Tapping into the potential of voice search.

Written by: Phillip Nones

There’s broad consensus that SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (paid search) are among the most accountable performance marketing vehicles in the digital realm.  And now, voice search has emerged as a newly significant aspect – in much the same way mobile search became a significant part of the search landscape not so long ago.

Voice search isn’t all that different from text search except that it utilizes ASR (automatic speech recognition) for input and TTS (text-to-speech for output.  Voice search can now be accommodated in practically every language (and dialect) – nearly 125 at last count.

But there’s a fundamental difference in the way voice search queries are made.  Whereas text searches tend to emphasize just a few key words, when people search verbally, they’re more likely to use longer phrases (or complete questions) – more of what’s we know as “real speech” or “natural language.”  For websites, this means retooling content so that web pages are optimized for natural language.

In order to accomplish this, think of how someone would perform a voice search for the products and services in your industry.  One good approach is to document the types of the questions people ask when they call your office to inquire about your business.  That will provide good direction on how to optimize your web page content to match with the “real speech” phrases people use when they think about your company and your products.

Next, consider preparing Q&A-style content pages that focus on those conversational keyword phrases.  Creating different pages, centered on specific semantic questions people typically ask, is a worthwhile endeavor that may also increase your chances of appearing in a “featured snippet” of copy that Google often serves up on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Another tool that can pay dividends in optimizing for voice search is tapping into latent semantic indexing (LSI).  Those are the keywords that Google displays at the bottom of s SERP as “searches related to” terms when someone executes a search query.  Adding those LSI terms to your web page copy, as appropriate, will help your pages appear even more “relevant” to the search bots related to the searches being executed by users.

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