Writing Content for Voice Search
In the last few years, users are becoming more and more accustomed to using their voice to question search engines. We’re quizzing Google with voice search on our mobile devices and also with smart speakers like Google Home. This is a really interesting opportunity for those working in content and search engine marketing to create content for these searchers.
What’s Different about Voice Search?
So, why is there a need to write differently for each type of searcher? The simplest way to think about is to think about the way you type versus the way you speak. If you’re Googling something, you might quickly type ‘top movies 2017’ whereas if you’re using voice search, it probably looks something like ‘Alexa, which were the top movies of 2017?’. This is the basis of writing for voice search.
This should impact the way you write your content, as you should take more of a conversational tone. This will allow your content to be picked up by voice searchers and also read, as they will identify with the tone.
You don’t want to have an article that attests to be conversational, but when the user opens it they find it to be very formal. This tends to cause confusion for the user and if they’re not aware of what to expect then they probably won’t identify with your brand as much.
Remember that not all voice searches are created on a device with a screen, as the rise of smart speakers means they’re not always seeing your content – they’re having it read to them. This is something you want to take into account while writing your content, as what looks good may not always sound good.
For people that are searching on a device without a screen, only the first answer that appears is really important. For those that appear later in the rankings, the content that you write will be ignored by these devices. In order to make sure you appear in that first position, you’ve got to pick the right topics.
Picking the Right Topics
Choosing the right topics to get in with this audience is essential, as you have to choose ideas that will actually lead to traffic on the site. If you want to appeal to those voice searching, then questions are usually a good route to go down – as these are the most common voice search queries.
Doing the research early on will allow you to get the best return for your time and money spent on new content. Check out forums and social media posts about what you do and then use these common questions. For example, you may find a lot of people talking about how to pick the right computer for their needs, then you can fashion this into an article to target that question.
Research if there is already a snippet from another site in that position already, as this creates more of a challenge. Assess whether it is really possible for you to knock them off this position, in many cases it will be. For some questions Google ranks the site that they feel most answers the question, even if it doesn’t directly. If you create an in depth article, which is well referenced, then you can be the new first result.
If the answer comes from a forum or site with poor referencing and content, then you will be able to swoop in and steal that position. This will grant you much better visibility and be more achievable than rising the rankings for text based search.
Creating a Great Experience
Regardless of which topics you’re tackling or whether you’re appealing to the voice searchers out there, there are some aspects that should stay the same. Bear in mind that these users want convenience and speed over everything else, so make sure you give that to them.
There is a divide between those that are searching on a device with a screen, like a smartphone and those without, such as a smart speaker. These users are slightly different in what they will be looking for, but climbing the rankings in both cases relies on the same principles.
Speedy loading times, engaging content and overall user experience will serve you well no matter how your users find you. Use these mainstays as a starting point and you will be ready to create an environment in which your users can convert.
Creating content for voice search is all about working in a smarter way to get better results. If you want to learn more about the changing world of content this year, then tune into our Facebook live this Thursday. Our copywriter Craig will be telling you all about what to expect from this year.