January 23, 2018 by Rob Andrews
Voice Search Queries: Getting to the Top of the (Voice Search) Heap (Final Installment)
By way of summary and review, in this series on voice search, we began by giving some overall context to the current reach and impact of voice search. In subsequent installments, we discussed the basic prerequisites – what needs to be in place with your site in order to play the game properly. We also presented some strategies for brainstorming and researching voice search queries, as well as practical aspects of testing and refining possible voice search queries and strategies.
In this final installment, we are going to give you some pointers that will hopefully take you to the top levels of voice search – taking these things seriously will give you an edge over the many who will, sooner than later, be trying to rank for the same voice searches that you are.
The Golden Rule of Voice Search
Begin with this crucial insight: Changing the parameters of the search question will often generate different search results:
Desktop Search: “dui attorneys Baltimore”
Voice Search Variant Phrasing: “show me DUI attorneys located in Baltimore”
Immediate Need Voice Search: “show me DUI attorneys located in Baltimore who make jail visits” (And I hope you never need to run that search!)
For each of the above searches, the list of results returned could vary significantly.
This is the Golden Rule of voice search because it teaches us that there is more than one way to get to the number one position in voice search.
In plainer language: There may only be one result returned for each voice search query but there may be many different variations of the query that you can target, that your competition may not have researched, that can yield the number one spot for your site.
Voice Search Context Clues: Giving The Search Engines “Help” In Understanding That Your Site Is Truly Local
Here’s another critical area to address – and fix if needed – The wording in your site content so that it provides context clues to the spiders that your site/business really is LOCAL.
Here are some examples of good local context clues for business listings:
…just 7 miles north of freeway exit 18…
…across the street from the Super Mark-Ette…
…we are located at the north entrance of the Central Subway Station…
…on the corner of Elm and Houston near Dealey Plaza…
Why Context Clues Are Critical For Voice Search
Why incorporate context clues into your website content and local business listings descriptions? Because persons who are local (actually in the area, either traveling or residing there) will know the area where you are located and will understand these “anchoring” references.
It is not that they will incorporate these phrases in their voice search query. Instead, if your site shows up in the listing of results, they will quickly see that your location is near them, and will be able to find it easily – and that is the search result they will follow up on, all other things being equal. Context clues give you an edge over competitor sites with more generic wording, or who only incorporate a street address.
But this will only happen if this type of information is explicitly included in your site content, especially in business listings and website “locations” sections.
If you would like to deep-dive into an analysis of wording as it applies to featured snippets (which has great relevance to voice search) check out this study.
Further Testing Will Be Necessary To Refine
The more testing you do, the better off you are going to be.
For example, for highly location-anchored searches, you will want to try these searches from different locations in your region of business:
- Travel in a car and go 10 miles and then re-run the search
- Staff can also run a query at their home or while they travel about in their neighborhood and note the results.
Ideally, you want to show up competitively when the same search is done from different locations and devices throughout your entire business service area.
What’s Next After You Have The Best Voice Search Queries Targeted
When you have your “best list” of voice search queries in hand, you are going to need to do a few additional things:
You need to make sure to put this information into the hands of all staff and freelancers who have responsibility for developing content or who are engaging in content marketing (see our series on content marketing here) for your business. They especially need to incorporate “answers” to these voice search “questions” when developing content for your landing pages, main site pages, YouTube descriptions, FAQ and support pages, and you might even experiment with using it with your PPC ads.
Finally, you should make a note on your planning calendar to periodically (2-4 times a year) re-run your voice search testing to see if anything has changed – results returned via voice search can fluctuate quite a bit. You might be at the top of the heap this month, but in 1-2 months your competition may have moved in.
Keep in mind, as we close this series, that voice search is still totally in its infancy, so lots of significant changes will occur along the way as the technology changes, and searchers (as well as site owners) react to those changes. As further developments warrant we’ll update you at the Posirank.com blog site.
Coming soon – our next extended series: eCommerce Site SEO, Challenges and Opportunities.