November 11, 2019 How to write for voice search

By Ali Pinch

person wearing silver aluminum case Apple watch

There’s no doubt about it, voice search is revolutionising the way that we interact with the digital world. A report by Google found that 72% of people who own smart speakers say the devices are a part of their daily routine. Another report suggests that by 2020, 50% of searches will be conducted by voice.

On the flipside, it’s also changing the way we think about writing for the web; traditional SEO is no longer the barometer for how searchable content is. Here’s a cheat sheet you can use to make sure your web content is compatible for voice search.

What is voice search and why is it similar to SEO?

Before we get to voice search writing 101, let’s break down what voice search actually is. Voice search uses technology that allows users to perform a search on the internet by verbally asking a question to a smartphone, device or computer. This is different to traditional search where you physically type something into a search engine. Think about how often you ask Siri, Alexa or Google for the weather, for directions or to call someone!

Much like regular search optimisation, voice search optimisation is equally important in improving SERP ranking.

Leverage longtail keywords and conversational phrases

Unlike traditional SEO, voice search requires keywords and phrases to be much more conversational. Why? If you think about it, the way we talk is different to what we type into Google. Search terms, therefore, would be different to the ones you enter into Google.

For example, let’s say you’re looking for a good voice search writer in Melbourne. If you were to ask Siri, your search would probably be ‘What’s the name of a good voice search writer?’ As opposed to typing into Google ‘best voice search writer Melbourne’. When you’re creating content, ask yourself: how would I ask my virtual assistant for this?

Get specific with FAQs and blogs

Even though voice search takes on a more conversational tone, the queries are often more specific. In turn, users expect specific results. Remember, the user isn’t in front of their computer trawling through multiple Google search results! Therefore, your content should be focused on answering specific queries – the who, what, when, where, why.

In order to become relevant for search, you should optimise your website with FAQs and longtail keyword-focused blogs to hone in on the specifics. The more specifically you answer a question in the most conversational way, the better this is picked up by voice search.

Hot tip: More than 20% of voice search results are triggered by a combination of only 25 keywords.

Image source: Bright Local

Create content that’s local

In January 2018, over 40% of the billion mobile voice searches had local intent. Think about how often you ask for things like local weather, or the best restaurants, cafes and shops in your area. This is why it’s important to keep things like your opening hours and location up to date, so people can find you easier.

You should also be specific about the product or service you offer. For example, let’s say you have a café that specialises in espresso. Make sure you have that interwoven into the fabric of your website! This could very easily be picked up by a local asking Siri, ‘where’s the best espresso in Melbourne?’

Anticipate your customer’s needs

In optimising content for mobile and search, Google uses the phrase ‘micro-moments’ – where users need immediate, relevant and ready-to-use information. A huge part of any search is being able to anticipate what somebody needs in that micro-moment. Maybe they need a hospital or doctor ASAP? Maybe they’re hangry and need to eat something? In order to give customers their ‘fix’ in a micro-moment, and for this to be picked up by voice search, your website should tick these boxes:

  • does my website load quickly?
  • is it user friendly and accessible?
  • does it contain relevant (and local) information?
  • can it produce the right answers in a conversational manner?

Staying one step ahead of the curve with these quick fixes can help you get closer to the front of the voice search queue.

Get the help you need to create voice searchable content

While this cheat sheet may seem a little daunting to some, this is where the work of a voice search copywriter can help. At Avion Communications, our team of experienced web writers and conversation design specialists can get your brand ready for the voice search revolution.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how we can curate the right content for your website, contact Avion today.