Optimizing Featured Snippets for Voice Search: A Guide

Posted by on November 27, 2017

Optimizing Featured Snippets for Voice Search

SEO is a fast-moving industry. Trends and technologies can change daily, and keeping up with them is a full-time job in and of itself. One factor that’s really having a rapid and dramatic effect on SEO right now is the rise of voice search. As more searches are done via mobile devices—and as voice assistants become more and more commonplace—people are searching for information differently. This has implications for SEOs everywhere.

Just how major are these changes? It is anticipated that, by 2020, half of all Google queries will be done by voice search. The time for SEOs to adapt and change is now.

Voice Search and Featured Snippets

A specific consideration to make? Featured snippets, which are the pieces of information that are read in response to voice search queries. You’ve seen featured snippets before, even if you didn’t know that’s what they were called. Featured snippets are those direct answers to the question, appearing in a box at the top of the Google SERP—typically with a link back to the source article.

Search Engine Watch reports that roughly 30 percent of Google queries now include featured snippets. That number is only likely to grow. For SEOs looking to adapt and to accommodate voice search users, featured snippets represent a natural place to start.

Begin with Long-Tail Keywords

Speaking of places to start, as you look to improve your featured snippets, it’s important to include long-tail keywords. Why? Because voice searches are by nature more conversational in their language and in their structure. Identifying the informal ways in which search users might phrase a query is imperative—though not always easy. Some tools you might use: Frequently asked questions you receive from your own customers, customer survey data, and, of course, standard keyword research tools.

As you develop long-tail keywords, and try to plan for the informal questions that might lead a search engine user to your product or service, always test things out; submit these questions to Google and see what kinds of featured snippets you receive.

Answer the Question

Answer the Question

Once you develop some of these long-tail keywords, structured as questions, the next step is to answer those questions. You can do this by writing blog posts that provide a direct answer to the question but also elaborate and expound. Provide rich, deep, substantive information to contextualize that direct answer—because that’s really what Google loves.

A good formula to adopt: Answer the question, then provide answers to some other, related search queries. This can help you cover a lot of bases, though you may need to do some testing and fine-tuning to get it right. You can also try to integrate a number of questions and answers into something like an FAQ page or a guide—good evergreen content that might be favored by Google.

Finally, note that featured snippets that make it to the top of the SERP very often have images—so any graphs or tables you can include will likely help your cause.

Think Local

Another wrinkle in all this: Voice search is tilted toward mobile devices and local searches. Local searches do not always bring up featured snippets, but they do often bring up Google My Business listings—so if your company doesn’t yet have one, it should.

These profiles are often read aloud in the form of driving directions, Search Engine Watch claims. This makes sense: a lot of voice searches are done in the context of hands-free querying, while the search engine user is behind the wheel of a car.

We also recommend keeping contact information easily accessible on every page of your website—a local SEO must. And ensure that it’s listed as text. Putting your contact information within an image means Google has a harder time crawling it. And, as always, see to it that your Google My Business page is kept up to date. (For that matter, make sure your business website remains optimized for mobile users.)

Embrace the Trends

The bottom line: SEO professionals cannot ignore search engine trends—and right now, there’s arguably no trend more impactful than voice search.

Voice search will only become more important in the coming years, too—so how can your strategy adapt? That’s what we’d love to talk with you about. Our Orange County SEO firm is always on the cutting edge, and we want you there with us. Reach out to EverythingOnline today to begin that journey.