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Actionable Voice Search SEO Recommendations to Optimize for Position V


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In this presentation you'll learn:
• Actionable insights for how to rank in “Position V” (voice search)
• How Google indexes/ranks app content for voice assistants, and how to leverage it for brands
• How the landscape on mobile and with home assistants is evolving
• Why doing local listing management is key for brick and mortar voice search success
• How brands can create an effective and affordable voice presence for their customers

Published in: Marketing
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Actionable Voice Search SEO Recommendations to Optimize for Position V

  1. 1. 1 Actionable Voice Search SEO Recommendations to Optimize for Position V with John Morabito
  2. 2. 2@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • 8+ Years in SEO and Digital Marketing, driving success for clients including Everlane, Hain-Celestial, and Drybar. • Nominated for Best SEO Team 2017 by The Drum Search Awards • Women’s Marketing/Flying Point Digital is the leading marketing and media services agency for high-growth businesses. We’ve sparked growth for hundreds of ambitious, independent brands in retail, beauty, health, CPG, and food. John Morabito is the SEO Director at Women’s Marketing/Flying Point Digital. John is a skilled and multifaceted marketer, speaker, and writer with over 8 years of experience in SEO, PPC, and performance marketing. He specializes in technical and off-site SEO, within the e-commerce vertical. @JohnMorabitoSEO Background
  3. 3. 3@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Google has announced that 20% of mobile Google searches are made using voice search • Of all Voice Searches: – 22% are looking for local brick & mortar businesses – 21% are looking for fun & entertainment • 60.5 million people use voice search • Alpine.AI estimates over 1 billion voice searches occur per month Why Marketers Should Care about Voice Search
  4. 4. 4@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • For those who say that the numbers for Voice Search are too small, think about how quick the rise of mobile search was! • In 2009, mobile search made up 0.7% of total web traffic. In only 9 years, this number increased to 52.2%! Mobile local search volume surpassed desktop local search in 2015 and continues to increase every year! Percentage of all global web pages served to mobile phones from 2009-2018 Via Statista Via Smart Insights The Rise of Voice Search
  5. 5. 5@JohnMorabitoSEO | | Macro Trend: devices featuring voice assistants increased from 2M to 450M in 2 years, and growing rapidly From Alpine AI “Consumers are going beyond asking for Spotify and timers, and starting to ask ‘What is the best watch for scuba diving?’ and “Where can I buy Estée Lauder foundation?” – Adam Marchick, Alpine.AI
  6. 6. 6@JohnMorabitoSEO | | “Position V is the featured voice search result read aloud by either Alexa, Google or any other voice search assistant.” – John Morabito What is “Position V”?
  7. 7. 7@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Optimizing for voice search is a lot like this poorly drawn ancient Greek temple. • At the foundation, you have traditional SERP rankings, which will be what Google will present in voice search queries when they have no “better” result to serve. • Featured snippets get read aloud in voice search devices, so optimizing for this type of result can be hugely impactful to your voice search presence. • Local 3-packs fuel all local-focused searches. • Structured data, like “recipe,” provides rich results in voice search as well as through the assistant app. • Creating a voice search app, skill or action can help discoverability though “implicit invocations” Traditional SERP Rankings Create a Voice Search Action / Skill Featured Snippets Local 3-Pack Rankings Structured Data SERP Features Position V Rankings How to Optimize for Position V
  8. 8. 8 Local Search
  9. 9. 9@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Local listing optimization is critical to voice search success for local brick and mortar businesses. Easy Wins: • Utilize Yext or Moz Local to actively manage your local listing presence • Actively seek reviews from your happy customers • Build location pages for all of your locations and link them to your Google My Business Profile • Take advantage of new features (posts, questions and answers, etc.) Optimize Local Listings
  10. 10. 10@JohnMorabitoSEO | | Local 3 Pack Optimization Tips: • Ensure accuracy and consistency of data everywhere your business NAPW is listed. • Select appropriate categories for your business. – Pro Tip: Categories evolve, so be sure to check back frequently if you do not find a category that you feel succinctly represents your business offering! • Build local focused links. For example, your local chamber of commerce, or local charities. • Fill out every aspect of your profile on Google My Business, and make sure to fill out all the fields and sections on local listing sites you publish your listing to. Optimize Local Listings
  11. 11. 11 Featured Snippets
  12. 12. 12@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Featured snippets are a relatively new type of search result, where Google displays an answer to the user’s query as the most prominent search result. • While Quick Answers are not technically Knowledge Graph results, they are part of the larger trend on Google SERPs: additional information ranging from stock quotes, to weather forecasts, to box scores, to recipes, and more. • Quick Answers can be seen as either a blessing or a curse to sites trying to rank higher in organic search – it all depends on how you choose to approach them! • Knowing how to influence these results is crucial to success in today’s organic search landscape. What Are Google Featured Snippets?
  13. 13. 13@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Over the last 3 years featured snippets have seen an approximately 60% increase • Results with a rich answer of any kind, including sidebars, have also risen about 60% • This rise in direct answers strongly correlates to increases in usage of voice and conversational search. Source: All results shown are based on 1.4M queries. The Rise of Featured Snippets
  14. 14. 14@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Step 1: Generate a list of 1000 or more industry related questions. Use tools like or other Google suggest API tools. • Step 2: Head to Ahrefs or Moz keyword explorer tool and import your list of questions, comparisons and prepositions. The overview will tell you how many featured snippet keywords you have in your list. • Step 3: Download your keyword list. Set up filters and then sort by “Featured Snippet” • Step 4: Select the most relevant topics that have multiple variants, decent volume and low enough competition. • Step 5: Develop a content strategy on a topic-by- topic basis. You do NOT need a page for every question. Think about building topic hubs. How to Find Featured Snippet Opportunities
