How to Optimize Content for Voice Search

Progress implies forward movement, and if you can’t adapt, then you run the risk of falling by the wayside. It seems like every year the best practices for SEO change and this year is no different. The hot topic for 2017 is voice search. The SEO world is all abuzz on how to optimize content for voice search. How will it affect traffic? Do you need to change our content format? What about the articles already published on your site?

google voice search how to optimize content for voice searchI’m going to give you the bottom line here at the beginning and then explain it in more depth.

Voice search returns the same results as a keyboard search IF you optimize your articles so Google can categorize them.

How to Write SEO Content

When you write your articles, you have two audiences: search engines and your clients. I preach this and preach that, and it seems that people only consider one or the other. They are of equal importance, and you have to know the rules for reaching both of them.

Ranking on Google

Please remember that Google is nothing more than a computer program. We tend to characterize it as a person with superpowers, but it’s nothing but code. There is no subjectivity. Google scans your site, looking for keywords in specific places and whichever words it finds is how it categorizes your material. The accompanying text is used to decipher the meaning of your words.

For instance, “carpenter” relates to bees, woodworking, and even a music group. Without the associated text, it would be next to impossible for Google to determine what you want to say.

Knowing where to place keywords and related phrases are the basis of any good SEO strategy. There is more to it, but that is the basic, must-have, for your web content to rank on Google.

How to Optimize Content for Voice Search

Remember when I told you that voice search returned the same results as a keyboard search. I didn’t lie, but I might have simplified things a bit too much. If you have written in-depth and informative articles, you are ready to go. There is no need for changes, and you should do well with voice search.

However, if your articles are shallow and only contain a single keyword, you are going to miss out. When people use voice search, they use more words. So, search strings are longer and more complicated. About the only way to cover all the possible word combinations is to write a lot of content and let Google sort it out.

Let’s go back to the “Carpenter” example. Pretend your website markets old records. You have this Karen Carpenter album in mint condition that you are dying to sell. 

Your content writer puts together a biography of the singer, along with a list of her songs, and then describes the album. Google now knows that “Carpenter” refers to the singer. It also relates the singer to her songs and the album. The final bonus is that Google ties your site into all this information. So, when someone picks up their mobile phone and queries:

Hey Google, where can I can get Karen Carpenter’s album such and such?

Your website comes up in the search results. You did not need to write content with that exact phrase. However, you did need to include enough information for Google to put it all together.

There are several other things you can do to improve SEO for voice search but they involve a lot of technical know-how and for the average person, just attending to the basics is all you need. It’s an investment of time and effort but worth it in the end.

SEO is Changing

Yes, SEO is changing, and for the first time, I think it’s changing for the better. Content that is rich with information will rank higher in Google. Also, it will help with customer retention. Search results continue to be more relevant no matter how you enter your query. So, how do you optimize content for voice search? You write, and write, and write – lots of good content that benefits everyone.

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Julian Aston