Last week we were lucky enough to be joined by Silvia Sanna and Georgie Kemp on Tea Time SEO to share their views on Is Voice Here to Stay? It’s now 2020. Georgie further elaborated on her talk about how to optimise a site for voice search and Silvia expands on her tips in the blog post below:
The Role of Content Structuring in Voice Search and Beyond
In 1996 Bill Gates wrote “Content is King”, predicting a world where content would have been the main wealth on the Internet. Although this prediction has been a catchphrase in the contest of digital marketing in the 2000s, nowadays it could sound a little naive. It isn’t, if you rethink content separating it from its containers and try to understand and follow its law.
1. Don’t think in terms of pages, think in terms of entities
Pages are just one of a thousand ways in which content can be rendered and displayed to your users. An entity is the real single brick of your content strategy. It can be displayed through a page, but it’s something more. It is a thing (or a person, a place, an event, etc.) that has its own properties and relationships with other things. Adding schema.org markup to your content you can define and describe your entities and help search engines better understand your content. Let’s say for example you have a recipe: as an entity, this recipe will have many properties such as recipeCuisine, recipeIngredient, recipeInstructions, recipeYield… and a lot more. All these properties can connect the entity to other entities or just exist as single data points. Let’s say I’m looking for an apple pie with one single egg — because I have just one in the fridge, semantic search engines could give me the right recipe thanks to the additional information related to the entity. So, in the end, entities allow you to give a better answer to your potential readers who are searching on the web and also via voice seach
Why are entities relevant in this context?
Structured content can help you optimise your site for voice search as it helps build Actions for the Google Assistant upon some entity types such as recipes, how-tos, news articles and podcasts. This is how schema.org markup comes handy for voice search. Moving from building pages to creating structured data helps us create relationships between entities that matter. Entities are not isolated items, they are all connected into a cluster which is semantically meaningful. This means that through entities you can feature different angles of a complex thing. For example connecting all information related to a course or a webinar across multiple pages can be strategic to stand out on Google search and is the best way to answer to different user intents.
2. Structure your content building your own content model — and stick with that
As I said before, entities are just the first brick of your content strategy. Content modelling is the law that underlies your content. Structuring the content of your website allows you to reuse it in different formats and match different search intents including for voice search.
For example, the content model of the WordLift Academy allows us to repurpose our content in different formats. Each main content is a webinar which is connected to different data points such as creation date and duration, other entities such as the topics covered during the webinar and the main speaker, and media such as the cover image, the profile picture of the speaker, and the video recording. All this information can answer to different search intents and function as different entry points to the main content.
3. Experiment new formats starting from your content wealth
Now, let me tell you a story. Recently, we’ve joined Google’s Mini Apps Early Access Pilot. The idea was to offer to the user an app experience built into the SERPs to navigate into the Academy content. I won’t enter into the details of the technological stack used to create this mini app prototype through Google’s console. What matters here is that, having a structured content we have refined the search for WordLift courses allowing the users to navigate through them by selecting one or more topics of interest and/or a speaker. As the pilot has been shut down due to COVID-19, you won’t see it on the SERP anytime soon. But… we are planning the same structure — well, with a few changes in terms of technology – to build an Assistant App for Google. So users will be able, for example, to look for all the webinars about SEO by Jason Barnard on our Academy just invoking the App. What’s the take-away of this story?
Formats may change and evolve, experiments come and go… but a strong content model allows you to reuse your content in different environments.
Hungry for more interesting SEO tips? Check out Steph Whatley’s recap on Creating Meaningful SEO Dashboards for the Whole Company or Enrico Chiodino’s opinion on Backlink profile: what does ‘natural’ even mean?
Image credit: Charisse Kenion on Unsplash