Table of contents
Voice search is on the rise, and with one-third of the US consumers having a smart speaker, it is a potent market to target with your content. If you optimize your videos for voice search, you can get in front of a young and tech-savvy audience. The early adopters are more likely to subscribe, try, and buy your products.
But the main question is, what makes voice search optimization different from standard search optimization? And this resource answers that question. It covers multiple tips that build on top of each other and make your content more voice-search-friendly and helpful at the same time.
But before getting into the full list, here are the top three for voice search optimization:
Upload a transcript for videos - This can help the voice search algorithms understand your content. You can autogenerate transcripts with ContentFries.
Make your content hyperlocal - Most voice searches include the term "near me".
Give query-ending answers - Be as precise and helpful as possible with your answers.
Make Your Video Script Snippet-Friendly
Currently, voice search is heavily reliant on user-generated content, so it prefers videos and articles that bear answers that require minimal editing. For example, if you ask your Amazon Echo, “What is the best burger spot near me?” It will not give you a tailored answer like ChatGPT.
Instead, it will look for places and give you a list or seek a blog post that contains the exact answer. Something like: "The best burger spot in 12 South, Nashville is…" SEO experts call this a snippet. You might have encountered Google snippets, which are answers pulled from articles and shown directly on the search page.
While blogs have started being snippet-friendly since 2019, video content has been lagging behind, so you have an opportunity to establish yourself early on. If you don't want to lose this first-mover advantage, you must understand which snippets are a waste of effort.
Upload A Transcript
Uploading a transcript of your video can do wonders for your voice search optimization. Auto-generated transcripts are not always accurate and are not even prioritized by algorithms, which prefer manually added transcripts.
Hyper-Localize Your Videos
Weather and definition snippets are usually a waste of time and energy for video content creators because voice search algorithms already have a well-established relationship with certain websites for those queries.
Alexa, for instance, uses AccuWeather for virtually all its weather-related functions. Your weather videos will never outperform AccuWeather. Similarly, your definition videos will never outperform Wikipedia and Oxford. But you can outperform these giants when it comes to local content.
Hyperlocalizing your videos is crucial because the second-highest search category for voice is "near me". While the highest percentage of voice search users ask their devices about the weather, the second largest chunk uses voice search to learn about places to visit, dine, and shop at.
From the context, it seems like this phenomenon comes from users' hands being occupied by driving. By thinking of voice search as a driver's assistant, you can chisel and polish your content so it is exactly what voice search users want.
Think In Questions
A very useful way of approaching your content is to position it as an answer to pre-existing questions. When you start thinking in questions, your videos start solving problems. And the more problems you solve, the more credibility you build.
But you can't solve random problems. You have to pick a niche and think about the questions people might have in regard to that. After you have done that, you can ask yourself which of those questions might be asked by users of voice search. And there lies the secret to voice search optimization.
Voice optimization comes at the ideation stage of your videos. Do not make it an afterthought in your process. By using a smart speaker yourself, you can get into the mindset of a voice search user. And by planning voice-compatibility in advance, you can open up a new avenue for traffic for your content.
Offer Unique Value
In most niches, there is plenty of competition. So, you can’t just offer a snippet answer that satisfies the voice query. You must offer an answer that outperforms the current snippets. This brings us to the subject of unique value.
For the longest time, ranking was a matter of offering value to the user. The most valuable snippet often won the spot for the highest visibility. But then something changed. All bloggers started answering the same questions within each niche.
In the case of content creation blogs, questions like "How to edit a video" and "How to choose a thumbnail" were among the most targeted ones. There are literally thousands of articles for both these queries. And because they use information for each other, pretty much all of them are equally valuable.
The same thing has happened in the video content format. Hundreds of thousands of creators post iPhone reviews, and thousands review specific movies. We are in the era of unique value. You must not only offer value to the user, but make it so that value is unique to you.
In the case of our blog, we go the extra mile to turn our posts into complete resources on specific subjects. We often include our experience as well as specific tools that are unique to us and valuable to you. That's what you need to do with your videos as well.
Build Credibility With Your Website
What is the difference between a harsh movie critic and a troll? The former has a website. In the age of the internet, websites build credibility, and credibility builds an audience. If your YouTube channel points towards your website, then search engines are likely to view it favorably.
Of course, your website needs to look professional and must host resources and links back to your videos. It's extra effort, which is good because extra effort is exactly what most video creators fail to put in. By going the additional mile, you can leave behind 99.99% of the competition.
Plus, when it is time to monetize your following, you will have something to offer them. As passionate as we are about helping content creators, we would not have been able to help the thousands of creators without offering our content-multiplying software, ContentFries. And to offer it, we had to have a website.
You can make a difference with a good product or service. And to offer it, you must have a website. So, in addition to helping your videos rank better, having a website can also help you sell products more easily.
Create Engaging Videos
There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. Especially in search optimization, creators can often lose themselves in tweaking and tinkering content for algorithms to the point of losing sight of human appeal.
Your videos should never sound like they were made to appeal to robots. Remember, this blog post is optimized for search discoverability, but it is written with you in mind first. You come first for us, the authors. And your audience should come first for you, the video content creator.
