It may have been a novelty at the start, but voice search is now full-blown mainstream. In fact, by 2023, the number of voice assistants (like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant) is expected to reach 8 billion
. And people are putting them to use. In fact, PwC found that 71% of consumers would rather use a voice assistant
to search for something online than to physically type something into a search engine.
Most voice searchers find it convenient to speak into their mobile device or smart speaker for things like texting someone or playing music. But 89% use voice to search for something that they’d normally type into a search engine and 50% use it to buy or order something, according to PwC.
That’s saying something.
Hey Google: Why should I care about voice search?
Perhaps it’s not entirely surprising that voice search has become increasingly popular since its inception in 2011, particularly in the past year or two as technology has become more sophisticated. After all, a voice is the most natural way for humans to communicate; we’ve been learning and finding information through the spoken word for millennia.
Marketers should care because, as you probably know, people like it when their experience is as easy as possible.
With voice search, they are getting the information or items they need by simply saying it out loud, without having to type anything or (gasp!) speak to a live person on the phone. And they’re typically able to do it by talking the way they’d normally talk, conversationally.
Users are interacting with the internet differently now, almost as though it’s another person. They’re asking questions and expecting an answer. That answer is typically whatever ranks in the zero position — the coveted feature snippet
— in the search engine.
That, my friend, is why it’s important to pay attention to voice search. You want your brand to show up when the voice assistant is answering those questions
anytime it is relevant. Voice search is still a form of search, and much like optimizing your website for keywords typed into a search engine, you need to optimize it for voice search. Basically, it’s now a must-have, major strategic component of SEO
. And you still have a chance to get ahead of the competition, as nearly 62% of marketers have no plans for voice search yet, according to Search Engine Journal.
Want to Rank for Voice Search? Your FAQ Page Can Help
Yep. We said FAQ page. We know, it’s likely the most controversial web page among marketers, with some claiming it’s unnecessary, but hear us out. When used in conjunction with other vital SEO tactics
, an FAQ page helps you stay relevant and assists your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Consider this: FAQ pages offer an opportunity to state the questions your target audience are asking, verbatim. Voice searchers are more likely to ask a question in this type of conversational manner than someone physically typing fragments into a search engine.
An FAQ page lets you provide context around the keywords you’re trying to rank for, and while you may (and should) address many of the questions through rich content throughout your website, the FAQ page is an excellent place to include longtail keywords and phrases that are helpful to your audience but also structured in a way that is easy to extract.
How to Improve Your FAQ Page for SEO
Voice assistants now use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
to recognize search intent, which means the algorithms used to pull results are influenced by relevancy and genuine information. When building out your FAQ page, consider the following tips:
- Structure your content in an easily-digestible format. Search engines love clear, concise answers to the questions users ask, making well-structured FAQ pages a boon for SEO, including voice SEO. Avoid delivering long, complex answers on your FAQ page (save that for blogs!); keep it to the point and succinct.
- Be conversational. Focus on including questions that are truly relevant to your audience. Keyword stuffing is a big no-no (algorithms see right through that). Instead, compose your questions and answers in a conversational way, similar to how an actual person would speak.
- Use the five W’s (and an H). People who ask a machine a verbal question (similar to people asking other humans a question) typically start with who, what, when, where, why or how. Therefore, using those words at the start of your FAQ questions and then answering them precisely is a great formula for voice optimization.
- Include schema. Using schema on your FAQ page provides additional context for search engines and should be used for both SEO and VSEO. Going hand-in-hand with quality content, you can include schema to further define your organization, products and services so relevant answers can be pulled from your site as a voice search result.
- Use location-specific longtail keywords. Does your business operate within specific geographic parameters? Consider noting your location within questions and/or answers on your FAQ page. For example, a landscaping business may include something like, “What are the best native plants to use in a Northern Virginia garden?” Many voice searches include “near me” or reference a specific location. Even those who have a broad reach can benefit from location-specific longtail keywords used in copy as well as metadata.
A Constant Evolution - Continuous Improvement on Your Site
Voice search, like most technology, is constantly changing and improving. As it becomes more accurate and use becomes more prevalent, it will continue to shift the way people interact with the internet and find businesses online.
Optimizing for voice search via a well-constructed, relevant FAQ page is one component of a holistic strategy
that will aid your company in getting noticed by your target audience. Make sure you’re ready for the next generation of search, and remember, nobody gains brownie points from making things more complex. Relevant, timely, conversational content is your golden key to all forms of search, including voice.
Interested in learning more about continuous improvement on your site or developing a great FAQ? Click here to learn more about our digital marketing services.