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SMX East Recap: Optimizing Content for Voice Search & Virtual Assistants
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it was more convenient to ask your mobile device a question instead of typing in your question to a search engine? You’re not alone. More and more people are relying on voice search—on their phones, in their cars, with their virtual assistants, and even in their fridges—to get them the information they’re looking for. With traditional search making the transition to voice search, how can you ensure your content is prepared?
In this session at SMX East 2016, three panelists, Purna Virji, Jennifer Slegg, and Tony Edward, share how to optimize content for voice search and what the future holds for voice search.
The Evolution of Voice Search
Over the past few years, we’ve begun seeing a transition from traditional search to voice search. Why is this? Purna Virji explained how people find voice search to be very convenient, especially in situations when:
- Typing is a challenge (driving, cooking, etc.)
- Users are looking for quick answers
- Users are otherwise occupied (watching TV, etc.)
Why is voice search becoming so popular? You can type 38 to 40 words per minute, but you can talk 110 to 150 words per minute. This makes voice search a much faster option than traditional search engines for those looking for quick answers.
In order to maximize your chances for showing up as an answer to a voice query, you need to:
- Rethink intent. With voice search, people are using natural language so the intent comes out much more clearly. Increase your odds of showing up in the listings by using structured data markup for things like contact information, reviews, articles, content, events, and anything else you can use schema for.
- Rethink actions. What are people trying to accomplish? If you’re on a desktop computer and search “I’m hungry” you’re going to get results that don’t actually help you end your hunger. If you use a voice search and say “I’m hungry” your mobile device will pull up a list of restaurants close to you.
- Rethink mobile actions. Voice search on mobile devices is 3x more likely to have location and local content so make sure your content is optimized for your geographic area.
Purna Virji ended her part of the presentation with one major piece of advice: “The time to adapt for voice search is right now.”
Content for the Voice Search Generation
So what’s the big deal? Why should marketers care about voice search? Consider these statistics:
- 20% of all mobile queries right now are voice search, and this number is only rising.
- Over half of U.S. teens and 41% of U.S. adults use voice search on a DAILY BASIS.
- There are 30x more action queries with voice search.
Now that we have your attention, let’s dive into some of Jennifer Slegg’s top tips for creating voice search friendly content.
Search queries are longer with voice search because we can speak so much faster than we can type. Because of this, conversational searches are much longer and more detailed than traditional search queries.
When creating content, think about your long tail keywords. This is the time to shine for less competitive queries—which is great for you because longer queries typically have much higher search intent and are more likely to convert! Use long tail keywords to make sure you are answering the questions that voice queries are asking. Almost 105 of search queries start with who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Optimizing Content for Voice Search & Virtual Assistants
Now you understand why optimizing content for voice search is important and we’ve shared some tips from the SMX speakers about how to create that content. But we’re not done sharing yet. Tony Edward has additional tips for optimizing for voice search:
- Build in-depth content that is structured well
- Leverage structure data markup
- Have a knowledge graph for your brand
Once these are covered, you need to figure out how to choose what content to create. Do this by talking to the customer service department. What are customers commonly asking? What are they confused about? Another way to get ideas is to use third party tools that aggregate search engine auto search suggestion topics. Ensure your content is structured well with headers, bulleted lists, or numbered lists.
I will leave you with this last bit of advice from Tony Edward: “Think about your strategy from a twofold perspective. You want to capture both brand AND generic terms.”
The Voice Search Speakers
Purna Virji, Senior Client Development and Training Specialist, Bing Ads, Microsoft
Jennifer Slegg, Editor, The SEM Post
Tony Edward, Senior SEO Manager, Elite SEM
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