Impact of Voice Search on SEO rankings in 2020: 5 Tips to Optimize

Think back — or imagine.

It’s the mid-1900s. You’re on a work trip to a new location. You’re starving.

How do you find a place to eat?

Your options include a physical map, and maybe if you’re lucky, you run into a stranger who can give you a recommendation.

Now let’s fast forward a few decades and alas — the world gifts you the internet. But the world doesn’t stop there.

Soon after, the world gives you the internet through a portable device — your mobile phone. How equipped are you now to find a place to eat?

And if things couldn’t get any better. Now the world’s given you voice search.

What is a voice search?

Voice search is a convenient alternative to traditional text-based searches.

Now, twiddling your thumbs for an answer is more convenient than figuring your way around a physical map. But let’s face it — We’re now in the 20th century and searching for answers through text-based queries isn’t the most convenient thing.

We needed a more natural search — because we are searching while we’re trying to exercise or do the dishes. What’s a step above text-based queries on the convenience scale? Well, something hands-free. And that’s where voice search comes in.

Voice search became a thing, and now there are about one billion voice searches done per month. We know voice search is growing at a super-fast rate because of the convenience factor. But how does this affect SEO rankings in 2020?

5 Ways to Optimize SEO Rankings with Voice Search

  1. Optimize for questions.

Compared to text-based queries, voice queries are more likely to be in a question format. This not only means that you need the best answers, but it means you need to know the right questions. What are the right questions? The questions your audience is asking, of course.

When looking for coffee, consider the query from a typical text searcher :

“bar miami.”

Now consider the query from a voice searcher:

“What’s the best bar in Miami?”

Make sure to optimize your website and content to answer the more specific questions.

If you need some help learning what your audience is asking, there is plenty of resources out there. One way to learn is by using tools like FAQFox, which allows you to see what your target audience is asking just by answering a few questions yourself.

2. Optimize local SEO.

Compared to a text-based search, voice search on mobile is 3x more likely to be local-based. On top of that, between 2018-2019, 58% of consumers found local businesses using voice search.

You don’t need a degree in statistics to understand that it’s so crucial to optimizing local SEO in 2020. You can do this by learning it on your own or by looking for a local online SEO services agency in your area. If you’re looking to do it on your own, a few quick things you can do is to make sure your business address is displaying correctly on search engines and to learn about structured data and schema mark-up.

3. Answer questions directly and conversationally.

A shift to a more natural language has become evident with voice search. With voice search, people conversationally ask questions, as if talking to a friend. Conversational voice means the user wants and expects answers back in the same way.

Can you imagine you meet a lady who owns a yoga studio, and you ask her, “Hey, what are the health benefits of yoga?” and she replies, “Yoga has lots of health benefits. So many successful people do it. Here’s my business card. It has a link to my website where you can watch a 15-minute video on why you should do yoga.”

Kind of annoying, right? You still don’t have an answer to your question.

You have a million and one things competing for your attention, so you most likely will either stop caring about the answer to that question or look elsewhere for a quick response.

In an analysis of 850,000 queries, it shows that Google served a direct answer 19.5% of the time, so there’s an apparent preference by Google for immediate responses. Don’t beat around the bush with the answers to the questions your audience is asking.

Don’t be a Yoga girl.

4. Use long-tail keywords.

It’s no secret that it’s harder and longer to type than it is to talk. So naturally, voice searches tend to be longer than text-based searches.

Think about the past. If you were searching for coffee, you’d put in a query similar to “coffee best.” Now since talking is easier, you’re more likely to put in a longer question such as “where’s the best coffee in Miami?”

Use this to your advantage and make sure to include these longer tailed keywords in your site. This can be something simple like “We’ve been told that we’re the best coffee in Miami.”

And don’t forget, people expect answers quickly, so if you provide solutions by making them have to jump through hoops to find what they’re looking for, they won’t like you. And if your audience doesn’t like you, Google will not like you. If Google doesn’t like you, you won’t rank favorably in the search pages.

5. Make your site secure.

There are so many benefits for making your site secure (HTTP vs. HTTPS), but I’ll list only two of them as it appeals to SEO:

  • Over 65% of the results from voice search are websites that are HTTPS.
  • HTTPS makes your site faster, which is a super important factor in SEO.

Need I say more?

I believe not.

Final Thoughts

It’s no secret that we love convenience. Trends prove this. Just think about Uber, Amazon, and Airbnb. What do they all have in common?

They’ve made things more convenient for you and everyone with voice-search. Now, think of voice search as the Uber of the search industry. Voice search will revolutionize SEO in 2020 and moving forward.

Now you know five ways to capitalize on the voice search movement. Don’t try to do all five right away; just pick one and get started today.

Harmanjit Kaur

Currently, I am a Senior Client Reputation Engineer at Ambiente Technologies. Working closely with the big box agencies, I learned digital marketing tactics for a plethora of business niches. With over 4+ years of experience in Digital Marketing, I specialize in content development, content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization.

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