  15. 15. 15@JohnMorabitoSEO | | ● Take a look at the result to the right and ask…does this answer the query as best as it can possibly be answered? ● If the answer is “no,” then that should be an easy win! ● It is often not complicated to go after a quick answer, our page just needs to have the most clear and helpful answer to the query “I know what you meant…or did I?” - Google How To Spot An Easy Win
  16. 16. 16@JohnMorabitoSEO | | ● Content for featured snippets doesn't need to be long. Be concise and to the point in answering the intent of the query. ● Use bullet lists, numbered lists, and tables. ● Use headings that feature the question in a H1 or H2 tag. ● Using the example framework to the right is a proven method of getting featured snippets. Writing For Featured Snippets
  17. 17. 17 Using Structured Data to Get Enhanced SERPs
  18. 18. 18@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Structured data feeds many of the rich results Google provides in traditional natural SERPs. • This same structured data is what influences content that ranks the one answer, or is provided in carousel format by voice assistants Optimize for Structured Data
  19. 19. 19@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Google lists 6 different enhanced SERP features including search box, bread crumbs and carousels. • Google also lists 17 content types that can be marked up to be displayed with SERP enhancements. • Start by reading each guide and looking at competitor sites for markup. • Is there a type of markup that has an enhancement that you are not using? Structured Data Types
  20. 20. 20@JohnMorabitoSEO | | THEY TOOK OUR RANKINGS! • While SERP enhancements can be your friend, at times they can be indicative of an alarming trend. The question is: do you evolve to meet the landscape, or whine about it like this guy… Just Look at What Happened to Jobs
  21. 21. 21@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Google’s Gary Illyes stated this year that Google shifted to showing jobs results directly in search because they had enough widespread usage of job listing structured data to pull it off. • He encouraged marketers to look at, and not just focus on what has SERP enhancements today, but what might have enhancements tomorrow. But They Asked For It
  22. 22. 22@JohnMorabitoSEO | | Markup Tips: • Stay up on the latest releases. Anyone with a tourist attraction just got some homework as of 8/14. • Check out to see the full list of available structured data types. • Dream Big and implement anything that you feel might help Google better understand your content.
  23. 23. 23@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Structured Data Markup Helper from Google is a free tool that helps you to build structured data based on simply highlighting content on your page. • also offers a similar tool to help create structured data. • Structured Data testing tool helps you to verify your structured data, or do competitive analysis. • -helper/ • markup-generator/ • data/testing-tool/ Other Structured Data Resources
  24. 24. 24 Voice
  25. 25. 25@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Actions and Skills are basically apps designed specifically with voice search assistants in mind. • They enable these assistants to do and know things they ordinarily would not; similarly, Google doesn’t “know” much without websites. • These actions or skills result in a more conversational experience for users and can even be designed to help people complete transactions through. What Are Actions and Skills
  26. 26. 26@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Google, Amazon and Bing want you to create Skills and Actions for their assistants. • The payoff for helping them develop the space is an early mover advantage in the landscape. • All 3 companies offer extensive documentation, tools and free offerings to help developers and even non-developers get started. Creating Actions and Skills
  27. 27. 27@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Some apps miss the mark; others leave entire prevalent keyword queries unanswered, creating gaping holes in the market. • For example, if you search “Makeup” in the Explore function of Google’s mobile application, there are no skills/apps that cater to queries about Makeup. • For content creators and brands, NOW is the time to start thinking about entering into creating your own skills and apps for voice. Search within Google Assistant App under “Explore” The Incredibly lame “what's new on Netflix” action Opportunity in The Landscape
  28. 28. 28@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Publishers of news, recipes, and podcasts have a unique opportunity to have Google do the work of creating an action for their content. • All you need to do is be using the right type of markup, have AMP, and verify your site through the Actions console. • Google may even create these actions without you submitting your site, in which case you can claim the action. Get Started Now With Auto-Generate Actions
  29. 29. 29@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Explicit Invocation: People asking for your action/skill by name. • Implicit Invocation: Why marketers should care. This is when someone asks for something they want to learn about or do, and the assistant provides a BRAND’S skill or action as the “answer.” • These implicit invocations can be controlled by stating action invocation phrases. Discoverability
  30. 30. 30@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • If you’re not excited by voice search and home assistants yet, consider this… Non-brand queries can lead to brand conversations. Wouldn’t you rather talk with your audience than at it? Discoverability Simplified
  31. 31. 31@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Create your own voice action, skill, or app for free through • Basic FAQ, Quiz and other simple actions can be build, tested and submitted to Google and other assistants within a day. Make Your Own Chatbot / Voice Action
  32. 32. 32@JohnMorabitoSEO | | • Each “intent” contains training phrases. These training phrases trigger pre-programed responses, which can either be singular or multiple. Each answer can be pulled up based on the phrasing of the training phrase. Make Your Own Chatbot / Voice Action
  33. 33. 33@JohnMorabitoSEO | | Google, Amazon & Bing offer great tools to help non-developers create Actions and Skills but if you don’t want to build them in-house, you have other options! Don’t Want to Build an Action or Skill Yourself?
  34. 34. 34 Get in Touch
  35. 35. 35@JohnMorabitoSEO | | Want to Partner With Us On Your Voice Search Optimization? Email: Special Thanks: Bonus: Email me and I’ll send you our voice search audit checklist!