Voice Search SEO: How to Optimize your Affiliate Site
Voice search SEO has never been more important, as voice searchers are on pace to becoming more common than text-based searchers. That is inevitably changing the way affiliates and other site owners should approach their site’s SEO.
The two primary trends that are playing a significant role in the emergence of voice search are:
- The percentage of the population using mobile devices is continuing to increase.
In 2020, global smartphone users reached 3.6 billion for the first time. 31% of those people conduct at least one voice search a week on their device using built-in virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri.
- Smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Alexa have become household staples. Their popularity has only increased as people spend more time at home due to pandemic-related restrictions. (Global smart speaker sales surpassed 150 units in Q4 2020 alone.)
This shift in how people search for info, products, and services means affiliate marketers also need to make a shift.
Affiliates who rely on SEO and organic traffic coming from search engines like Google now need to know how to to specifically improve their voice search SEO.
Before we discuss what actions affiliates should take, let’s first look at the differences between the two types of search.
The Difference Between Voice Search and Text Search
The way we search using our voices differs significantly from the way we do so with our fingers.
Text searches are:
- Shorter in length
- Keyword focused
- Searching for non-urgent information
Voice searches are:
- Longer in length
- Urgent Queries
- Structured as questions seeking an answer
The biggest difference is that text-based searches tend to focus on just a few important keywords. We type in relevant words to what we are trying to find and let the algorithms do the rest.
Voice searches on the other hand are typically more conversational. Since we are talking to someone (or something), we tend to structure our queries as questions.
For example, let’s say you are looking for the info we provided above.
If you were to use type-based search, you might type “voice search vs type search” or “voice search differences” into the search bar.
However, if you were using voice search, you are more likely to ask “Hey Google. What are the differences between voice search and type search?” or “How does voice search differ from type-based searches?”
Since the two types of searches are structurally different, so are their corresponding results.
For this reason, SEO strategies that aim to get pages ranked at the top of traditional text-based searches are not as effective at doing so for voice search.
How to Optimize for Voice Search SEO
The goal here is not to completely abandon traditional SEO strategies that can help you page rank well for text-based searches. Instead, this is an alternative approach that can improve your voice search SEO if you think your page(s) is missing out on those users.
Keep in mind that the content of your pages is also going to play a role in whether it is better to optimize for text or voice search. Typically, pages that contain information that users need urgently perform better when optimized for voice.
It sounds obvious, but the best way to get these users to your page is getting it ranked in the top position, also known as ‘position zero’.
This is displayed as a ‘featured snippet’ that provides users a direct, focused answer to their query.
Snippets pair perfectly with the question-like structure of most voice searches. If your content is ranked there, you can expect to receive a ton of organic traffic.
In addition to knowing the differences we mentioned above, here are some voise search SEO actions you can take to improve your site’s page ranking.
Include Longer Phrases/Long-Tail Keywords
Competition makes it nearly impossible to rank at the top of searches for common keywords. However, you can work around that by targeting more specific keyword phrases, also known as long-tail keywords.
Users who include long-tail keywords in their searches are also closer to booking a reservation, signing up to a service, or purchasing a product than those using common keywords.
For example, someone searching “fitness equipment” is not as close to taking their credit card out as someone who is searching “What are the most affordable exercise bikes in 2021”.
By focusing on longer phrases and more specific key words, you are more likely to target an untapped audience looking to take action.
Make your Content Easy to Read
Labyrinthine passages are infrequently discovered at the pinnacle of online explorations. In other words, overly-wordy content is rarely found at the top of search rankings.
In fact, the average ‘position zero’ Google search result is written at a 9th grade reading level.
Ask your own virtual assistant or smart speaker a question right now. The answer you receive is likely to be straight forward and simply-worded.
Although there is no concrete proof that search engines neglect verbose content, the evidence is there that ditching the thesaurus can give you a leg up.
Include Question Words
Since most voice searches are commonly structured as questions, you will want to include the fundamental question words within your content.
By adding who, what, when, where, how, and why into your page’s copy, your content will instantly become more parallel with voice searches.
Try to think of your content as targeted responses to potential questions. Keeping that theme in mind when you are writing will ensure you have less optimization to do after the fact.
Create Locally-Targeted Pages
People using voice search often have an urgent question they need answered. Those urgent questions are also more likely to be related to where they live. (eg. “What’s the best Italian restaurant in Springville? “What gym in Springville has the cheapest membership fee?”)
This provides an opportunity to create pages that specifically target local areas.
For instance, if you monetize a cycling site, you could design a page based around “The best cycling paths in West Philadelphia.” You can then scale that content by creating a series of similar pages for multiple GEOs.
Increase Your Site’s Speed
This is something that will improve your SEO for any type of search method.
A page’s loading speed has been a staple of Google’s page ranking alrogithm since 2010. In 2018 they increased its importance even further.
The first thing you should do is analyze your site’s speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This will give you an understanding of what areas of your site are slowing it down.
From there, you can do the following to instantly increase the speed of your page or site:
Optimize/Compress Site Images
Use plugins/tools like Smush(WordPress) or Mass Image Compressor to reduce the size of your images without sacrificing quality.
Upgrade Your Hosting Package
Sharing a server with a large amount of other sites will limit your page’s speed. If you can afford it, upgrade to premium host or dedicated server for an immediate speed increase.
Clean Up your Code
Allow Browser Caching
Browser Caching will not increase your site’s speed for first-time visitors but it will do so for those returning. That is still quite useful.
You can activate it in your .htaccess file or select from several plugins that will do it for if your site is hosted on WordPress.