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How Will Voice-Activated Searches Affect Your SEO?

The number of voice-activated searches is increasing all the time, and it’s expected to skyrocket in 2020. As users change the way they use search engines, it’s essential to update your optimisation techniques too.

When users make an audible, or voice-activated, query, the way they search for information changes. A text search may be made up of a few keywords, for example, whereas a voice-activated search is typically longer. Compare these two examples:

Text-based Google search:

‘Best Mexican restaurant London’

Voice-activated Google search:

‘Assistant, where’s the best Mexican restaurant in London?’

Although the user wants to access the same information, the data they’re inputting is different. As you can see, the way users search for information varies depending on what methods they use.

Of course, Google and other search engines are modifying their algorithms accordingly. This inevitably means you’ll need to adapt the way you’re optimising your webpages. If you want to maintain or increase your rankings, it’s vital you recognise this shift in search behaviour.

Incorporating voice-activated searches into your SEO

As user behaviours evolve, SEO follows. We’ve already adapted to encompass mobile device usage and location-based searches. Now it’s time to include voice activated searches in our repertoire. To this, you’ll need to know what factors search engines a prioritising in relation to voice-activated searches.

Once you know the ranking criteria or algorithms used, you can ensure your web pages rank highly for voice-based searches. So, what matters when it comes to audible searching?

Unsurprisingly, the jury’s still out on all the ranking factors for voice-activated searches. Google and other search engines are notoriously secretive when it comes to releasing their ranking factors, which makes it trickier for websites to secure the top spots on search engine results pages (SERPs). However, we do know some of the critical factors that will affect your rankings for audible searches. When you’re optimising your webpages for voice-activated searching, you’ll want to consider the following:

Amp up content marketing

As well as appealing to text-based searches, your content is going to have to rank highly for word-based queries too. Understanding how these two types of searches vary will, naturally, impact how you word your content.

As well as ranking highly for ‘Best Mexican restaurant London’, for example, you’ll need to ensure your content features for ‘Where’s the best Mexican restaurant in London?’, too. Achieving this will require a change in your content marketing strategy.

You’ll need to modify your existing content to ensure it facilitates voice-activated searches and produce new content to ensure both forms of searching are catered for. Going forward, you’ll want to use content that it capable of making your webpages rank highly across multiple types of searches.

Enhance Featured snippets

A well-crafted featured snippet gives you the opportunity to answer voice-activated queries. Use a featured snipped to summarise the answer your webpage provides and you’ll rank more highly for voice-based searches.

The average voice-activated search result in 29 words long. To maximise the effect, keep your featured snippet below this word count and ensure it’s above the fold. You’ll need to make sure you long-tail keyword is included in your featured snippet, as this will certainly affect your rankings.

However, your featured snippet doesn’t have to be a block of text. Google likes H-tags, bullet points and lists, so add these to your featured snippets where you can. A comprehensive featured snipped confirms the quality and relevance of your content in Google’s eyes. As a result, the search engine will offer your content to users when they search for related terms. In other words, your featured snipped can enable you to rank more highly on SERPs, particularly when it comes to voice-activated searches.

Focus on location

Almost a quarter of voice-activated searches look for location-based content. The rise of ‘near me’ searching has affected text-based queries but it’s showing real dominance in relation to audible searches.

When you’re optimising your content to rank more highly for voice-activated searches, be sure to make ‘near me’ searching and location-based content your first priorities. For bricks and mortar businesses, in particular, the use of ‘near me’ searching is a fantastic way to grab custom and increase your market share.

The increased accuracy of location-relevant searches means that users are using this method of searching more frequently. As AI continues to evolve, the data available for location-related queries will only increase. This means users will be able to access even more accurate data via this type of voice-activated search.

By incorporating ‘near me’ searching and local content into your webpages, you can satisfy user demands and meet Google’s expectations. In short, optimising your webpages for audible ‘near me’ searching will get you to the top of the rankings.

Monitoring voice-activated search rankings

We already know that monitoring and analysing your website’s performance is the key to enhancing your SEO. By researching trends, keywords and ranking statistics, you can successfully improve your campaign’s results. So, the same should be true for voice-activated searches, right?

Well, yes and no. Of course, analysing the data produced by voice-activated search results will give you critical insights into ranking algorithms, performance and marketing ROI. However, the tools to analyse voice-activated searches aren’t readily available to users just yet.

Whilst you can access some voice-based search analytics, these are nowhere near as comprehensive or detailed as the data available for text-based searching. Fortunately, help is at hand. With experienced SEO experts monitoring, analysing and enhancing your campaigns, you can use the latest industry programs to access the data you need.

With the information, SEO specialists will craft innovative and effective campaigns. The result? Bespoke marketing activity which makes you stand out from the crowd. Satisfying users and search engines, your search engine optimisation will successfully boost your profile in relation to text and voice-activated searches.

To find out more about optimising your site for voice-activated searches in 2020, contact ClickSlice now on 020 3287 3638.

Article by:

Joshua George is the founder of ClickSlice, an SEO Agency based in London, UK.

He has eight years of experience as an SEO Consultant and was recently hired by the UK government for SEO training. Joshua also owns the best-selling SEO course on Udemy, and has taught SEO to over 100,000 students.

His work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, AgencyAnalytics, Wix and lots more other reputable publications.