How Does Voice Search Work?

Optimizing for voice search is not just about keyword terms. Search engines such as Google keep their algorithms focused on ranking factors. Contextual content that answers precise questions and provides additional information becomes imperative to success.

How does voice search work? By incorporating high end technology such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), Pre-Programmed language, and Text to Speech. If you’ve ever used your microphone on a desktop, when configuring the speech element, you’re asked to repeat a series of sentences. This helps your operating system understand your voice. Once it understands your voice it can accurately type words from your voice. That’s the foundation of voice search. The more it understands you the better results you’ll receive.

So, if a business wants to dominate its competitors using Voice Search Optimization, then they first must understand the search intent of their target audience.

Just as Google’s artificial intelligence algorithm RankBrain learns search query strings, understanding the various voice search players becomes vital. Your existing and potential new customers are most likely using one of the following:

  • Ok Google – Google
  • Alexa – Amazon
  • Siri – Apple
  • Cortana – Microsoft

Armed with this fundamental knowledge, there are certain factors that need to be taken into consideration. One of the first things you need to do is…change how you approach Search Engine Optimization.

Changes In Search Optimization

A very prolific motivational speaker, that I admire immensely, once said:

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

If you attribute this way of thinking into your optimization and how you approach your target audience, you’ll fall right into place as it relates to voice search. Gone are the days where keywords were all the rage. I challenge you to look at this from another perspective.

If you focus only on keywords, all you’re doing is “repeating” what a searcher is seeking. Today, your keywords should be supporting the conversational content on your site. That’s not to say that keyword terms are not still important. They are! But your content should be answering the search intent of your target audience. Are the long tail keyword terms your audience is using based off informational intent, transactional intent, or somewhere in-between?

How does this apply to voice search for businesses? Brands online need to change how they optimize for search to reach a user’s solution faster. Part of this evolved voice search strategy includes:

  • Rethinking Keyword Research
  • Focusing on Mobile Local Search
  • Identifying Search Intent
  • Re-envisioning Online Branding

Mobile Voice Search Factors

If you’re a business…localize your keyword terms. It sounds simple, but many businesses are too busy focusing on keyword terms and not the audience around them. When building a voice search strategy, keep these key elements in mind:

  • Ensure your website is mobile friendly and fast. Trust me when I say the bulk of your potential and existing clients are using mobile devices. Make it easy for them.
  • Write conversational content that incorporates your target keyword terms derived from audience analysis
  • Include questions your visitors or customers may ask. This could come from Q&A’s, offering surveys, online reviews, asking customers in real-time, monitoring your social media feed (and especially the competitor’s social media feeds)
  • Make sure your site is using structured data to help the voice capabilities of search engines understand your content and site better.
  • Update and optimize local sources / citations. Depending on your industry, keep your Google, Bing, Yelp, Manta, Merchant Circle, etc. up to date.
  • Make sure you NAP (Name, Address, Phone) are up to date and the same across the internet (and that includes social)
  • Try to fine tune your content based off timing and where your audience may be on any given day. Are they going to be in a car, on the go frequently, or at home?

Take the time to analyze and monitor your Google Analytics, Search Console, AdWords, and Google Trends. The more you understand your visitors, the more accurate your content can become.

Where keyword terms use to be the cool thing, now businesses must focus on phrases and topics relevant to their visitors. Understanding search intent will improve how you approach voice search optimization for your business.

When you use long tail keyword terms, ask yourself if you’re able to answer questions. Make sure your long tail keyword terms (and conversational content) can answer: Where, How, and What. Remember, you not only need to think like your audience, you have to optimize for how they speak.

Brands need to be prepared for how search marketing is evolving. Are you ready?

Contact Creative MMS to prepare your Business for voice search today!