“OK Google, how far is Olive Cafe from here?” “Alexa, what are some sports shoe options for men under $200?” Only people who regularly ask such questions to their devices know how fast and convenient it is to get answers. Voice-to-text searches are up to 3x faster than typing on average. This means that people who like to multitask while working out, cooking, or driving don’t have to type in their query on Google every time. Moreover, it greatly benefits people with disabilities to access the content. For business owners to provide this experience to their target customers, ensuring that their site is optimized for voice search is essential. This is where voice-to-text SEO techniques come in.
How Does Voice Search Work?
Like traditional SEO, voice-to-text SEO helps searchers look up a query on Google by finding the exact match for the query. The only difference is that in a voice search, the voice is first transformed into text by an automatic speech recognition (ASR) system by Google, and then the search query is matched with the exact results.
However, ASR runs some processes in the background to recognize that speech.
The query is filtered, and any unnecessary pauses or disturbance is removed.
The new query is digitized.
The new data is processed.
The new sound is compared with the samples in the database,
The ASR system performs the last step to compare and recognize accents, intonations, and every minute detail in the speech. Based on that, it converts the speech into text with up to 95% accuracy.
Voice-to-Text SEO Techniques for 2022
People use voice search from their smartphones or smart speakers for different kinds of searches. Some ask for directions while driving, some look for shopping recommendations, and many others play songs using the feature. The key to acing your SEO strategy is to know what kind of results pop up with these search queries and how you can make your content Google’s top choice.
Listing seven tips to make your site voice-to-text SEO friendly.
1. Adapt a Different Approach to Keyword Research
Keyword research is the first step in SEO, wherein short and long-tail keywords are targeted. Voice search requires you to dig a little deeper than long-tail keywords and tweak them into forming a complete sentence a human would say. Let us give some examples to explain that.
“Best SEO agency London” becomes “What are the best SEO agencies in London?”
“Pesto sauce recipe” becomes “How to make pesto sauce?”
You see, the topics are the same, but the style of the queries becomes conversational with voice search. If you notice, there’s one thing common in these questions. Hint: The keywords for voice search use question words such as ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘how,’ and ‘when.’ Some great places to conduct your keyword research are “people also ask” and the bottom sections of the SERP page. You’ll know what your target customers are searching for, and from that, you need to create question-based keywords to optimize your existing content.
Another way is to look for the search terms you currently rank for and tweak them by adding question words and fillers.
2. Transcribe Audio to Text
A simple voice search can produce different results—text, video, and audio. Including transcriptions for video and audio files is the best way to ensure that your content has everything crossed from your SEO checklist. Yes, Google can also transcribe your content on your behalf, but doing it yourself gives you more control. Your captions get more accurate, and the content becomes more accessible.
The good news is—you don’t need to transcribe hours and hours of content manually. Some transcription tools, such as Amberscript’s text-to-speech converter, allow you to generate accurate automatic transcriptions quickly. Once you have your transcription files ready, save them as a WEBVTT FILE – using the .vtt extension. Then, on your website server, add the file to the same folder as your video file. This will help crawlers to access your video content and index it appropriately.
3. Use Geo-targeted Keywords
When we use search terms like ‘what are the best sushi restaurants near me?’, Google searches through business information listed on its database and fetches us results. About 58% of customers find local business information using voice search. This means, if you’re a retail business owner, you must list your business on Google Maps and Yelp and optimize it for local search as best as you can.
Some key points to follow:
Set up a profile on Google My Business
Add reviews for social proof
List proper and functional phone numbers, addresses, and contact details
Add location pages on the website
Create content around local events
Get your business listed in local directories
4. Structure Your Site with Schema Markups & FAQ Page
Ever wondered how the AI knows which section of a website to pick to answer your search query? Having structured data (schema markup) allows you to present information with utmost clarity, which makes it easier for Google to identify based on a voice search query. You can find the schema markup in your website’s source code, which has information about everything your site contains.
A major part of structured data is your FAQ page which answers every burning question your target audience has. These questions and answers are actionable and quick responses that help searchers to access information on the go without reading the entire page. For example, see how Adidas has a dedicated FAQ section on its website that answers questions in the most concise way possible.
5. Optimize for Mobile
Mobile optimization is not only essential for voice search but general SEO as well. Think about it—if a site isn’t well structured and challenging to read, people are bound to bounce off no matter how valuable the information is. The same goes for voice search—when a user lands on your website based on a voice search result and doesn’t have a good experience, it’ll hurt your ranking (both audio SEO and traditional SEO).
Make sure your fonts are readable and clearly visible on mobile
6. Create Conversational Content
Understanding the searcher’s intent is even more crucial when using voice search with the increase in conversational search. When using voice search, a searcher speaks to their devices, in the same manner, they do with a human being. Voice search queries are more conversational and have a more apparent intent than traditional text searches.
This is why it’s more important than ever to produce content that’s helpful for the searcher and simply addresses their problems. For that, you must structure your content well for the search engine to grasp its context. For example, the structure of an in-depth blog piece for a long-tail keyword goes like this:
Introduction of the topic
Context with current scenario
Answer to every what, why, where, how, and when
Examples, case studies, and statistics to back up information
FAQ section answering questions frequently asked around the topic
Conclusion or closing statement
When you have information on your site with this much depth and clarity around a topic, your chances of ranking with voice search are high.
7. Optimize for the Featured Snippet
Nearly 60% of voice search results come from a featured snippet. Appearing as a featured snippet makes a website more authoritative and ranks higher on Google. In fact, anything they publish has a higher chance of emerging as voice search results with this development. Besides voice search, featured snippets are essential for text searches as they’re hard to miss on a SERP. They get around 8% of clicks from the SERP and highly engage with their searchers.
Luckily, there are ways you can optimize your site to appear as a featured snippet.
Provide short and to-the-point answers to questions (54-58 words long).
Format your content well with images, videos, H2s, H3s, and meta descriptions.
Start with the most basic information—take your readers on the journey of in-depth knowledge.
Break down news in the form of lists, boxes, and infographics.
Include steps for solving a problem (read listicles).
The track featured a snippet on Google Search Console.
Voice Search Supplements Text Search
Voice search optimization is a must for retail businesses with an online business listing. It helps your customers find you in the most convenient way ever. However, remember that voice search doesn’t replace text search, and its effectiveness depends on the type of content you have indexed on Google. For a restaurant or a stationary shop, voice search optimization has the potential to boost traffic exponentially. But if your content is more of a long-form and informational piece, only relying on voice-to-text SEO isn’t feasible. Ideally, investing in both kinds of SEO will give you the highest return and good traffic.
Deepali is an engineer-turned-freelance writer for B2B SaaS, writing actionable long-form content for marketing, Cybersecurity, and HR-Tech companies. When she's not writing, she's engrossed in a cozy murder mystery novel with a cup of hot chocolate!
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