How to Optimize Voice Search for Siri

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By Boris Dzhingarov

iPhones are among the most popular brand of smartphones in the world. With so many millions of iPhones and other Apple devices out there with Siri built-in, it is hardly surprising that a growing number of users are utilizing voice search when they want to search online.

For the user, searching using their voice is quicker and simpler. But for website owners, it presents several unique logistical challenges. For example, when users search using their voice, they phrase their queries differently and use different keywords.

As a result of the above, website owners now need to optimize their sites for voice search. To make things more complicated, every voice assistant is different. Here’s what you need to know to optimize for Siri users.

Think Like a Person, Not a Search Engine

There is a paradox in search engine optimization. While SEO aims to make websites more accessible for human users, achieving this requires marketers to appease the soulless search engine algorithms that underpin internet searches. SEO professionals identify which keywords to target based on cold hard data. Until recently, the overwhelming majority of these keywords and search queries would be written for a search engine. But now that voice search is becoming much more commonplace, this is no longer a given.

People don’t search the internet the same way when they use their voice. There are subtle differences in the way that users phrase their search queries between spoken and written forms. Users searching the internet via Siri rather than the keyboard will be saying their queries aloud, as they would if they were talking to another person.

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Instead of spending time and resources targeting the disappointed keywords that users use when they are typing their queries, focus on the much more naturalistic spoken queries. Google makes it easy to find out which queries brought users to your website and where they came from. With a bit of detective work, you can easily figure out which voice queries are bringing the most people to your website. You can then target these for your voice SEO.

Target Question Phrases

One of the key differences between users searching on safari and users searching via Siri is how they phrase their queries. Users who are typing their queries out are less likely to phrase them as complete questions. On the other hand, when a user performs a voice search, it is natural for them to speak in complete sentences.

A key component of optimizing your website for voice search is identifying the key questions to target. For most businesses, the most common questions will be predictable. For example, for any business that maintains a physical brick and mortar store, people will likely want to ask what time it is open.

Think about the questions that your customers are most likely to ask. These should not just include questions about your business, but should also include related questions that might lead someone to your business. For example, if your business sells games consoles, you want to attract users searching for Christmas present ideas, as well as those searching for specific games consoles.

Create Pages to Answer Common Questions

If you know what kind of questions your users are most commonly searching for, you can create entire pages dedicated to answering them. Users who ask specific questions are looking for specific answers. You can significantly improve a user’s experience when searching for your website by providing them with pages that answer their queries clearly and concisely.

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Even if the questions you are targeting are more open-ended, you can still build specific pages to answer them. You should aim to keep these pages as lightweight as possible, meaning they will load quickly, and your users can find the information they need as soon as possible.

Consider the Meaning Behind the Words

When users use Siri to search the internet, their searches are still ultimately run through Google. This means that optimizing your website for Google will also benefit your voice search optimization. One area in which Google remains leaps and bounds ahead of the competition is when it comes to linguistic processing.

Google’s linguistic processing enables it to look beyond the words themselves and understand the underlying meaning and intent. Understanding user intent is the future of search engines. There was a time when all a search engine did was look for specific keywords and return a list of websites that contain a mention of that word. As time has gone on, search engines have become considerably more sophisticated. When you ask your search engine a question today using your voice, it can process your query and interpret the underlying intention.

SEO experts are used to looking at keywords and nothing else. That is rapidly changing as user intense becomes more important. When you review voice search queries that your users have used to find your business, make sure that you think about those searchers’ intentions rather than the words themselves.

Utilize as Much Data as You Can

Whether you are optimizing for voice search or any other kind of search, you should aim to incorporate as much data as you can into these processes. A significant portion of all voice searches are looking for local businesses and services. In these searches, users will often reference specific microdata, such as the location or phone number of a business.

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By ensuring that your website has a sitemap that makes all of your most essential data points readily available to search engine crawlers, you can significantly improve your SEO. Because so many voice searches asked queries that will reference this data, you should notice an appreciable boost in the number of people coming to your website via Siri searches.

In fact, anything that you can do to improve your local SEO will have a knock-on benefit for your voice search optimization.

Voice search is on the rise, and the trend is showing no signs of slowing. Every website owner needs to be optimizing their site for voice search in preparation for 2021.