Updated: Jan 31
More and more people are now using their literal voices to search for content and information, as a result of voice-to-text search becoming more popular on search engines such as Google. It’s fast, easy, and allows anyone – even children who cannot yet spell – to search for their favorite content.
Voice search is steadily growing to dominate the market, and is always changing.
As a content creator, you may be wondering how these changes and modernizations affect will voice search optimization in 2020 – do you need to do anything differently with your online content? And, if so, what?
We’ve done the research for you so you can harness your content’s full potential in the midst of rapidly changing search methods. Spoiler alert: It’s not hard to implement and will give you an amazing return on your time investment.
The Basics of Voice Search Optimization in 2020
Voice search is just what it sounds like – using one’s voice to search for content, instead of physically typing in search terms on a keyboard. You may be wondering how exactly this makes a difference: do you really need to change the way you optimize?
The answer is yes.
When voice searching, a person is less likely to search for a few relevant keywords in sequence (Imagine the awkwardness of just saying “content 2020” aloud!) as they might on a keyboard. Instead, when voice searching, people are more likely to phrase their search as a full sentence question, such as “What content should I focus on in 2020?” as if they were addressing a friend. It’s likely that more words will be used, because one doesn’t have to type out anything extra – instead, it can be searched, literally, by word of mouth. So, what does this mean for you as a content creator or marketer? Besides avoiding the basic content writing pitfalls, enter the art of long tail keywords: one of the most important methods to optimize for voice search.
Short tail keywords are one-word search terms, such as “content.” Long tail keywords, which are much more likely to be searched by voice, are multiple-word search terms such as “marketing content in 2020.” Optimizing for more long tail keywords and less short tail keywords will do wonders in helping voice searchers find your content – and sticking around to read it.
Into the Nitty-Gritty
You may be wondering how else you can optimize for voice search besides optimizing for long tail keywords and writing quality content – and the good news is, the list of ways goes on and on. Usually, when people sit down and type in their search terms on a keyboard, they have a little more time to browse for answers, and thus may be more tolerating of slower loading times. However, when someone uses voice search, they generally want answers faster – think proving a point to a friend after a long debate – and will quickly leave your site if the answers aren’t loading fast enough.
For this reason, working on your website’s load times can make a huge difference in the hits you get from voice search. There are many ways to do this, from plugins to limiting the amounts of high-volume images on a given page. Regularly test your website’s load times from a variety of search engines and strive to improve them.
Another way to improve your voice search optimization in 2020 is to optimize local content. Many of the searches popular now are “___ near me,” whether it be law offices, consulting firms, restaurants, or gas stations. Registering your local business online and including keywords based on location can drastically improve your voice search rankings. Think about it: When you are driving frantically in search of a gas station, you aren’t going to look down at your phone and type your query into a search bar – that’s what you have voice search for. By saying “gas stations near me” into your smartphone, you will return many options useful to you right now – and knowing this is essential as a content writer.
While there are many great ways to optimize specifically for voice search, many of the tried-and-true SEO methods for typed queries still apply. After all, the act of searching is the same – it’s simply the search terms and desired results that change.
XML sitemaps are a great example of a way to improve your voice search optimization in 2020 that also works for regular SEO. Sitemaps are, in short, little maps of your site that help Google and other search engines crawl your content and find results that fit searchers’ needs. Without them, Google may have trouble determining what your content is about and matching it to searchers’ inquiries, leading to less hits. Be sure your website always has an up-to-date sitemap to keep Google, and thus, your audience, in the loop!
Why Voice Search Optimization is Crucial
Voice search is crucial because it is the future. As people yearn for faster, easier, and more efficient methods of finding information, voice search appears to be the latest best option. It saves time, effort, and allows searchers to literally ask the internet a question as they might ask a friend. Ensuring your content is ready for voice search is crucial to making sure it stays relevant to your audience – and that they can easily find it.
By using the methods outlined here, you can easily make your content rank higher in voice searches and help your audience find it faster with less hassle. This means more readership and more return on your investments into your business. And, as made clear by this post, many of the ways you can optimize for voice search will actually benefit keyboard search and vice versa! Ensuring your content is optimized for different types of searches gives you access to a broader audience and more opportunity to make an impact.
Comment down below with your favorite voice search optimization methods, as well as what works for you and what doesn’t! What is your favorite way to optimize in 2020?