A growing proportion of searches are being spoken instead of being typed in on a keyboard. From the latest stats, around 3.25 billion people currently use voice-activated search and assistants worldwide. (Adobe Analytics) And according to Forbes, half of all searches will be voice-based in 2021.

So what does this mean for your search engine optimization efforts? Does it change them? To put it simply, absolutely it does! Search engines have one top priority, to deliver the most accurate and contextual results to WHAT is searched for and HOW it is searched. Technology has now advanced to the point where many of the algorithms understand human speech with 95% accuracy, and it will only improve. So what does that mean for your content being prioritized in search engine results? Here are some tips.

1. Research questions that people ask about your keywords or phrases. When using voice search on Google or Alexa, most people ask questions that are more like real life, versus just entering keywords or phrases into a keyboard or form and pressing search. Use tools like Quora to see what questions and how they are being asked and framed. Google search also provides “People Also Ask”. Then, work on integrating these questions and answers into your content.

2. Optimize your local business listings. Always use location identifiers in your on-page strategies. Again, people are searching and asking for locations near them and using their local references. Use as many local business listings as you can find, and always prioritize Google My Business listing.

3. Implement Speakable Schema Markup. Speakable schema markup allows you to tell voice search technology and voice assistants what you want to be said for the content on that page. This should not be employed on the entire content or article, just the key points. It should also be just a few sentences and take no more than 30 seconds to read. Think short, consumable pieces. In other words, the kind of things you would hear from your voice assistant when you ask it questions.

4. Don’t forget Bing. Of all the in-home speakers in the United States, 68% are Alexa based devices. Alexa does not use Google, but Bing for its results. Make sure your SEO strategy thinking keeps this in mind. Certain keywords and topics will encounter less competition through Alexa. The reason for this is because there is less search volume on Bing currently. If you are retailing items through Amazon, then optimizing for Bing should be your top priority as the retail results will be prioritizing Amazon for product purchasing.

I hope the above items will get you a jumpstart on your 2021 voice search optimization. I have also outlined a few other items for 2021 that you need to be considering in your digital marketing plans. You can read about them here.

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