly mention HTML formatting before examining the “meat” of voice-friendly content. We need to take into account common programs such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. Keep in mind that they will pull SERP information based upon verbal user queries. This is why certain formats might not be sufficient to trigger a response. As Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller recently pointed out, list formats rarely make sense when read out loud. In other words, even quality content could very well be falling upon deaf ears in this sense. Those who are catering to voice-activated search programs are better off sticking to easily readable organic content as opposed to endless lists and bullet points.
Putting Those Long-Tail Keywords to Use
Many of us are already aware that keyword usage has somewhat shifted over the past few years. Gone are the days when awkward one- or two-word phrases would be crammed into a limited amount of content in order to cater to the digital overlords at Google. We have now entered into an era partially defined by the use of long-tail keywords. This is even more important when referring to voice searches, as they are comprised of naturally spoken language. To put it another way, very few people actually talk the way they type. Targeted long-tail keywords are therefore much more likely to be recognised by major voice-activated search programs.
Embedding Question Phrases Within the Content
Take a moment to think about how you might verbally search for an online product or service. Here are two examples:
- “Pizza in London”
- “Where can I find the best pizza in London?”
Which one sounds more natural to you? You are not alone if you were immediately drawn to the second query. Users are more likely to phrase their search in the form of a question. This is simply more natural in terms of semantics. So, it makes a great deal of sense to (carefully) embed common questions related to a specific topic within the content itself. This can be easily accomplished through the use of voice-friendly subheadings. Here is an example based off of the marketing needs of a fictional roofing company:
- Why is ABC Roofing the best in London?
- How can I diagnose common roofing problems?
- How can I contact ABC Roofing?
- What types of services does ABC Roofing offer?
Not only are these logical and pertinent questions, but they are more likely to be used by the average individual who might require the services of the firm. Thus, the chances of them being displayed within a voice search are much higher.
All About Locality
One of the major trends in regards to SEO in general is the use of highly targeted and relevant content. So, it stands to reason that this very same observation will translate into the voice-activated domain. Those who are verbally searching for a product or service are much more likely to use local terminology. Where can I find the best coffee in Birmingham? What is the best computer repair shop in London? Which company provides discount clothing in Brighton? Adding locally relevant keywords and phrases within content will, therefore, lead to higher inbound traffic and ultimately, more engaging content.
Try Not to Think and Write Like a Content Marketing Specialist
This might seem akin to instructing a bird not to fly. However, there is a definite method behind the madness. Consider these two search queries for a moment:
- Siri, I am looking for a bespoke content marketing solution to better leverage the efficacy of turnkey publicity campaigns.
- Siri, find me a content marketing specialist.
While the first statement might sound great within the annals of professional marketing, the fact of the matter is that no one actually speaks like that. Try to stay away from the habit of suffocating the client with technical terminology. It is much better to keep the material organic, engaging and straight to the point. The customer is more likely to be impressed with a higher ROI than through your syntactical knowledge base.
Optimising Content for Mobile Searches
Who, what, where, when, how, and why? These are the five simplest words which can work wonders if they are embedded within the existing content as much as possible. This arises from the fact that the majority of voice-activated searches are enacted on a mobile device. According to recent statistics, no fewer than 31 per cent of smartphone owners will utilise a voice search at least once every week. Leveraging the power of basic questions with the five queries mentioned above will enable your content to cater to those who are on the go.
Never Forget to Add Value
Voice-relevant SEO is still SEO. Although the mechanics are slightly different, the main principles are nonetheless the same. This is why value is critical if you hope to meet the needs of the client; regardless of the topic in question. Meta titles and descriptions, clear subtitles, using the proper tags, and a clear structure are some important formatting elements which should always be utilised. Furthermore, do not fall into the trap of writing only for the voice-friendly community. Let’s not fail to mention that plenty of individuals will still employ traditional search methods. You need to be able to embrace a well-rounded approach when curating content so that all bases are covered.
Might we witness a day when all online searches are carried out by voice? This is not likely to occur any time soon. However, it is still a fact that writers need to keep their eyes on the distant horizon if they hope to remain once step ahead of the marketing curve. User-friendly technology continues to advance, and there is little room for second-rate material in this day and age. The power of the spoken word has never been more relevant!
About our authorRon first arrived in Barcelona, Spain in 2007. Although initially pursuing a career in wealth management and finance, he quickly learned that the content writing community provided the highest level of professional satisfaction while still enabling him to personally help clients. He has been a full-time professional writer since 2011. Some of his other interests include martial arts and bodybuilding.