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By The Pollack Group

By 2020, half of online searches will be conducted using voice search. Smartphone users are leading this takeover, and the onus is now on marketers to make sure their content is optimized for the growing portion of voice search users. Agency president Stefan Pollack was featured in the Forbes Agency Council’s latest piece offering 10 tips for optimizing a website to voice search. See below for his and fellow Forbes Agency Council members’ insights, and read the original article here.

1. Focus On Location

All of the same search best practices apply to voice search. The biggest difference is the importance of localized search engine optimization. It is critical that your business location is optimized online because voice searches will generally look for local results first. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group

2. Make Your Content Easy To Read

Voice assistance often tries to match the question and answer more directly, so it would be a good idea to keep your content as simple as possible. Also, try giving direct answers to the questions, and make it obvious that this very paragraph has the answer. That said, don’t over-optimize, because algorithms constantly evolve. Focus on the quality of your content; let SEO be the cherry on the cake. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

3. Try Speaking Your Content Aloud

Content creators have gotten into the habit of writing for search engines. Finding the balance between bots and people is delicate. A similar dance is required for the new age of voice search. Be more conversational and publish in audio, video and print. Create content that answers questions; as you write, imagine yourself having a real-life conversation with your reader. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

4. Tag Your Content Properly

Who does not speak to their smart device multiple times a day? One thing that needs to be considered is the way that we are working with tags and embeddable content. There are many ways to flag content to make sure that it is keyword searchable, such as looking at SEO as well as the terms that people are searching for. What is very important is to understand how people communicate. – Jon James, Ignited Results

5. Think Conversationally

Spoken search queries are typically more conversational in tone than typed search queries and are often posed as complete but specific sentences. With this in mind, anticipate commonly asked questions related to your business and utilize them as longtail keywords on your website. Google will then be able to easily identify these keywords as a near-perfect match to a consumer’s voice search query. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media

6. Include Questions

Think about how you use voice search: You’re always asking a question. Enhance your website’s SEO rank by including questions as subheaders in your blog posts or evergreen information. The structured content, alongside matching how end users search for information, will help you along. And of course, make sure your answers are helpful and authentic. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP

7. Prioritize Context And Expertise

Voice assistants pull data from search engines like Google, which means that a brand’s SEO strategy is critical to making their website content discoverable on voice platforms. Recent changes to Google’s search engine algorithms allow them to recognize and prioritize search intent rather than a string of keywords. This means that SEO strategies need to prioritize context and category expertise. – Alexei Orlov, MTM

8. Embrace Natural Language

Write copy like you’re answering queries someone would ask their smart device. Copywriters today have many more things to worry about than they used to—natural language processing (NLP) and SEO among them. Search engine algorithms are more intuitive than ever and don’t rely only on keywords for results, which gives marketers the chance to answer questions about their business or industry that someone might actually ask. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications

9. Write In Q&A Format

Website content has long been written in paragraph form, but for voice searches, long paragraphs aren’t easy to read. Instead, rewrite your content in the form of questions and answers. Think about the way a consumer might ask for content and give concise, easy-to-understand answers to those questions. Also, make sure that you can answer local “near me” questions to turn the search into a sale! – Stephanie Shreve, PowerChord

10. Create A List Of Phrases, Then Test Them Out

Once you have established a list of key conversational phrases your marketing personas would use, test and learn with your site’s company section. The “About Us,” “Contact,” “Events” and “Team” pages answer many questions in the context of “on the go” voice search—for example, “Take me to X Inc.,” and “Who’s the CRO for Company Y?” Once you’re satisfied with results, tackle the product section. – Serenity Thompson, A23 Advisors