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Hey Google, How Can I Improve Voice Search SEO?

Voice search isn’t just a buzz word in marketing anymore, it is here, and it’s being adopted by users at a rapid pace. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2021 businesses that adapted their websites to voice search early-on will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%.

There’s an abundance of opportunity to get a head start on voice search, and, while the concept is growing quickly, have no fear, you’re not behind just yet. Take a look at these three steps you can take to bring your bank closer to becoming the spoken answer for your audience.

1. Discover the questions your audience has and find opportunities to answer them, directly.

Voice searches are conducted differently from a traditional search engine inquiry. They’re more conversational and often include a personal touch in the form of a feeling, emotion or sense of urgency. Here are some examples of how the same search can differ based on if it’s spoken or typed:

Typed Search: ATMs in Bedford, NH
Voice Search:
Hey Google, where is the closest ATM near me?

Typed Search: how to apply for a mortgage
Voice Search: Alexa, what steps do I need to take to apply for a mortgage?

Typed Search: interest rates for credit cards.
Voice Search: Hey Google, what is a good rate for a credit card?

The best way to position your bank to become the spoken answer is to provide direct answers to the questions most likely to be asked by your users. When writing content for your website, you may find yourself complicating a topic to make your business sound more knowledgeable.  However, when it comes to voice search, clarity is more important than the lengthy details, because voice search devices are scanning for the most direct answer. For example, when someone asks, “What’s an interest rate?” a detailed and complex explanation on interest rates most likely won’t rank first unless one of the first lines of content begins with, “An interest rate is…”

What does this mean for your content marketing strategy? It’s time to revisit how you’re writing content on your website. Creating a financial education section for your website is a great SEO boost that, if executed correctly, can also be the reason you become the answer to your customers’ voiced questions. Not sure what questions your audience is asking? Talk to your customer-facing employees to discover the questions they frequently answer or check out www.answerthepublic.com/, which is a tool that provides a list of questions tied to specific keywords. Once you have a list of questions, integrate their direct answers into your content strategy. Google also has a great resource that provides sample queries and measures the spoken response rating based on how content is written. It can be found here.

If your bank doesn’t have the time or budget to invest in a new content marketing strategy, adding an FAQ page to your website is a great place to start. The most important thing to remember is to leave the ‘fluff’ out of your content, the key to becoming the spoken answer is to be direct.

2. Develop a keyword strategy that includes Voice Search query characteristics.

As mentioned previously, voice searches are formulated differently than typed searches. This means that in order to become the spoken answer, you must revisit your keyword strategy. In general, voice search queries include conversational words and are much longer than the typical keywords you’re ranking for. According to Moz, while typed searches range between 2-3 words, voice searches are longer and typically fall between 7-10 words. However, this doesn’t mean that you should dedicate countless resources prioritizing an abundance of long-tail keywords. It’s important to note that voice searches are usually question-based, so you should start by prioritizing question-based keywords.

Who, what, when, where, why, how and ‘near me’ searches have been on the rise since voice assistants first entered the market. The chart below shows the steady increase in the use of these keywords in search trends beginning in January 2016, especially in mobile:

 google graph

3. Optimize your website from behind the scenes.

A final tip to keep in mind when preparing your bank for voice search success, is to utilize the ‘behind-the-scenes’ data on your website. Specifically, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking advantage of schema metadata. Schema metadata is an important best practice tool to boost SEO rankings, and the introduction of voice search has made it more important than ever.

As a basic overview, schema metadata is a language that website developers use when writing code to provide additional information to search engines.  In this data, you can include insight on the meaning of your website content and what it relates to. In turn, you can make it easier for Google to analyze and understand your content which can boost both your traditional and voice search SEO rankings.

Younger generations tend to talk to voice assistants in a conversational tone as they would a real person, whereas older generations typically take on a more ‘robotic’ tone. As voice search continues to evolve and grow in popularity with the aging population, so will strategies to improve your rankings. With technology rapidly developing, it’s only a matter of time before artificial intelligence devices begin to take an even larger role in our everyday lives. Taking these three steps to optimize your content for voice search will not only allow your bank to deliver the spoken answer but help you get a boost over your competition.

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