"Engagement fixes all" is the motto for this decade of the internet. Even the most egregious errors are overlooked if a creator makes engaging content. All platforms want to keep their respective audiences engaged. And if your videos help fulfill that goal, they will prefer them over boring videos that are over-tweaked with keywords.
Give An Answer That Ends The Search Journey
Engagement is different in different contexts. For instance, a podcast listener doesn't need to look at the visuals to be engaged, while a reader doesn't need to hear audio to be engaged. So, making a podcast studio look good is an additional (not primary) effort. And writing a book that sounds good to listen to is an additional effort as well.
When you make a video that’s supposed to rank high in the voice search algorithm, it should give the complete answer to the user’s query in the shortest duration possible. It should give the answer that ends the user’s search journey.
There’s a little bit of contradiction here. Because generally, algorithms prefer videos that keep people engaged and active on the platform. But because people who make voice queries are driving or cooking and are too busy to engage more directly, the relevant algorithms prefer precise answers that ensure that the user will use voice search again.
So you have to either make super short videos that give precise answers. Or you have to give precise answers within longer, more engaging videos. There is no perfect choice here, which is why you should experiment with both types of content to see what ranks.
Don’t Be Too Google-Minded
We often make the mistake of assuming that Google represents 100% of the search audience. In many ways, it does. But being too Google-minded is like missing out on a guaranteed Stanford Scholarship in the hopes of getting accepted at Harvard.
This is true for written content but more so for video content. Google is used for over 92% of all search queries, so it makes sense why blog owners pay so much attention to its algorithm. But when it comes to voice search, Amazon has 70% of the smart speaker market share.
So, it is worth optimizing your videos to be discovered by Alexa's search algorithm instead of Google alone. Since there are three mainstream voice search assistants, it is highly advisable to use them all at least once so you know the user experience you're hoping to optimize your videos for.
Look At Content Gaps
There are plenty of research tools that can help you spot gaps in standard search content demand. But how do you figure out the same for voice search? A gap refers to the lack of appropriate or high-quality content for a search query with sufficient demand.
AI-powered keyword research tools and even Google's own keyword planner can help you identify content gaps by juxtaposing search volume over the available content. We have figured out a way to use these content gap-finding tools for blogs and apply them for voice-search-optimized videos.
Simply filter the content gaps by hyperlocalized places or recipes. Most voice search queries are for cooking instructions and for driver search assistance. So, if you find content gaps for specific niche recipes or for places in a neighborhood, you can make a video on the topic and expect it to rank.
Produce A Higher Volume Of Relevant Videos
Expectations can lead to disappointments. So do not expect too much from a single video. Make your videos as high-quality as possible, and once they've been published, get back to making the next one. By producing a large volume of relevant videos, you increase the odds of at least one of them ranking.
But producing quantity doesn’t give you a license to downgrade quality. In the hypercompetitive content landscape of today, it is crucial to have both quantity and quality. And above everything, you need to have consistency.
Get Hyper-Specific With Your Niche
Your content gap research might show you that there is demand for "best restaurants in Tulum" as well as for "best auto repair workshops in Salem." If you apply the quantity+quality dictum blindly, you will go for both, which can be disastrous for your search categorization.
You cannot build credibility across multiple niches. At least not initially. So, you have to pick one niche. You can make videos about the best restaurants in different places. Or the best restaurants, shopping outlets, and even auto repair workshops in one place.
It helps to go hyper-local with your channel as there's less competition. There are hundreds of blogs that cover restaurants in all neighborhoods of New York. But there are less than a dozen blogs that cover all kinds of places within one borough in New York.
Target Foreign Languages As Well
While New York, California, and other populous states have high content demand because of the number of people searching for places, they also have very high competition. Interestingly, foreign language queries within the same states are met with very poor results. What’s that? Content Demand!
By simply adding foreign language transcripts, you can cater your content to those who do not speak English but are in these states. Over 21% of the people in the US speak a language other than English at home. So it makes sense that they would speak with their smart speaker in their native language as well.
Spanish, Hindi, and Chinese are languages worth targeting with your transcript translation. ContentFries allows you to translate your content subtitles. This feature is powered by Google Translate along with DeepL integration and can even contextualize phrases in the video.
Pen A Decent Video Description
No video upload is complete without a high-quality video description. Descriptions bearing answers that are given in the video can trigger the search algorithm.
As search engine crawlers can't actually watch your video, they rely on text, including the video description and the transcript. That's why you should never overlook or rush the video description.
Be Mindful Of The Video Title
Generally, the closer your video title is to the actual search query, the more likely it is to be noticed by the voice search algorithm. Of course, the algorithm noticing your video is no guarantee of it presenting said video to the users. But without the right title, your video can be missed by the algorithm, no matter how high-quality it is.
Make Good Videos
Finally, you need to improve the overall quality of your videos, even in ways that are completely irrelevant to voice search. For instance, you must have good thumbnails and should skip long intros. You should also film in the best quality possible. Doing this ensures that even if your content doesn't get picked up by the voice search algorithm, it has other ranking opportunities.
Optimizing your video content for voice search is the right move if you want to reach tech-savvy users. To maximize the odds of your content being recommended by Alexa, Google Voice, or Siri, you must use these apps and see the kind of results they fetch. After that, you can tailor your content to offer similar snippets. To fast-track this process, follow the top three tips covered in this article.