It would have meant nothing to me if I had heard the term "conversational search" just 10 years ago. However, today, that has changed-- significantly. These days, "conversational search" refers to a fundamental targeting strategy used by all sizes of companies to help increase traffic and engagement.
I learned the hard way about conversational search, using it, and why it is vital to any good content marketing strategy. I have taken my knowledge and condensed it here to help you do the same.
Conversational Search Defined
The term means using complete sentences and natural-sounding verbal units and phrases in content to match modern search queries.
In the past, most searches were done using keyword phrases, such as "Mexican food" or "short-haired cat breeds." With conversational searches, syntactical and grammatical patterns are used to resemble the way people speak. This requires a more appealing and organic search experience for users. Further, I've found that searchers are more likely to engage with conversational content.
Anticipate the Most Likely Queries
Your goal should be to tailor your content to the biggest possible range of consumers. To do this, you have to predict the types of questions people may ask you. Before creating content or even an outline, consider the following:
- What will the average reader know about the subject?
- How will the subject impact someone's day-to-day life?
- Where and when are people searching for this information?
- How will someone act with the information you present?
- Will the pieces' structure give them all the information they need?
Thinking about these questions can help you get in the right head space to empathize with your potential reader and build the foundation for your content.
Prioritize the Use of Natural Language
Another element of anticipating questions from users is to emphasize the use of natural language. You should use the same type of phrasing when you structure your content that an average person uses.
For example, most people will ask, "How do you fix a broken Wi-Fi connection?" instead of, "What is the right way to troubleshoot a wireless connection that won't connect?"
Be sure the content you create offers similar language. This would require you to restate the question in your answer. For example, "to fix a broken Wi-Fi connection," and then add your custom content. It's a good idea to include several different forms of this query to cover how something may be asked.
While conversational search isn't new, it is growing in use, and people (and search engines) now expect you to anticipate and plan for this in the content you publish. Use the tips above to help you get started with this content marketing effort.