Voice Search: Personal Assistants Search Optimization

By August 22nd, 2017

Voice Search: Personal Assistants Search Optimization

With a staggering 20% of queries going through our vocal assistant and its incredible growth; no surprise Voice Search got elected as the most important phenomenon of 2017. Away from the buzzwords and hype, personal assistants search optimization (PASO) is a reality. I want to show what we learned through the experiments done with the team at WordLift and what strategies and tactics you can implement to make your content ready for voice search!

Before we start let Google Home explain “what’s PASO?”

In short, those are a set of techniques used to optimize the content on a website to make it findable and usable by a vocal assistant. It is like making the content on your blog/website speak to the users. In the next years, the SEO arena won’t be only about creating content that ranks. But rather creating content that talks. In other words, besides asking how many keywords does your website rank for. You will ask how many conversations your website will trigger.

Is this the end of SEO? Not at all. That is just one of the way SEO is evolving. PASO isn’t a phenomenon sprouted from nowhere. Instead, voice search got built upon the traditional web. Therefore, backlinks and keywords are still crucial. Yet other factors are coming into play.

In this article, I’ll analyze three main factors to take into account. But before we dive into them. What’s the source of the answer those assistants are providing?

The Science Behind Google’s Snippet

In my previous article, I explained what is that we think makes Google pick as a snippet. In short, what in the SEO world is called Rank Zero is also the place where you want your content to be if you want to make it talk. Getting Rank Zero does not necessarily mean to rank for a competitive keyword. Quite the opposite. It means to get your snippet for a long tail keyword that resembles a user’s question.

Having said that let’s dive into the three golden tactics of PASO.

Schema Markup: The Lingua Franca Of Search Engines

Ok Google, what’s Schema.org?

In short, think of schema.org like a “lingua franca” for search engines. The language that makes search engines find, access and understand the content that resides on a website. There are several reasons to implement Schema Markup on a website. Yet Schema is also an excellent way to make your content ready for Vocal Assistants.

When you feed a piece of content toward search engines, that is unstructured data. In fact, although the language is understandable to humans through our brains. Search engines need something more. When you add Schema Markup to that piece of content, it transitions from unstructured to structured data.

How do you add Schema Markup to your content? Several tools allow you to do that. Most of them require an advanced understanding of SEO. On the other hand, with WordLift we added a Schema Markup in a few clicks.

For instance, in this particular case (what is Schema.org?) we used a unique field called sameAs that the software populated by itself,

Voice Search: Personal Assistants Search Optimization

In short, this page is particularly compelling because it is disambiguated, thus readable by search engines.

We can see that by opening Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool,

Voice Search: Personal Assistants Search Optimization

Practically speaking we made our content ready to be found by search engines so that they can provide the right answer to our users. What’s next?

Create A Glossary Or Faq Section That Answers Specific Questions, But You Better Be Short!

A new myth is forming in today’s web. You got to write three thousand words articles if you want to make your content convert. Yet if in the past long form content made sense to allow search engines to index it more effectively. Nowadays with the new Google’s algorithm Hummingbird content is judged more and more on how relevant that is, independently of its length.

To make it precise and straight to the point you have to place strategic importance to the FAQ section of your website. In an alternative, you can create an internal glossary that is organized toward specific questions a potential customer might have.

For instance, if you look at our page about PASO that Google Home was able to read the word count does not go over the 300 words mark.

Better yet the first section of the page counts 77 words. Yet when we asked Google Home to reply to What’s PASO the vocal assistant only took the first 45 words, and it ignored the rest,

Voice Search: Personal Assistants Search Optimization

There is no rule of thumb on the length of a possible answer, yet that also tells us that the first 50-60 words are crucial. It also connects to the last vital factor. Make it conversational

Don’t Create Content, Generate Conversations With Your Users

In the last two decades, we’ve been used to think about keywords like something far away from the way we think and talk. Instead, search engines use AI to understand and interpret the users’ questions. In this scenario, it is vital to generate conversations rather than just create content. For instance, think about how people ask questions.

Based on that use the first 50-60 words to make your content as conversational as possible. Think of it as a straight answer you’re providing

Summary And Conclusions

We’ve seen throughout this article how SEO is evolving into PASO. The backbone of the web is still based on traditional factors such as backlinks and keywords. New vital factors are coming into play. The three most important ones are,

  • Schema Markup
  • Answer Prone Short Content
  • Conversational Keywords

* Adapted lead image:  Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com

About the Author: Gennaro Cuofano

Content Marketer and Business Developer at WordLift. After three years in the financial industry in San Diego, California, Gennaro created an online community, The Four-Week MBA. He is part of the growth hacking team and brings his business insight to spread the value of WordLift and support its community of users.

The Four-Week MBA

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