How to optimize featured snippets for voice search

By Jessie Moore

SEO is an exceptionally fast-paced industry, and sometimes keeping on top of the latest updates and imminent changes can be a full-time job in itself.

One factor that is having an unprecedented effect on organic search is voice search. The combination of an increase in mobile searches and the rise in voice assistants has meant that the way in which people are searching for information online is changing dramatically.

Whether it’s Siri, Cortana, Amazon Echo, Google, or another robot friend, there is no questioning the importance of voice search. According to Google, more than half of queries will be voice search by 2020, and this requires a refreshed approach to SEO.

Featured snippets

One of the key aspects of this is featured snippets, as these are the results which are read aloud in response to voice searches. Featured snippets are often referred to as ‘Position Zero’, a phrase coined by Pete Meyers. They are the direct answer results that appear at the top of the SERPs in a box, and they often include a link back to the source of the answer.

Source: Stone Temple

According to Stone Temple Consulting, nearly 30% of 1.4 million Google queries tested now show Featured Snippets. That’s a lot of affected searches. Updating your search strategy to include optimization for featured snippets should therefore be a priority.

The key point to remember with featured snippets is that if a searcher is using voice search and expecting a verbal reply, they will not be presented with a choice of results. Instead, only one result is read out and where there is a featured snippet, this will be the choice of the voice assistant.

You could have the most mind-blowing and enticing meta description and title tags in the world, but if you’re not in that sought after position zero, then your lovingly crafted content will not be read aloud and will therefore remain both unseen and unheard by the searcher.

Long-tail keywords

Of course the key difference between voice search and standard search is the use of more natural, conversational language. This new style of search and query formats must be factored into your strategy. Cue long-tail keywords!

The first step in your journey to the exclusive realm of featured snippets is to identify the informational queries related to your product or services. Use keyword tools, but also ask customers and consider the frequently asked questions you receive on a regular basis.

Answer the Public is a fantastic tool for these more conversational search queries. The tool allows you to dig deeper into user intent by separating the results into question starters, such as ‘who’, ‘why’ and ‘how’. Build on this research by uncovering other similar queries, using the ‘People also asked’ feature on Google.

Test the questions that you generate by typing them into Google and analyzing the results of the featured snippets. Use these as a basis, but work out what you could add or improve on to make the result even better. Perhaps the article source does Go to the full article.

Source:: Search Engine Watch

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