The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Content for Voice Search

It’s never been more critical for corporate marketing teams to optimize content for voice search. For most people, it’s just more convenient to ask Siri or Alexa.

No wonder that nearly half of all online searches occur by voice. It’s not only on mobile, though.

With Internet of Things (IoT) devices, laptops, and desktop computers joining the ranks of voice-searchable devices, that number is almost certain to rise. Since studies show that voice search is three times faster than typing, people can digest a lot more information in much less time.

No shocker, then, that 71 percent of consumers prefer voice search to typing.

optimize content for voice search - Oberlo data

Image via Oberlo

Learn how to optimize your content for voice, and your brand will be more likely to land at the top of voice search results for your products and services.

Optimize for Natural Language Searches

Let’s say that your company plans to open up a new market in Montreal. Naturally, they’ll need a local translation service that can translate all your amazing content into the French language. And naturally, the suits in the C-suite tasked you to find one because as a content marketer, you’re the word guy.

So, on your long carpool ride back to the suburbs after work, you pull out your mobile device. You want to save time and get back to gossiping with your buddies, so you ask Siri.

If you’re like most of us, you won’t say, “Hey, Siri! Translation service Montreal.” Instead, you’d say something like, “Hey Siri! Find me the highest-rated French translation service in Montreal.”

Those translation companies who took the time to optimize their content for natural-language voice searches are the ones that land on top. If you want your brand to be the one that lands above your prospects’ searches, take the time to:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive content audit.
  2. Update your past content with voice optimization in mind.
  3. Send a memo to your teams to never send a piece of content up for approval until they’ve optimized it for natural language searches.

It’s that important.

Work Voice into Your Keyword Research

Google’s Keyword Planner hasn’t quite caught up with the trend toward natural language search. So, instead of simply taking the list of keywords that it spits out and sprinkling them around your content, figure out how to rearrange those words the way people would actually say them while using voice search.

Don’t shy away from using really long-tail keywords. As Backlinko’s Brian Dean points out, keyword phrases of five or more words are normal for voice searches. Using them throughout your content is a good way to catch search engines’ attention.

Even better, use them in questions. There are, of course, excellent tools, such as BuzzSumo and Answer the Public, that you can use to create questions from your target keywords.

However, content collaboration with your sales and customer service teams can yield even better results. Since they hear all the questions prospects and customers ask about your products, it’s likely that these will be the questions people ask when searching for answers to their problems.

Of course, FAQ pages that contain these common questions are a must. But don’t limit this fruitful content strategy to FAQs.

Questions make great headlines for blog posts and ebooks as well. With Google’s relatively new “Featured Snippets” rollout, providing the best answer to common questions about your products almost guarantees that your content will appear at the very top of the page – and will be the only result that Alexa and Google Home will read aloud.

Not only do questions attract search engines’ interest, but they also pique the curiosity of your readers to click through and find the answer.

Answer these questions within your content with short, informative explanations. According to a Backlinko study, answers with fewer than 30 words are more likely to pass muster with Google. So, choose your words carefully.

Post Longer but Easily Readable Content

You would think that voice searches would rank shorter content over longer. After all, many voice searches occur while people are on the go.

But you’d be wrong. Blog post content that ranks high on voice search has an average word count of 2,312 words. Feel free to go crazy with the research and detail. Your voice search audience – and the search engines that find your posts – will love all the extra work you’ve put in.

That doesn’t mean that you should turn your blog posts into academic theses. Quite to the contrary. Posts that rank high on voice searches are easy to read, with a 9th-grade reading level or below.

So, drop the jargon, flowery text, and big words you think will make you look smart. They don’t, and they are a virtual death sentence for voice search.

Optimize Content for “Near Me” Voice Searches

Have you ever been running on fumes out in the middle of nowhere and not a gas station in sight? That’s happened to me more than once.

Years ago, I ended up having to call AAA. But my most recent episode had a better ending. I just shouted, “Hey, Siri! Where’s the nearest gas station?” And, voila, the app guided me in safely. And that local business, not its flashy competitor down the road, got my business.

If your company has franchises in multiple locations, you need to optimize each location’s content for “near me” searches. A local business’s lifeline is the volume of searches that put it at the top of local search results.

In fact, Google local searches have gotten so precise that they can provide your audience with neighborhood- and landmark-specific information. So, if someone is in the Terminal Tower area in Cleveland and craves Indian food, they can just ask their device, “Where’s the closest Indian restaurant near Terminal Tower,” and be munching on naan in no time.

So, be sure to include specific location information in your content. And, equally important, register your business with Google My Business and Bing Places for Business.

Finally, Optimize Your Videos for Voice Searches

Videos that answer your prospects’ voice search queries aren’t only good SEO. They’re a great way to position your business as a helpful expert in your field. After all, building trust in your business is the heart of content marketing.

First, Google often puts videos at the top of voice searches for information. With 54 percent of consumers wanting to see more videos from brands they support, it’s no wonder that Google gives them what they want.

Videos are great for showing prospects how to use your product to get the most value out of it. They’re also highly effective in showing how your services can help prospects solve problems.

If you’re an SEO optimization company, provide the best answer to “How do I increase my brand’s visibility?” in a how-to video. If you manufacture guitars, feature well-known guitarists in mini-video lessons that provide the best answer to “How can I improve my barre chord technique?”

The better you answer your audience’s questions with locally focused, easy-to-read, and detailed information that helps them improve their businesses or lives, the more likely your brand will rank well in voice search and the old-school kind.

Content planning for voice search might take some work, but it’s well worth the effort when you see your brand at the top of Google voice search results. There’s a way to simplify the process, though.

With a comprehensive content marketing platform like DivvyHQ, you can research, plan, collaborate on, schedule, publish, and analyze your content all in one place. Even better, you can try it for free with no obligation for 14 days. Get your free trial today!