voice search strategy

Does Your Publication Need a Voice Search Strategy?

Voice search was poised to become the next big thing in 2020. Then the pandemic happened. As we look into 2021, publishers are once again asking whether they need a voice search strategy.

For businesses that sell physical goods and services, the value of voice search is clear. Millions of voice-activated devices are now sitting on shelves in homes across the country, and there is an inherent value in being the first result to come up when someone searches for a business nearby. But what about publishers? Can local news publishers and online magazines benefit from having a voice search strategy?

Magazines, news publishers, and niche publications all have something to gain from being at the top of voice search. With voice now becoming the default interface for more than 200 million smart speakers, and most smartphones coming pre-installed with digital assistants, voice search has become a part of everyday life. By 2023, there could be as many as 8 billion digital voice assistants in use around the globe.

Unlike more traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, news publications aren’t trying to rank in local search based on the goods or services they sell. Instead, local news publishers and online magazines are vying to become the resource that voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa refer to when they bring up local search results.

The opportunities for digital publishers to take advantage of voice products and services are virtually endless. As publishers hone in on those strategies in 2021, we recommend focusing on the following personal digital assistants:

  • Apple’s Siri
  • Amazon’s Alexa
  • Microsoft’s Cortana
  • Google Assistant

If you have a business directory or you publish annual Best Of lists, then you need a voice search strategy to ensure your resources are being utilized by the most popular voice assistants.

How should you do that? Start by making sure your existing website content is optimized for voice. Voice technology favors content that’s written in a conversational tone. Voice queries are longer and more complex than written searches, so when you’re coming up with headlines and other article content, consider whether you’re answering the relevant questions people might be verbally asking.

For example, a person is more likely to type “best pizza in Rhode Island” into Google, but ask “Where is the best pizza in Rhode Island?” when verbally searching with Amazon’s Alexa. Publications that take note of that seemingly small linguistic change, and build in the context related to answering frequent questions, will usually see a big improvement in their voice search rankings.

In an article for Search Engine Land, writer Bryson Meunier offered these suggestions for how to optimize content for conversational keywords:

  • Write Q&A pages or individual blog posts that answer reader questions
  • Add “near me” phrasing to articles, when relevant
  • Use structured data and get your website a featured snippet
  • Make sure all of your content is mobile-friendly
  • Make your domain authoritative
  • Get comfortable sharing your content across social media
  • Publish a good mix of short-form and long-form content

Larger news publishers, including The New York Times and Reuters, have made significant investments in voice over the past few years. As voice recognition technology improves at a rapid pace going into 2021, this is playing a bigger role in those strategies, as well.

Although it’s clear by now that every publication needs a voice search strategy in 2021, there is more than one way to go about it. Websites with the most trust and authority tend to win out in voice search, just as they do in traditional search, so building up your profile is still a good place to begin. Local SEO is important, as well, especially for hyperlocal news sites and other community-focused publications.

To learn more about upgrading your website to account for the latest changes in mobile and voice search, contact Web Publisher PRO.