The rising popularity of mobile devices has changed the way consumers search for information online, and marketers are already adapting their search engine optimisation tactics in response.
In 2018, SEO needs to consider the prominence of AI-powered voice search too.
According to Google, 1 out of 5 searches come from voice queries. 50 percent of smartphone users use voice technology on their device, and 33 percent use it daily.
Search engines are becoming much more human-friendly thanks to deep learning and natural language processing. When it comes to voice search, artificial intelligence systems like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are often better placed to understand and meet searcher’s needs.
Personalisation plays a large role in results. AI algorithms can track click rates, user behaviour, location, previous searches and the syntax of your question.
Ranking factors vary greatly between queries - but there are still things your company can do to achieve better rankings.
Some best practices for AI-powered voice search include; answering specific questions, targeting long-tail keywords, using clear formatting and adopting a mobile-first strategy.
Here, we take a closer look at how to make your B2B blog posts voice search friendly.
Use a conversational tone of voice
In comparison to written search queries, AI-powered voice searches tend to be a little longer and more conversational in tone. A user might type “best restaurant (location)” in a search bar - but they are more likely to use a complete sentence when it comes to making commands to a speech-powered device.
This means that marketers have to adjust their keyword research tactics to cover more conversational terms and phrases. Keyword density is a lesser factor now than relevance, context and value when it comes to search result ranking factors.
Casual language that gets to the point is very compatible with voice-powered search. Google favours short, concise answers. A typical voice search result is 29 words long.
HubSpot recommends creating a topic cluster to improve SEO. Your business can gain online authority using broad, relevant categories focussed on a chosen topic.
With a specific topic in mind, your blog post can go on to answer many minor questions - even unusual ones - that prospects may be searching for. Written content should represent the solution to a problem. It may benefit you to explicitly list the questions you seek to answer in your blog to bring clarity and demonstrate relevance.
Feature factual snippets and direct answers
Make your content quote-ready.
Spoken word is vastly different to the written word. When we type into search bars, we use shorthand, and often feed the search engine keywords we anticipate will produce the best results. In contrast, voice search is more spontaneous and we commonly use words like who, what, where and when. To appeal to voice search AI, marketers can mirror these adverbs.
It’s helpful to break down your copy into scannable chunks that are sprinkled with quick, concise answers to various questions around a topic. A mixture of factual, accurate information and detailed copy is ideal.
Google ranking is user-focused, which is one reason why most websites aim to deliver a smooth UX for their visitors. For the same reason, your blog headers and copy need to be informative and easy to digest.
Create long-form content
Google prefers to source voice search answers from long-form content. Short blog posts no longer rank well for competitive keywords - content that covers several topics in depth perform better.
Research has shown that the top five results on Google are often upward of 1,500 words.
Here's how to create long-form content in four easy steps:
Choose a topic
Cover it comprehensively, including long-tail keywords
Break your copy up into sub-topics with clear headers
Summarise answers to common questions clearly and concisely
Page speed matters
Reduce your page load time. Research shows that voice search results mainly come from fast loading pages.
The average voice search result page loads 52 percent faster than other pages.
Quality and relevance are ranking factors
Search engines are giving greater prominence to contextual results. Google’s AI, RankBrain, takes into account the context of website content during the ranking process.
B2B blog posts need to provide value by directly answering the questions people are asking. Creating a blog based around a concept and using long-tail keywords is now more effective than packing a post full of buzzwords based on keyword research.
By focusing on a single topic, you can find a niche for your business; narrowing the competitive pool and increasing the chances of drawing traffic to your post.
Your B2B marketing blog post needs to be factual, accurate and conversational.
Here are what Google considers the most important factors when assigning an overall page quality rating:
● Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness
● Main Content Quality and Amount
● Website Information (information about who is responsible for the website)
● Website Reputation
Your post will be penalised if you are factually incorrect, spammy or misleading. Make sure your title is relevant to your post and reflective of the page content. Only include links to websites that hold good authority.
Understand search intent
When sorting results, AI tries to figure out whether a searcher is looking for a short answer, or a more detailed one and then provide a response with the appropriate length and complexity.
What are your buyer personas looking for? Generally speaking, search queries can be broken into 4 categories. A browser typically uses search engines to achieve one of the following:
● Know something (check facts, find reviews, gain information, better understand something)
● Do something (get instructions, best practices, shortcuts, advice)
● Find a specific website
● Find a location
A blog post typically addresses one of the first two query types. As you are writing, try to imagine whether somebody is trying to find facts or instructions, and provide them with reliable information.
Artificial intelligence is delivering improved search results. Understanding user intent is key to writing copy that resonates. Improvements in AI technology allow search engines to analyse whether or not the people who click on links to your blog posts actually stay and read your content. This can affect your ranking, so it’s important that you meet visitors’ needs.
Inbound marketers use written content to drive awareness, leads and sales. Predictions are that by 2020, 50 percent of searches will be made through voice-technology. If you can position your blog to appear in more AI-powered voice searches, you will create better opportunities to connect with potential customers.