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In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a lot to say about voice search. That’s hardly surprising: Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Voice Search – every major tech brand is looking to make voice search a big deal.
We’ve already covered why voice search isn’t going to cripple SEO methodologies, and in that article I pointed out that some websites would be more affected than others by this new approach, but usually only in a positive way.
Today, I’m going to look at what websites will be affected by voice search, and why that’s actually a good thing.
Once we’ve identified the website types that can seize this opportunity, I’ll also give you a quick overview of how you can make sure you’re making the most of your site’s interaction with voice search, through some voice search SEO basics.
I’ve touched on this before but it’s worth remembering: people use voice search differently to how they use other search features. In fact, voice search seems to be the answer to the kind of questions people don’t normally ask when using a search engine.
Voice search is used for a lot of applications that bear no relationship to the function of most sites. That’s why I told you not to panic in my last article.
That said, for certain sites, voice search can actually be a hugely useful resource.
Remember, one of the key things voice search is used for is direct questions with definite answers, including facts, conversions and definitions.
If you want to, you can leverage this and utilize voice search benefits to generate some key effects for your site:
PhoneBuff has created a great video that is aimed at voice search users, giving them cool ways to interact with the new technology and get the best from it.
I’ve looked at this information from the other end, and have subsequently identified 23 types of websites that can benefit from these kinds of user interaction.
If you run one of these types of websites, then you’ll find some useful information on voice search optimization based on the opportunities available, and get the best from this new kind of interaction.
Equally, you may be able to find inspiration for how you can adapt your existing site to be more voice search friendly.
Restaurants can benefit by listing their opening hours and their location data, to take advantage of searches like “places to eat near me” and “food places that are still open“.
By listing item availability online, individuals searching for “Shops selling X near me” will be connected with your store.
Cinemas and theatres can benefit by listing their show times and ticket prices online to get connected to customers through queries like “When is Spider-man showing?” and “Cheapest theatre shows near me”.
Travel sites can get listed by voice search by answering direct questions about travel, everything from “cheapest flights to Spain”, “where to go in Italy” to “best food in Mexico” will help you be the resource Voice Search turns to in order to answer user questions.
If you run a food review site, then include question terms in your review to get listed in voice search results. If someone asks “How good is the pizza at Marconi’s?”, you can provide that answer.
Similarly, if you publish movie reviews, you stand to benefit from including questions like “is Spider-Man: Homecoming worth watching?” in your review, as that’s what people will be asking their phones, and their phones will lead them to you for the answer.
You can benefit from contextualizing your data into answers to questions like “will it be raining tomorrow?”, before offering the chances of rain or the times it is most likely to rain.
When you ask things like “what time is it in Paris?” Google uses local time websites to provide the answer.
Dictionaries are not the only sites that can make use of definitions. Industry specific jargon often needs describing and defining, as do niche terms and even slang used by specific sub-cultures. Adding definitions to your site is a great way to build traffic.
If you run an entertainment site, some of the most popular voice searches are for celebrity trivia, including ages, spouses, children, film roles and more. By creating database of these facts you can answer these questions and build your brand visibility.
Statistics are a common subject of curiosity and something people will definitely use Voice Search to ask about. “How many cases of… per year” “chance of winning the lottery” and even broader things like “climate change facts” all benefit from statistics.
Voice search is commonly used for queries like “what are today’s headlines?”, getting more specific like “what’s new in technology today?” will help you get listed more highly for industry specific news.
A common query seen in voice search is the current value of a given stock price, so including the question terminology on your stock tracker pages will help you get listed.
People will often ask for traffic updates via voice search, so you can provide people with up to the minute incident reports for things like “accidents on the highway” or “congestion on my road”.
If you can answer questions like “what’s the score of last night’s game?” or “when do the Patriots play the Falcons?” then you’ll get listed.
Knowing the answer to “when is the next flight to LA?” will be very helpful to voice searchers, and you have that information.
A common voice search is “how much is a 12% tip for $124 bill?” so you can clean up by being able to provide the answer.
Similarly, in an increasingly globalized world, people are always looking to see how much their currency is worth internationally. “How much is X dollars in pounds?” is a common voice search.
As well as being useful for recipes “how do I make a beef wellington?” you can also be useful in unit conversion “how many grams of rice is a cup?”
Many calorie conscious people will look to find out the answer to things like “How many calories in 100g of steak vs 100g of tuna” in order to decide what to eat. You can help them make that decision.
If you carry information on holidays like Easter, Christmas, Eid, Kwanza, Passover and more, then you can answer queries like, “How many days until Christmas?”
One of the most common voice searches is “play *song* or *video*”, and being set up for voice search an enable you to be the platform chosen to play it from.
People commonly use voice search to ask for common phrases phrases in other languages, for instance, “What does Daijobu mean in English?” (it means ‘fine’ by the way).
So, now you have a good idea of the kind of sites that can benefit from voice search and how they can start to do so.
Now, I’m going take you through the single most important thing you can do to take advantage of voice search.
The most fundamental advantage you can get in harnessing the power of voice search is getting listed on Google Quick Answers.
In order to do so, there are three things you can do:
Mark up products as products, places as places. You have to help the machine learning get the information it needs as quickly and easily as possible.
Make sure you include the appropriate attributes. Make sure you incorporate your XML sitemaps and microdata into this approach. If this just confused the hell out of you, SEOPressor got you covered with our built-in Schema Creator.
If someone asks “What is negative SEO?” then an answer written “Negative SEO is…” will have a better shot. Even more so if it’s a short summary, with the option to find out more.
This is true of recipes, but it’s also true of technical procedures and many more.
Make sure you’re using a list whenever it’s appropriate. Lists also help you break information down and keep the individual steps short.
If you want more information on optimizing for voice search, Joanne has written a great brief on the subject that will give you plenty to use to get started.
Do you have any other recommendations for how to optimize for voice search, or do you run a website that has benefitted from the introduction of voice search already? If so, we’d love to know more. Drop your experiences in the comments section below for the benefit of our community.
Equally, if you have any questions about what I’ve covered here, the answers may be in the comments!
Updated: 25 March 2017