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It’s no surprise by now that voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo were some of the biggest sellers of the latest holiday season. In addition, people are using Siri on their Apple iPhones to ask questions and receive answers. And some people now prefer to ask Google questions directly with their voice while working on a laptop or desktop rather than type in a question. So how can you get out in front of this voice search trend?
Long tail keywords
Your first step should be to think in terms of the long tail keywords that people are actually using in their voice queries. This requires a new type of thinking about SEO. Thus, if you’re a business, you might want to start thinking in terms of questions that people actually have about your products and services, and not just generic search terms. If you’re a shoe store, for example, ranking high for “shoes” is not nearly as important as ranking high for specific types, brands or models of those shoes.
Far more than regular web search SEO, voice search SEO puts a premium on customer reviews. You want to make sure that you have as many 4-star and 5-star reviews as possible on your website. That’s because customers are inevitably going to ask questions like, “What’s the best [X] near me.” That’s going to force the AI algorithm powering the voice device to go into overdrive, rapidly surveying as many sources as possible, trying to find and rate your business and compare it to others so that it can deliver “the best [X].” Higher customer reviews, obviously, are going to be a big help.
One general piece of advice is to make sure that your business listings are 100 percent consistent across Google, Yelp, Bing and Apple Maps. In terms of voice search, Google and Yelp are the two big ones that you need to prioritize. So definitely go into Yelp and make sure that all information posted there is up-to-date, relevant and accurate.
Aim for the #1 spot
Perhaps the best advice is to think in terms of only hitting the #1 spot on Google. With traditional SEO, your goal is to land on the first page of results. However, with voice SEO, your goal needs to be more aggressive. You absolutely, positively have to grab the #1 spot on the first page of results.
The reason is simple: when people converse with their digital devices, they aren’t going to wait and listen to Siri or Alexa read off a list of 10 responses. They aren’t even going to listen to 3 options. All they want is “the answer.” And that “answer” is the #1 top spot on Google. So you can immediately see why aiming for the #1 spot is so crucial. If you’re not #1, chances are very high that your results will never be heard (whereas it might have been seen using traditional search).
The new voice search imperative
Most likely, you’ve spent hours, weeks or even months optimizing your website for search. You might have even hired SEO experts to ensure that every aspect of your digital presence is flawlessly prepared and ready for Google to find you. But now there’s a new wrinkle to SEO, and it’s all about optimizing your website for the new wave of voice search options.