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Voice Search Optimization To Increase Relevance and Ranking

Last updated: Jan 24, 2023

Voice Search Optimization To Increase Relevance and Ranking
Cover image: Illustration of voice search, which is a verbal search feature on search engines. Find out how to do it in this guide.

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Voice search has been widely used in today's web surfing activities. As a user, you may also prefer hands-free technology to search, right? This technology offers convenience to its users.

The search results displayed on the SERP will certainly be different from usual because the Google engine processes the voice into a complete query. Then, how do you get your page to sit on top of the results of user-entered voice processing?

Read this guide carefully to understand how voice search works and how to optimize it.

user performing voice search
Figure 1: Illustration of a user doing a search with voice search. The voice search feature is increasingly being used because it makes it easier for users to search.

Voice search is a feature on search engines that allows users to perform verbal searches. While the technology is still relatively new, its users are growing very rapidly.

This is because users tend to avoid physical contact during the pandemic. The convenience offered by searches done using voice means that users don't have to bother opening their smartphones and typing in keywords to search.

Google is also trying to answer this changing trend by continuing to develop Google Voice Search technology so that this feature not only recognizes voices but also understands them.

As an SEO specialist, using the search by voice feature is recommended as part of your SEO strategy. By optimizing it, your website will be easier to find through typed or verbal searches. 

How Google Voice Search Works

User behavior when searching using verbatim will be much different than when doing manual searches. The difference can be seen in the search pattern, the choice of search queries used, and so on.

This difference in user behavior makes voice searches work differently than traditional searches. Fortunately, Google's algorithm is constantly evolving to provide users with the most relevant and quality search results.

With the development of algorithms, the way Google Voice Search works can better adapt to search patterns and user behavior. Here are some of the algorithms in the feature:

Spelling Correction

There are several vocabularies with similar pronunciations but different meanings. Examples are the words "Desert'" and "Dessert". The use of this type of vocabulary can make the search results not reflect what the user wants to search for.

However, users can clarify search results by spelling the word as "d-e-s-e-r-t". That way, Google's algorithm will understand the user's search intent so that the results displayed will be more accurate.

Paying Attention to Previous Searches

One of the search patterns that users often use when performing voice searches is to connect queries from previous searches. Google Voice can understand search patterns such as those in the scenarios below.

As an example, a user searches "Where is Monas located?" followed by searching "How is the traffic?" using verbal commands. The search engine’s algorithm will automatically recognize the intent of the second question by considering the former search.

It should be understood that Google cannot answer advanced searches like this if they are not preceded by a search that provides context. For instance, someone asks, "how is the traffic?" verbally using the smartphone. The answers provided by the search engine will not be able to be displayed right away on the search results.

Advanced searches must also match the context of the previous search. Google will not be able to answer the search "traffic jam" if the previous search was "Who is the president of Indonesia?".

Paying Attention to User Location

The Google Voice algorithm uses the user's location to understand the context of the search. When the user's device location is enabled, Google can provide search results according to the context of the location.

For example, if you are in Central Jakarta and search for "Location of the nearest gym around here" then Google can understand that the meaning of the word "around here" is your current location, namely Central Jakarta.

Considering Context

Google Voice relies on context when presenting search results to users. There are still several other contexts used by Google Voice besides location and previous searches. These examples include the profile of the user and the information currently displayed on the smartphone's screen.

voice search optimization
Figure 2: Screenshot of Google Voice Search on a desktop device. You need to do SEO optimization for voice search so that your website can appear in the results.

As previously explained, voice searches have a different way of working and different algorithms than manual searches. This is because users of each type of search have different behaviors.

Typically, users who perform voice searches want answers that are short and instant. They also search for something complex because it is easier to describe something verbally than to type in keywords.

This difference requires you to do special optimization so that the organic traffic from the search can be obtained as efficiently as possible. Here are some SEO tips for voice search that you can apply to your website:

Voice search users tend to use question sentences or a complex query when searching. For example, users will use complete question sentences such as "Where is the cafe that is open for 24 hours in Jakarta?".

Of course, this kind of search query is rarely used by users in manual search because it takes a lot of time and effort to type the query. The verbal command makes it easier for users to search for something complex and specific.

Therefore, long-tail keywords and question keywords are very suitable to be targeted if you want to optimize voice search. Using these two types of keywords can make your content more relevant to voice searches.

As a tip, use interrogative sentences with question words like (what, who, where, when, how much, and, how) as the target keyword.

Focus on Conversational Keywords

Another user behavior that you need to pay attention to when doing keyword research has to do with how users pronounce conversational sentences to search for something. Users will think of themselves as talking to other humans when doing a search verbally.

This is a unique behavior and can only happen with voice searches. Therefore, the use of conversational keywords is a strategy that can give answers to questions asked by voice commands.

Understand Customer Type

You need to know who the consumers or users of your website are and how they behave when accessing the website. The reason is that each type of user has different behaviors.

If the majority of your users are elderly, it is important to prioritize manual search SEO strategies. Why so? It is because most elderly users may not be familiar with hands-free technology.

Meanwhile, if your website targets millennial or Gen-Z users more, then voice search optimization is a mandatory thing to do.

Provide Content with Schema Markup

As explained earlier, people who do voice searches tend to want information that is instant and concise. Google addresses this need by displaying rich snippets on mobile search results pages (SERPs).

Rich snippets are able to provide snippets of information on websites in the SERP so that users do not need to open a website page to find out the contents of the information on it. If you want to display rich snippets, you need to install schema markup on each page.

With the schema markup, search engines will better understand your content and be able to present it to users more attractively. You can easily create schema markup via the JSON-LD Schema Generator from cmlabs.

Create FAQ Page

In line with the tips related to question keywords, you can create FAQ content to answer various questions asked by users through question keywords. FAQ-type content like this is more likely to appear in the first round of searches because it is relevant and able to answer the searcher's questions directly.

FAQ content format can start with a question based on a keyword question, followed by an answer using conversational sentences. Make sure that your FAQ page already has schema markup so that Google can display it directly in the SERP.

Local Search Optimization

Google's algorithm allows users to perform local searches without having to specify the location they want to search for. By relying on the GPS feature on the user's device, Google can display search results that are relevant to the user's current location.

The existence of this algorithm is certainly very helpful for businesses that have physical offices or stores because consumers can more easily find them through voice searches. As an optimization step, you can add addresses, location names, and map features to the website. By adding these details, you can optimize local SEO performance.

Thus, a complete explanation of what voice search is and the tips to optimize it. To apply the guidelines in this article, you can use the company's internal team or rely on SEO services. If you want to use an external party, make sure that the service provider you choose is trusted and experienced in their field.



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