In the ‘60s, the TV show “Star Trek” would often have the protagonists talking to a computer system called the LCARS, an acronym for Library Computer Access/Retrieval System. Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock would ask LCARS for all kinds of information – from the origins of the enemy ship or the Enterprise’s distance from the next galaxy – and the computer would give the answers in a female’s voice.
What was thought of as the stuff of science fiction back in the day has now become part of daily life. Every day consumers, not starship captains and their half-Vulcan chief scientists, do voice searches on their smartphones to find the information they need.
Instead of LCARS, we have Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies Siri from Apple and Alexa from Amazon. And yes, they respond in a female’s voice.
If you have a WordPress website running your business on the Internet, consider enabling it for voice search. However, it’s not as simple as equipping the website with voice recognition software, and away you go.
Your WordPress website must be optimized for voice search in order for your content to rank highly in the voice search results.
In this article, we’ll explain why you need voice search optimization for your website and how to go about it without drastically changing your current SEO strategy.
What Is Voice Search Optimization And Why It’s Important For Your WordPress Website
Voice search optimization is the process of using different strategies and techniques to make it easier for voice search technologies and virtual assistants to identify, index, and include your content in the voice search results whenever verbal inquiries are made.
Having voice search available on your WordPress website is a smart business decision because more people are using voice to find information on the Internet. For many, verbalizing an inquiry is faster and more convenient than typing it in a query box.
In the United States, it was estimated that in 2020, 128 million Americans, or roughly 44.2% of Internet users preferred to use voice search over text search.
The popularity of voice search has carried over to US households where around 200 million residences have voice-enabled and virtual assistant-intelligent smart speakers that perform functions ranging from Internet search to powering up entertainment devices.
Enabling your website with voice search capabilities will help your business get found by this growing market of online consumers. Similar to text search optimization, optimized voice search will improve the chances of your content getting found.
Is Voice Search Optimization Different From Text Search Optimization?
Yes. How you type an inquiry in a search query box is different from how you verbalize an inquiry to voice recognition software.
If you’re planning a vacation to Disneyland with your family, you might type in:
“Disneyland hotels nearby”
However, if you give the same inquiry to Siri verbatim, you might not get the specific answers you’re looking for.
In the text query, “Disneyland” and “hotels” are the main and secondary keywords while “nearby” is the geo-keyword. With these keywords, Google will be able to index content that meets your inquiry.
To generate more accurate results, you can edit your search as follows:
- “Disneyland best hotels nearby”
- “Disneyland cheap hotels nearby”
- “3 star Disneyland hotels anaheim”
- “Best hotels Disneyland park USA”
- “Cheap hotels Disneyland park USA”
You won’t get better results with Siri or Alexa if you talk to them that way. And that is the main keyword – “talk”.
When you’re performing a voice search, you have to phrase the search in a conversational manner. It’s really like talking to the AI virtual assistant as if it was human.
So with Siri, you’ll run your voice search this way:
“Hey, Siri. Can you give me a list of the best hotels near Disneyland in Anaheim, California?”
Google has recognized the increasing use of voice search. In response, the search engine giant tweaked its algorithm to understand the intent and not just index relevant web pages through keywords.
After reading this, you might be worried that you’ll have to overhaul your entire SEO strategy. The good news is that you won’t have to.
In the next section, we’ll give you tips on how to optimize your WordPress website for voice search without veering off the SEO course.
5 Tips To Optimize Your WordPress Website For Voice Search
If you have experience applying SEO techniques or have a rudimentary understanding of the principles of optimization, you won’t have any difficulty adjusting your current SEO strategy to accommodate voice search.
The use of high-ranking, high-search volume keywords remains a key component of the voice search optimization strategy. Just keep in mind what we discussed in the previous section. It’s all about having a conversation with the computer.
1. Prioritize Long-Tail Keywords
The use of long-tail keywords involves launching a search query made up of 3 to 5 words. Think of it as sending out a “keyword phrase”.
The purpose of using long-tail keywords is to retrieve search results that are more closely relevant, accurate, or specific to the needs of the searcher.
Let’s go back to our suggested list of search queries for Disneyland hotels from the previous section. You’ll note that the search parameters of the edited inquiries are more defined and specific.
However, you cannot present these long-tail keywords as they are written on your content because they’re grammatically incorrect. Instead, you can use these 2 approaches:
A. Include the main keyword and secondary keyword in the sentence.
For example, in the long-tail keyword search phrase “Disneyland cheap hotels nearby”, the main keyword is “Disneyland”, the secondary keywords are “cheap hotels”, and the geo-keyword is “nearby”.
If you’re a travel blogger and writing a guide about planning a Disneyland vacation, you can include the keywords in key sections of the blog as follows:
- Title: “How To Plan a Cheap Vacation to Disneyland”
- First Sentence of the First Paragraph: “You can enjoy the magic of Disneyland without breaking the bank and experience a wonderful vacation at one of the cheap hotels nearby.”
- At Least Twice in the Main Body: “Disney Explorers Lodge is one of the hotels located nearby the Disneyland resort and it’s surprisingly cheap.”
- Conclusion: “The food at Disneyland might be expensive but you can make up for it by staying at one of the cheap hotels nearby.”
B. Use the long-tail keywords to ask a question.
Phrasing the long-tail keywords as questions is an effective strategy because that’s how you formulate your search query to the AI or voice software.
