Have your content ready to be found by voice search with tips and suggestions from Google.

With the latest technological advancements in natural language processing and artificial intelligence, the world can’t get enough of voice-enabled virtual assistants. According to Global Web Index, one out of five adults have used voice search in the last month on their mobile.

Alexa, SiriGoogle Assistant and Cortana are among the most popular digital assistants used in today’s voice searches. From AYTM, 45 percent of users who use AI personal assistants said they used Siri, 33 percent used Google Now, while 27 percent used Cortana and as much as 10 percent used Alexa or Amazon Echo.

45 percent of #AI assistant #users say they use #SiriClick To Tweet

In the U.S. alone, around 60.5 million people use voice search for basic tasks. Approximately 55% of teenagers and 41% of adults use the voice search at least once a day as found in a research conducted by Northstar Research commissioned by Google in 2014.

According to Search Engine Watch, Google voice search queries have increased by 35 times in 2016 compared to 2008. While in the last six months, 41% of people started to use voice search as reported by MindMeld.

In this video from January 2017, Moz is noticing the uptick in voice search but is unsure how it will affect SEO.

Since then, the numbers and statistics have gotten bigger. It wouldn’t be a surprise if voice search one day entirely replaces text-based searches.

Start Optimizing Your Content for Voice Search

As a marketer, you need to understand what voice search is all about. Here you’ll learn the basics of optimizing for it and also a bit about how it works technically.

After this article, you should be able to update and optimize your content for voice search. This will increase your page’s traffic and earn you more and more views as search continues to transition into the voice age.

Google’s John Mueller recently gave tips on optimizing content for voice search in a Webmaster Central Hangout on YouTube Live.

He warned about over optimizing and provided details on what type of content is not suitable.

Recently, Google has revealed Google Assistant’s screen-based UI for cars and Google Home speakers. With this, notices were sent to various publishers to advise them on how to optimize their content for Google Assistant.

Google Assistant is currently limited to specific types of content such as recipes, news, and podcasts.

It won’t be a shock if it expands to other kinds of content in the near future.

Knowing how to optimize your content for voice search is necessary for search marketing in this 2018.

Use Structured Data

Gary Illyes of Google advised publishers to use structured data for their websites at Pubcon Las Vegas last November.

Google is working out new features to release this 2018 that will take advantage of such structure. You can start by making your content compatible with voice assistant.

John Mueller suggested that you need to show what your page is all about and help Google understand your page easier.

Make sure you use structured data for your pages to assist Google in figuring out which types of voice queries will match.

Consider Voice Snippets

Mueller further suggested thinking of how your content will fit into voice snippets. Consider how your content will sound like when spoken out loud.

Ask yourself. Does it sound okay? Is the content enough to answer the question?

Put simply, give Google the kind of information that will work great with a voice snippet.

Another great tip to keep in mind is to consider how your content is organized. Take, for example, content placed in a table format or a larger block of text. These might not work well with voice assistants.

If your content can’t be read aloud but still make sense, it’s not a good candidate for voice search. Consider revising your content and read it aloud until it sounds great.

To help you visualize, imagine that you have a question whose answer is a list of links or a table. That won’t work well with voice searches.

Publish Easy to Read Content

Time and time again, keeping the users in mind has proven to be the best advice for creating content. In the end, you are trying to answer their questions. You need to be concise but still provide enough information.

In this age where search is shifting towards voice, easy to read content is essential.

John Mueller suggests providing a direct answer to a question then further making it obvious that the paragraph contains the answer. This approach helps voice assistants to find your content easier.

Some voice assistants try to match questions directly to the content. They look for web pages that have titles such as “what is the largest country” and then read its first paragraph.

Avoid Over Optimizing Your Content for Voice Search

As stated at the beginning of this article, it is best not to over optimize.

To give you an example: a web publisher wants to target voice search. He then proceeds to make single paragraph web pages.

For Google, this approach is overdoing it and only creates a site with short answers for a variety of questions.

This scenario results in a website with a series of pages that have a really low value.  They don’t have enough information since it only targets a single specific query.

This direction is very shortsighted when it comes to content optimization for voice search.

Instead, have an explicit or obvious shorter section of a longer webpage that answers a particular question. Use the most searched-for questions when searching what answers to feature.

Takeaways

All in all, the big takeaways here are:

  1. Use Structured Data.
  2. Make content that sounds natural and intelligent when you read it aloud.
  3. Think of how you will deliver your content when you are targeting for voice search. Avoid a page full of links only or data presented on large tables.
  4. Create content that makes sense for the user and avoids over optimizing for voice search.

Write Natural and Quality Content

John Mueller then finishes with an encouragement to write naturally and to provide quality content.

Focus on making content that is easily understood by Google and other search engines. Check and double check if your content is written in a manner that can be read aloud.

If you write naturally and aim to answer queries in a precise manner, voice can pick up your content.

What are your tips and techniques for optimizing content for voice search?

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