Will Kennard
Will Kennard 10 February 2020
Categories Search Marketing

Voice Search for SEO: It’s Not Magic

There has been a lot of talk about voice search in the digital marketing space, with many trend-gurus touting it as the next biggest thing for brands to focus on. But what does this really mean?

The mystery around voice search has been pretty much removed within the savvy SEO community, however from many conversations I’ve had recently with marketing managers working on a broader range of channels, I can sense that there is still little clarity outside of the SEO community.

So let’s take a look at some more practical tips for voice search, to hopefully ensure clearer working practices with SEOs and demystify the subject.

Focus on Longer Tail Keywords

Voice changes the way people search, meaning that searches are naturally more conversational because, well, the search is through conversation. It’s a little like the difference between a phone conversation and sending a WhatsApp. Generally searchers using voice will just say more.

This means SEOs must adapt to these changes within keyword research. A movement away from shorter keywords to phrased based keywords (and questions), means content should cater for long-tail keywords.

Use Natural Tone in Content

Content should aim to be written in a more natural flow. A conversational tone can lead to content that naturally answers more questions and of course is responsive to the conversational style of search mentioned previously.

Provide Concise Answers

Whilst we want to be more conversational, we also want to give the searcher an answer in a concise manner. Pull out questions and give them headers if they are important, or provide TL;DR summaries where you can give the searcher (and the search engine!) exactly what they are looking for.

Use Semantics

Generally, good SEOs should be doing this already. If you’re not aware, semantics refers to the relationship between words and phrases in content. Try to create individual pieces of content that have relationships to a specific subject, within the content itself, and outside of that in your brands website.

As a simple example, if you were writing a piece of content to clear up confusion around a type of spice to use when making a fresh Korma, you wouldn’t want to suddenly have a section all about Madras. I’m hungry whilst writing this - but you get the point. It’s relatively simple but often missed.

Know the User Intent of Content

Intent is the driving factor behind the BERT algorithm update and should be important for your content. Don’t write for the sake of it, write to meet someone’s need. If you feel that your content lacks a clear need case, just don’t write it. Any successful SEO campaign is based on providing better information for those who need it, by focusing on the intent of that searcher.

The classic marketing quote from Theodore Levitt is “people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” Find your quarter inch hole (need) behind the potential customer's quarter inch drill (the search term).

Integrate Structured Data

Structured data (or Schema as you may know it) is a little more complex, but still not a magic SEO power wielded by the super intelligent. Anyone can create schema easily and there’s even awesome generators that’ll do most the work for you. It’s just a way to mark up, or highlight, what the actual meaning of your content is to a search engine.

Imagine structured data as something that explains concepts to a computer, so the computer can provide a better answer. If working with an SEO agency, make sure they are providing schema data alongside all content.

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