Voice Search, SEO and the AI Revolution

As RPR founder Emily Reynolds Bergh explains, "optimizing content for voice-enabled search is not clear-cut." Below, she shares several strategies for using AI to better optimize your content for this growing sector.

Photo Credit: ​​Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels

While unique content is still king, PR professionals are spending more and more time optimizing their content to rank higher in searches. Video platforms like YouTube and TikTok require different optimization strategies than traditional search engines like Yahoo and Google. Furthermore, voice search, an increasingly popular form of seeking information, has its own unique optimization protocols.

Voice search is rising in conjunction with AI, which has and will continue to alter the landscape of PR and content marketing forever. Here’s how to use AI for voice search optimizations without sacrificing the quality of your content.

What is SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, refers to the practice of creating content that meets search engine requirements to rank high when relevant queries are input. The goal is to create content that answers user questions quickly and succinctly—and it’s a race to the top.

According to MailChimp, SEO best practices “[include] the use of relevant keywords in titles, meta descriptions, and headlines (H1), featuring descriptive URLs with keywords rather than strings of numbers, and schema markup to specify the page's content meaning, among other SEO best practices.”

There are dozens of strategies for optimizing content for search engines, but it’s worth noting that different types of engines—from video platforms to social media channels and traditional engines to voice search—have different requirements for ranking toward the top. You can try to optimize for one or all; the choice is yours.

What is Voice Search

Thanks to increasingly smarter devices, voice search is on the rise. According to Google, “20% of searches in the Google App are now done by voice.”

Voice search, otherwise known as voice-enabled search, is when users use vocal commands to search the internet or other applications for relevant information (as opposed to typing words or phrases into a search bar). Voice searches tend to be longer and more conversational in tone, so optimizing for them differs from optimizing for short, to-the-point typed commands.

One of the best ways to optimize for voice-enabled search is to tailor content to the type of tone and sentence structure most people use in voice searches. Think critically about how your audience might search for your products and services and the questions they’ll ask. Group studies and market research are important to capitalize on the growing demand for voice search-optimized content.

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AI in Content Marketing

AI is here to stay; there’s no question about it. However, the extent to which you use AI in your content development is up to you. 

Emily Reynolds Bergh, founder of R Public Relations, doesn’t feel worried that AI will take her job. Rather, she sees it as a valuable tool that can help improve the work she does for her clients—without actually doing the work for her. “I’ve never asked AI to complete an assignment for me from start to finish, and I never intend to,” said Reynolds Bergh. “But I do think there are a few ways AI can be used to streamline processes, improve deliverables, and bring more value to my clients.”

Tips For Using AI to Improve Voice Search Rankings

Reynolds Bergh strongly recommends using AI as a starting point for your work, not as an unpaid writer. “If you’re using AI-generated content,” she said, “make sure a skilled editor or brand manager on your team reviews and updates the copy to fit the desired tone and addresses the query at hand.” This also helps avoid plagiarism issues, as users can’t always pinpoint where AI’s information is being drawn from.

The best way to use AI for voice-enabled SEO is to use it in the beginning stages of your research. Work with AI to brainstorm ideas, outline content topics, and develop a process. Then, shift to working with an expert to build out engaging, compelling content that meets voice-search SEO requirements (read: long-tail keywords and a conversational tone).

Another method for using AI to improve voice-enabled search rank is to develop a keyword strategy with AI insights. It’s not always easy to determine which keywords your potential customers are searching, especially as it’s related to voice search. Craft highly specific, detailed requests for your AI tool of choice to help define a list of keywords you should target in your content. Alternatively, you can ask AI to take your list of short-tail keywords and rework them to become long-tail keywords, as these will be a better match for voice search optimization. Long-tail keywords contain at least three individual words; because of this, they typically have lower competition and search volume, meaning there’s lots of opportunity to capitalize on these terms.

Finally, consider using AI to refine your original content and audit for voice search SEO optimization success. Human editors are still incredibly valuable, especially in auditing tone and sentiment. But if you’re in a pinch, AI might be able to take a first pass at your content from a voice search optimization perspective.

At the end of the day, AI content can still feel disjointed and automatic. Adept readers can tell the difference between curated content designed to address their queries and stilted, AI-produced content designed to get clicks and conversions. Instead, work with your favorite AI tool to invest time in SEO for voice search while the segment is on the rise, and you’ll reap the benefits of your hard work for years to come.

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