Alexa, tell me…
Do you want to optimise your blog for voice search? Legend. Really, you are so smart. Treat yourself with a muffin.
Because voice search is here, it’s powerful and it is changing the way we all search.
What is voice search?
Simply, it’s speaking your search query instead of typing it. We ask Alexa to play our favourite song (Who Do You Think You Are, Spice Girls). We ask Siri to find tickets to the next Spice Girls concert (I wish). Or, we ask Google Maps to give us directions to the local Spice Girls memorabilia store. *
*These examples may be slightly personal to me.
The point is, more people are using search, especially with tools like Alexa Echo, Apple’s Siri and Google Nest. First, you need to get over the creepy factor of a product that listens to your conversations. Then, you start asking it all sorts of questions.
Voice search technology saves time
After all, why would you waste all those precious seconds typing like its the 1990s? You can say the words much faster. Plus, it’s easier than fussing with small keys, especially on your smartphone.
How much faster is voice search?
Speech to text is three times faster than typing on your phone, according to a study by Stanford University. That’s including the time it takes for correction.
The average person types at 50 – 80 words per minute, according to Wikipedia. The average person speaks at varying speeds depending on the activity:
- average person presenting with slides: 125 – 150 words per minute
- auctioneer in full sales mode: 300 words per minute
- my husband losing it because I’ve left the butter on the bench again: up to 500 words per minute
So, even the slower speaking styles are much faster than typing. We’re all busy, and we haven’t a single second to waste.
How are people using voice search?
A common use of voice search is getting directions. After all, it makes sense. You’re driving, so the hands-free option is preferable.
On phones, people use voice to dictate text messages and call someone. (I do enjoy the Siri’s utter mispronunciation of my friends’ names.)
With the rise of Alexa and Google nest, more people are using voice search to ask questions. Such as:
- what’s the weather today?
- what time is that Hugh Jackman movie showing?
- who wrote Pride and Prejudice?
People use maps functions to find nearby places. Often, using the ‘near me’ search modifier.
Source: search engine land
But, it’s not just simple searches. Adobe found that nearly half of people (48%) are using voice for general searches.
Voice technology is getting better
Perhaps a few years ago, you tried Siri or Google voice commands and abandoned it because it couldn’t understand your accent. But now this technology learns with you. The more you use it, the better it understands you. (Give it a try.)
The microphone technology is much better than it used to be. So, it’s less likely that you’ll get pictures of Home Alone when you asked for directions to your sister Mona’s home.
So, how do you optimise your blog for voice search?
Optimise your blog for voice search tip #1: use conversational terms
Conversational copy is all about writing the way people talk. For example:
- ‘getting results’ versus ‘facilitating outcomes’
- ‘making connections’ versus ‘leveraging synergies’
- ‘we’re good at strategy’ versus ‘strategy is our core competency’
Read your blog out loud. Complex words tend to have more syllables, which is easy to spot when you’re reading aloud. Stumbling on your words is a sign of poor flow in your content. Shorter sentences help. Plus, using transition words at the start of your sentences improves readability.
Pepper your blog post with questions, like this:
- Before: A good way to create conversational copy is to include questions.
- After: Why include questions? It helps create a conversational tone.
Optimise your blog for voice search tip #2: target questions
Speaking of questions, it’s a good idea to use them as your blog post focus keyword. Voice searches are often questions. So if you answer a question in your blog post, you may have a chance of ranking.
Answer the Public is a wonderful tool for identifying the right questions to target. You type in your broad theme and it spits out plenty of questions that are commonly used in searches. Genius!
In this example I’ve used the term ‘blogging for business.’
- focus keyword
- H1 headline
- your feature image name and alt text
- a few times in the body of your blog post
You can use the same phrase, as well as common synonyms to target a broad range of similar questions. (Thus hopefully ranking for plenty of searches related to the question.)
Optimising your blog for voice search tip #3: use longer phrases as keywords
Otherwise known as long tail keywords, longer phrases are more likely in voice search. Voice searches tend to be longer. The average is a whopping 29 words.
Instead of typing ‘blogging for SEO’, you might say ‘how does a blog improve my website SEO?’
So, use longer phrases as your focus keyword, to meet those longer voice search queries.
What about your website, not just your blog posts?
Google My Business (GMB) is your greatest weapon. When people search ‘near me’ GMB swings into action. So make sure you have your address settings fixed. Work from home? You don’t have to have your physical address visible.
If you fully complete your GMB listing, you’ll maximise your chances of appearing on the map.
Encourage reviews. (Unless you’re an accredited health professional with a governing body that prohibits soliciting reviews.) Post content, almost like another social media platform. Posts disappear after a week so get in the habit of posting new items weekly. Add photos of your business. Directions help customers find your brick and mortar store encourage foot traffic.
In summary: how to optimise your blog for voice search
Use a conversational writing style, that matches how real people speak. Focus on answering questions and set a question as your blog post’s focus keyword. Use longer phrases, because people tend to use more words in voice search than typed search.
Good luck with your blogging!
Ps. If you’d rather not worry about this stuff, then why not hire a blog writer to take care of it for you? (That would be me: contact me if you are interested in working together)