How to Optimize Your Brand for Voice Search
“Hey, Siri, what’s the score of the Browns game?”
Sounds a little bizarre, doesn’t it? Me chatting with my phone and getting back infallible spoken answers from…Siri.
Or Google Now.
The advanced voice command technology in our lives has led to the growing popularity of voice search, something that anyone who writes SEO copy for web content needs to know about. Voice search is just like search engine search queries, except…by voice. Here’s how it works.
Voice search lets your clients or customers (hopefully) discover or continue to trust your brand in the same way that traditional search does. The user seeking information finds your website, your brand, as the thought leader. Except that voice search is totally different. In some ways, at least. The big difference in the eyes of users is no typing.
Think about how traditional search works. You type a question and pose it to Google or Bing or some other search engine. Then, getting back to that Sunday football game, you type: “Score of Cleveland Browns – Minnesota Vikings game October 3, 2021.”
Not much like my voice query: “Hey, Siri, what’s the score of the Browns game?”
When we type, we tend to formalize the way we communicate. We’re writing, after all, and that seems like a serious endeavor. On the other hand, when we pick up a phone and ask a question, we ask it the way we might chat with friends.
Other than that, the one search method works pretty much like the other. You ask a question, the platform filters it through its algorithm and delivers what it considers the website with the most comprehensive and credible source of an accurate answer.
With a voice query, you’ll get a website on screen with the answer. But, of course, you’ll also likely get a spoken response when querying Siri or Alexa. And the results page is different. While you’ll get endless ranked search engine results pages (SERP) from a traditional query, you’ll probably only see one voice search response link. You already know that only the top few results get attention with traditional searches, and now you just learned that it’s even harder to direct voice search users to your digital property.
Why Marketers Must Learn Voice Search
Today, nearly 40 percent of Internet users access voice search. That makes sense. As more and more of us live in so-called smart homes, we’ve become accustomed to asking disembodied voices to draw the drapes, turn on the lights and music, turn up the heat and lock the doors. So why wouldn’t we feel comfortable seeking information the same way?
Many use voice search for the hands-free benefit. If you’re changing the baby’s diaper or putting away groceries and you need a little help, you can multitask with Siri or Alexa by voice alone. Find out how much a bundle of diapers costs at your favorite big box store, or call up a menu from the new Vietnamese restaurant.
If your audience is using the technology, your brand needs to get optimized for voice search. Period.
Optimize for Mobile
We almost hesitate to mention this tip because it should be old news by now. However, most marketers know the critical importance of optimizing their web content for mobile phone users. Today, just over half of all internet traffic comes via smartphones compared to computers, tablets, or other devices, which is too bad if your website hasn’t been optimized for mobile use yet.
Your website won’t fit the phone screen right if it’s not optimized. That annoys people. It creates just one more obstacle, one more excuse for your audience to ignore your website even if their voice searches send them your way.
Use Long-Tails to Attract
Assuming your websites get optimized for mobile, the road to voice search optimization starts with voice-friendly keywords. Write as you talk. Or, specifically, how voice searchers talk. That means writing long-tail keywords. For example, “Browns-Vikings score” is a conventional keyword. “Who won the Browns-Vikings football game?” is a long-tail keyword. By using it, you’re predicting that this is the wording of the query most voice search users will use.
Your FAQ page might be a good place to house the questions you think voice searchers will ask. Questions like “Where is there a Ford dealer near me?” might accompany directions and a map. Or run your diner’s hours of operation under the headline or subhead, “Is Sam’s Restaurant open now?” In both instances, you’re writing copy like you think your audience will question their phones.
Make Sure Your Answers Are as Practical as the Queries
When I ask Siri, “Where can I buy athletic shoes,” I’m taken to a directions page for a local sneaker store. That page answers one of the more common categories of questions. The average voice searcher doesn’t want a list of the highest-volume retailers of athletic shoes in America. Their questions tend to be more practical. They want to know where they can find a pair of athletic shoes now. They want store names, street addresses, and hours.
They’re not intellectually curious. They want to know when their favorite restaurant is open, where they can buy life insurance and what’s a good recipe for vegetarian lasagna.
Get out of the esoteric and into the practical. Answer voice searchers’ questions in a way that will get them to ring your phone, drop you an email, fill out a contact form, or show up on your doorstep — whatever it is that you want them to do.
Make Your CTA Easy and Direct
A strong call to action is more imperative than ever. Again, that has to do with the fact that most voice searchers aren’t wasting time asking idle questions. They want to get stuff done. A lasagna cooked or a reservation made, a store visited before it closes, a pair of quality sneakers bought as cheaply as possible.
Maybe they’re stuck in traffic and want to know where there’s a nearby motel. So your website copy should be short on the history of the motel your grandfather built and long on directions and availability, and contact information. Your CTA is basically, “Call us up right now to make a reservation for tonight.”
Get That Phone to Ring
Activating your contact phone number for click-to-call will make it as easy as possible for your audience to reach you, especially if they’re in the car or otherwise involved.
It also makes a great deal of sense to have a toll-free vanity phone number that is as easy as possible for voice searchers to remember if they’re not going to call your business immediately. At 800.com, we help our clients select and implement vanity numbers that attract the right kind of attention from their targeted audience.
Contact 800.com at (800) 800-4321 or (201) 800-0000. (Notice how memorable our own phone numbers are) We’ll show you how to get the most from your mobile marketing campaign and turn voice searchers into buyers.