SEO can be an enigma sometimes, but it’s a lot easier to figure out when you accept that it changes a lot — and that occasionally, those changes are radical. In 2018, if you want to achieve pole position in the SERPs, you need to add voice search optimization to your arsenal of your tactics.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to do it the easy way by ranking for long-tail keywords.
Who doesn’t love the idea of voice search? It’s quick, super convenient, and it means users can search for stuff on the go.
Plus, it’s just undeniably hip.
In 2018, voice search technology is better than ever, while respected entrepreneurs and movers and shakers in the business world like Gary Vaynerchuk suggest it’s the absolute future.
The stats back him up. Half of all searches will be voice by 2020, while in the same year around 30% of all searches will be carried out without the use of a screen. This is largely because voice search is more precise than it’s ever been. In fact, its accuracy is now at around 92%.
All this means that you need to get on board with voice search optimization before you fall way behind your rivals and end up playing catch-up.
You might be under the impression that, since we’re slowly making the transition to voice search, keywords will no longer matter.
“Please tell me I never need to use a keyword research tool ever again!”
However, they still matter just as much as they ever did. Sorry! The only difference is that long tail keywords matter more where voice search optimization is concerned.
A short tail keyword is uber specific and can simply be just one word, such as “builder.” It’s a super broad keyword that’s hard to rank for.
Long tail keywords, on the other hand, are easier to rank for because they’re more specific and can pull in a descriptor or two. “Men’s black leather jacket for disco night” is a long tail keyword that’s hyper-specific, and which might be so exclusive to your niche that you climb to the top of Google.
Crucially for voice search, long tail keywords more closely resemble natural human speech. When people speak into their device, be it Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, or Cortana, they speak like they would if they were talking to a friend.
No one is going to shout “Builder!” into their phone. Instead, they might say something like “Affordable builder near me.” This phrase is longer and quite specific.
Let’s take a look at 3 ways to make the most of long tail keywords and optimize your site for voice search.
“Google, why does my dog have fleas?”
“Alexa, can you tell me that causes diabetes?”
“Siri, what do angel investors do?”
The above are examples of how search is going to look. Not next year or in 2020 but literally tomorrow, next week, and next month. Your customers are speaking into their phones using long tail keywords, asking questions and expecting answers. And unless you start to answer them, you’ll be dawdling at the back of the SERPs.
It’s time to start answering questions on your site. There are two ways you can do this:
- Long form content
- An FAQ page
An FAQ page can provide answers to common questions about your product or industry. The easiest way to come up with questions your customers are asking is to actually ask them. Alternatively, check out forums, Facebook groups, and your rivals’ websites.
Long form content will take more time, but it’s well worth it because it attacks the SERPs in more than one way. Firstly, you can start to rank for specific long tail keywords that your customers are using. Secondly, you get a shot at ranking on featured snippets.
What is a featured snippet? A featured snippet is displayed at the top of Google in response to a user’s query as per the image below.
It’s essentially an in-depth answer to a question. The answer is so in-depth, explicit, and contains the right long-tail keywords that it’s been chosen by Google as the best one. As such, it’s achieved the highly coveted position 0 on the SERPs.
When thinking of a question that needs answering, carry out the keyword research you usually carry out, but also search for question keywords, too.
Some of us struggle with seed keywords simply because we make them too stuffy.
For example, consider this sentence:
“Professional graphic designer Minnesota.”
It doesn’t flow naturally, and it definitely isn’t conversational.
When you’re optimizing your site for voice search, you need to start thinking conversationally. Here is how we could spin that above sentence instead:
“Where can I find a professional graphic designer Minnesota?”
Once again, we’re using a question phrase, and then we’re going to provide the answer. The sentence is now in line with something people will search for.
Do you know how people think? Of course you do, you’re a human yourself! And from now on, it’s time to start thinking about how people speak.
Long tail keywords for voice search are all about how humans really speak to each other, which means you can’t keep using the same long tail keywords you’ve been using in the past. Clunky phrases like “content marketing manager salary” no longer cuts it.
To get into peoples’ minds and discover how they talk into their phones, you can try a tool such as Answer the Public, which appends search terms using words such as “with” and “for” in order to gauge what voice device users are actually looking for.
However you approach voice search optimization, remember to use your keyword research tool to pick out the right long tail keywords, and shift the focus to conversational speech patterns and questions.
Just remember that it’s pretty much all about mimicking the way we talk.