By 2020, experts predict that voice search on platforms like Siri, Alexa, and Google Home will account for 50% of all search queries. Down the road, when smart speakers and home assistant technologies are as commonplace as landlines once were, that number will only increase.
Some businesses will wait until those days come to really invest in voice search SEO, but the forward-thinking marketers who want to be prepped for the wave before it hits are going to learn how to optimize for voice search now, in 2018, before it’s too late.
Optimize Your Local Listings
Voice searches are almost primarily on mobile devices, and 86% of “near me” searches come from mobile devices as well. Which means that having accurate, up to date, and consistent local listings are as important as ever when it comes to ranking in voice search. If you haven’t already, be sure to exceed the number and quality of the local citations of your top competitors to ensure that Google bot is seeing your business in the best light possible.
Add as Much Microdata as You Can
Microdata, also referred to as schema, consists of special HTML tags to help search engines better understand the type of information your page contains. They are always an important factor in SEO, but especially so when optimizing for voice search.
Unlike a typical search engine, in which the user can browse through many different results, voice search is often conducted hands-free, with the answer being spoken by Siri or Alexa. Optimizing your microdata gives you a better chance of landing in one of Google’s featured snippets, and thus being the answer of choice for the searcher’s digital assistant of choice.
Answer Questions Your Audience is Asking
While text searches tend to focus on shorter keywords like “best plumber in Port Richey,” voice search lends itself to long tail conversational search queries, such as “Who can I call in Port Richey to get my toilet fixed?”
In fact, a large percentage of voice searches related to your business is likely going to be in the form of questions, so brainstorming these longer inquiries from customers and building out individual pages to answer them is an ideal way to optimize for voice search. Alternatively, a categorized FAQ page could work provided it is properly marked up with microdata to remain easily parsable by search engines.