To come up with the right questions, lead-off with “Who”, “What”, “How”, “Why”, and “When”. Find out the most frequently asked questions by site users or people interested in the topic.
You can use these keyword questions as subheadings in your content:
- “What Are The Best Cheap Hotels Nearby Disneyland?”
- “How Much Will A Cheap Hotel Nearby Disneyland Cost?”
- “Why Is Staying In a Cheap Hotel Nearby Disneyland A Good Idea?”
- “When Is The Best Time to Find a Cheap Hotel Nearby Disneyland?”
Put yourself in the shoes of the searcher. If you want to find out what the best cheap hotels are in Disneyland from Siri, how would you ask Siri the question?
Remember: Google has revised its algorithm to strongly consider search intent. As long as the keywords are used in ways that make it easy for the search bots to match the relevance of your content to the intent of the verbal query, your content will be found.
2. Adopt a Conversational Style for Your Content
“Conversational” will be a recurring word throughout this article because that’s the critical element to optimizing your website for voice search.
Similar to having a conversation with a friend or even a stranger on the street, unless your question contains all of the necessary information, the person you’re talking to might not understand you completely.
To get found, indexed, and retrieved, your content must “make sense” to voice search.
Adopt a conversational style when creating content. Avoid the trap of trying to impress your audience by using technical jargon. It’s understood that you’re the expert in this conversation and that the audience wants to learn from you.
If voice search or the AI can’t make heads or tails of your content in microseconds, your webpage won’t get indexed and included in the voice search results.
For example, your website sells melatonin gel capsules. People who are searching for melatonin gel capsules are those who have a hard time falling asleep.
In this case, the primary keywords are “melatonin gel capsules” and the secondary keywords will be “sleep”, “sleep fast”, and “insomnia”. You won’t show up in the voice search results if you have the following copy on your website:
“A disruption in the Circadian Rhythm Cycle, as well as episodes of Cataplexy that is a symptom of Narcolepsy, are factors that affect sleep patterns and are best remedied by a regular intake of melatonin gel capsules.”
The copy is too long and contains technical terms. Unless the AI is Mr. Spock, it won’t be evaluated by voice search as conversational.
A more effective, voice search-friendly copy would be one of these versions:
- “Our melatonin gel capsules contain 3mg of high-quality melatonin that will put you to sleep fast.”
- “If you have insomnia, you only need to take one of our melatonin gel capsules to get to sleep fast.”
- “If you’re having trouble getting sleep because of insomnia, take one of our melatonin gel capsules.”
The primary and secondary keywords are used in the sentences and are written conversationally.
A good practice to follow is to write in a manner that replicates an actual conversation with a person. How would you phrase or articulate your ideas? You want to make sure your information is understood clearly by the person you’re talking to.
Another practice you can do is role-reversal. Put yourself in the computer seat of your audience. How would you like your content to be comprehended by the person reading it?
3. Improve Site Performance and Responsiveness
As we mentioned earlier, Google adjusted its algorithm to accommodate the growing number of voice users. However, Google’s search algorithm ranking factors are intact.
Mobile responsiveness, navigability, and site speed remain crucial ranking factors.
27% of Internet users who prefer voice search run their inquiries through their smartphones. If your website doesn’t adjust to the latest innovations of mobile technology, it won’t be included in the voice search results.
Site speed and navigability are 2 ranking factors that Google considers very important for user experience. If your webpage doesn’t download faster than 3 seconds and if the interface appears confusing or disorganized, Google won’t recommend it to the users of voice search.
For this reason, it’s important to have a website maintenance schedule to make sure it’s performing at optimal levels. A website maintenance program will run an audit to check if the plugins of your WordPress website are updated.
4. Add Schema Markup
Schema markup is a type of code that’s included in your website HTML. Its purpose is to help Google better understand what your website is all about. The greater the level of understanding gained by the search engines about your website, the higher the probability that it will appear in the voice search results.
What types of information are needed by Schema Markup?
- Operating hours
- Email address
- Contact numbers
- Product information
- Product reviews and ratings
The more information that your website provides, the greater the chances of the search engines assessing it as relevant to verbal inquiries.
5. Don’t Forget Local SEO
You get home after a long day from work and your dog is whining instead of wagging its tail and jumping all over you. He’s hungry and you find out you’re out of dog food.
You whip out your phone and go:
“Hey, Siri. Is there a pet food store near me?”
Pet food store owners with incomplete information in their local search directories will not be included in Siri’s voice search.
Don’t forget local SEO which is the process of improving the visibility of your business within a locality or region.
Registering your business in an online search directory such as Google Business Profile, Map Quest, and Big is a proven strategy for getting found in local searches.
However, you must make sure that the information provided in the directory is updated and accurate.
Prepare your website for the wave of the future by optimizing it for voice search. More consumers will shift to voice as their preferred medium for searching on the Internet.
It’s easier and faster to verbalize a search query than to type it with a keypad. And because long-tail keywords better define the parameters of the search, the results page will feature web pages that are more relevant to the inquiries of the consumer.
Lastly, optimizing a website for voice search isn’t complicated. The principles of optimization remain the same. The focus is mostly on the type and quality of content.
Let’s optimize your website for voice now. Give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll draw up a voice search optimization strategy specifically for your business.
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