With voice search becoming more and more frequent in consumer search behavior, it’s essential to optimize your SEO in a way that matches with user’s natural speech patterns. People tend to use shorter terms when using a search engine that’s not a voice search. Comparatively, when using a personal assistant for a voice search, people use natural speech which results in a more extended search phrase. While the majority of people are still typing into a search engine bar with their smartphone, voice search is becoming more common amongst users. Statistics show that by the year 2020, voice search will account for half of all searches. There will also be an estimated 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020, which shows how popular voice search and personal assistants are now and will continue to be.
Voice Search Usage Statistics
1. According to eMarketer, 35.6 million Americans used a voice-activated personal assistant device at least once a month in 2017.
2. Per Google, 72% of people who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are used as part of their daily routines.
3. Search Engine Watch states Mobile voice-related searches are 3 times more likely to be local-based than text-related searches.
4. According to Google, 41% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say it feels like talking to a friend, per Google.
How We Type VS. How We Talk
The Way We Type
We type different than how we talk. Generally, straightforward and short keywords are recommended for standard search entries because when typing users tend to search for broad terminology instead of long and detailed phrases. For example, if the user types “coffee” into their search query, Google will pull up websites near their geographic location that rank for “coffee.” This type of search query is ideal for both mobile and desktop searches because it is a good representation of how we type. Contrary, these short keywords are not recommended for voice search because we use different terms when we speak to our voice assistants through our smartphones.
How We Talk
Our speech patterns are much more specific and detailed compared to how we type out our thoughts. We are used to communicating with full sentences instead of short search queries. Talking in complete sentences comes more naturally and therefore allows for these voice-commanded devices to fit more easily into our lives.
We use our normal conversational tone, just as we would to our friend or colleague with our personal voice assistants. Some examples of these voice search based questions are:
- What is the best coffee shop near me?
- Where is the closest coffee shop?
The way we search through typing or texting requires a different approach. When we type, we search using shorter keywords, but when we speak through voice search, we use long-tail keywords that are more specific.
How To Optimize For Long-Tail Keywords
After you find the appropriate long-tail keywords to optimize for voice search, you need to learn how to use them on your site. Use the following SEO best practices to properly use long-tail keywords in your content and improve a page’s rank:
- Create internal links.
- Insert the long-tail keyword in at least one subheading.
- Use the long-tail keyword in the SEO meta description for the page.
- Make sure to use the long-tail keyword in the post title and meta title.
- Use the long-tail keyword in the first paragraph of your content.
- Create a keyword density of about 2%.
- Use the long-tail keyword in at least one subheading.
- Use the long-tail keyword as an image alt tag on one of the images on the page.
The Pros of Long-Tail Keywords
Because voice search will dominate half of all searches as time goes on, it’s important to take action now. There are many pros to long-tail keywords, below are some of the most important benefits.
Higher conversion rates: Due to long-tail keywords being more specific, there will be more top quality leads and an increase in traffic. The site will also have more relevant content to their search query which results in higher conversion rates.
Less competition: The more precise your keywords are, the less competition there will be. With less competition, there will be a higher ranking.
A popular type of search: Long-tail search makes up 70% of searches. As time progresses, search engine inquiries will get more and more specific.
The main takeaway is to ensure that you are correctly optimizing your content with long-tail keywords to keep up with the onward trajectory towards voice search. Voice search is used by people daily, and smart speakers are spread out throughout homes. As this consumer behavior continues to become more common, marketers will have to adapt to human voice patterns. By using long-tail keywords, you can target a specific audience. These long phrases will accurately mimic natural speech tones which will result in the appropriate results. General and short keyword phrases are not in best practice for a voice search audience. Long-tail keywords result in higher conversion rates, less competition, and a rising style of search that will continue to flourish. It’s essential to implement these practices now to keep pace with the continually evolving SEO practices.