Hey Siri, how do I write for conversational search?
Conversational search is a search method that allows people to ask questions in natural language. This search method is becoming more popular because people are using voice-activated assistants like Siri and Alexa more and more.
That’s why content writers need to know how to write for conversational search, as this kind of search is changing how people find information online.
When people use conversational search, they are more likely to ask questions in full sentences than to type keywords. For this reason, the content needs to provide helpful information that answers said questions specifically.
Learn more about conversational search, how it’s changing the way we use the internet, and what that means for content writers below.
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What is conversational search?
Conversational search refers to the act of searching the internet using natural language rather than keywords or specific search terms.
A keyword-based search might be something like “pizza delivery near me,” In contrast, a conversational search may sound like, “I’m looking for a pizza place that delivers.”
Conversational search requires a different approach to writing content. When someone uses keywords to search, they usually look for a specific piece of information. But when someone uses conversational search, they are more likely to look for an overall understanding of a topic and need a specific question answered.
The rise of conversational search and voice-activated assistants
The rise of conversational search can be attributed to the popularity of voice-activated assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. People are more comfortable talking to these devices as if they were humans, which reflects the way we search for information online.
Statistics show that the number of voice assistant users rose from 79.9 million in 2017 to over 135 million in 2022. These numbers suggest that people use their devices more often to make phone calls, set alarms, and search the internet.
Why is conversational search important?
Some of the most notable benefits of conversational search include:
1. Reduced search friction: When users can ask questions in natural language, they are more likely to find the information they need without feeling frustrated.
2. Increased engagement: Conversational search makes it easier for people to find the content they’re looking for, which can lead to increased engagement.
3. More personalized transactions: Customers can change their interactions with search; from transactional to personalized.
4. Better recommendations: Users will get better recommendations for what they need.
Challenges of conversational search
There’s no doubt that writing using conversational search terms can be challenging. Phrases like “where can I find pest control services near me” don’t slip into content as easily as “local pest control” does.
Some of the most notable challenges to be aware of are:
Conversation search requires a different writing style
When writing for conversational search, you need to use natural language rather than keywords. This new concept can be difficult for writers who use straightforward keywords to optimize their content.
Be aware of the user’s intent
To write compelling content for conversational search, you need to be aware of the user’s intent. What are they trying to accomplish? What do they need to know? Think about the context behind the words.
It can be difficult to rank for conversational keywords
Conversational keywords are often long-tail keywords that tend to rank low in searches. This is especially true if you’re competing against more prominent brands with more resources.
Conversational search is still evolving
The landscape of conversational search is still shifting and evolving. As more people use voice-activated assistants, the way they search will continue to change. You need to be prepared to adapt your content accordingly.
You need to write for questions
People use conversational search when they want to find answers to questions. As such, your content needs to address these types of questions directly and succinctly.
Tips on writing content for conversational search
Despite the challenges, there are a few things you can do to make sure your content is effective for conversational search. Here are a few tips.
Use long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are the bread and butter of conversational search. Use them throughout your content to ensure that you’re ranking for the right keywords.
Know your audience
As with any writing, it’s essential to know your audience. What are your readers’ concerns? Why are they looking for those specific answers, or in what context? You should understand your audience’s desires, triggers, gaps, and motivators. A writer for any strong emotional design brand should always weave these dynamic elements into the content.
Predict possible searches
When you know your audience, it’s easier to predict the sorts of searches they’ll perform. Try to anticipate their needs and questions, and craft your content accordingly. Think about the different ways a user could pose a question and incorporate these into the content. Using an AI content generator to create content might be difficult here, however, it can give you ideas for creating conversational phrases.
Use natural language
As we mentioned before, conversational search relies on natural language. Using natural language means no keyword stuffing and focusing on writing conversationally. If you wouldn’t say it out loud, don’t write it.
Use an answer-first strategy
Start with the answer to the user’s question and then provide more information. Think of it as an inverted pyramid, with the most important thing first and details that follow.
Focus on localization
There is another layer to knowing your audience when creating localized content. Localization means using the right language variation for keywords, being aware of cultural differences, and understanding the local context.
Keep it concise
People don’t want to read a wall of text when they’re searching for something. Keep your content concise and to the point, focusing on the answers that they’re after.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure your content is ready for an increase in conversational search.
Up for the challenge?
Conversational search is the newest challenge for content writers. It’s important to understand the benefits and challenges of conversational search and how to write compelling content for it. When you do, you’re ready to take on this new challenge and produce relevant and high-ranking content for your audience.
Guest author: Romy Catauta works in the marketing field and is passionate about writing on web design, business, interior design, and psychology.