Voice Search SEO: Tips to Optimize Your Website

We are living in a world where we are surrounded by devices that support voice assistants and microphones that are just waiting for their trigger word to answer our most burning questions. The adoption rate with Siri, Alexa, and Google Home is rising fast; and by 2020, 50% of all searches will be carried out via voice.[1] This means it is vital we understand all the excitement around these devices, and how we can start optimizing our content so it is being “heard” when people are searching using their voice.

Voice Search Evolution

By next year, half of your potential customers will not see your website even if you are fourth in the SERP. Ranking number one is the goal for many business owners. Voice search optimization entails optimizing your content, location, and brand information to increase your likelihood of appearing in voice search results. Search Engine Watch has six essential factors for you to consider in voice search optimization:[2]

1. Featured Snippets

Featured snippets appear at the top of the SERPs. Featured snippets matter because up to a third of search engine queries contain them. If the results of a search include a featured snippet, your voice assistant will pull its answer from there. So, if you want to rank in voice search results, you should focus on providing such information that will be displayed it in the featured snippet.

Featured Snippet

2. User Intent

User intent tells us the reason a person typed their query into a search engine in the first place, and the top use of voice queries is for personal assistance. Sometimes intent is obvious and clearly expressed in the query with words such as “buy,” “price,” “how to,” “what is,” etc.

3. Long Tail Keywords and Questions

People do not use voice search the same way they do regular search. We will ask questions and use long phrases. BUT do not equate voice search optimization to using long-tail keywords in your content. Voice search is more likely to contain question phrases. Keyword research tools generally will not find phrases that people speak while using mobile assistants. You need to think how your audience speaks about your business, products, and services. Such as: “How to improve my on-page SEO” versus “on-page SEO.” Another strategy is to add FAQs to your website as a way to answer people’s question.[3]

4. Page Speed

Page speed means the time needed for your page to load. This also influences whether your page will appear in voice search results. Picture a person using voice search — they are likely on the go and/or in a hurry. So, to reach those searchers, page speed optimization really is high priority. To test the speed of your website, you can check out Google PageSpeed Insights, which will provide you with advice on how to make your website faster.

5. Structured Data

Structured data is code added to HTML markup and used by search engines to better understand your site’s content. Using structured data, you can help search engines crawl and read your content efficiently. Having this data can also help your pages appear in featured snippets and voice search results. Specifically, you can use structured data markup to provide better information to devices about your website and its content. Also, if you haven’t done so already, create a sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console can ensure your websites are easier to crawl by search engine.

6. Local SEO

A BrightLocal report found that 58% of consumers use voice search to find local businesses.[4] People who search for “best burgers in NYC,” are looking to discover burgers near them. If you own a burger joint in New York, then, you want to include your city when optimizing keywords. This also stays true for states, neighborhoods, and even countries where your business works. Therefore, be sure to optimize your business listing and provide accurate and updated contact information.

Conclusion

Voice search is gaining considerable traction and its growth is not slowing anytime soon. This is good for marketers who understand the power of voice search and start optimizing their content for it, but bad for marketers who ignore the trend and continue creating the same old content. Website and businesses need to get back to the drawing board and modify SEO strategy to incorporate voice optimization to stay ahead of the curve. Take a step back and think about how your users interact with your brand and how voice can help improve your visibility and interaction.


[1] https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/what-does-voice-search-mean-for-your-business

[2] https://searchenginewatch.com/2019/01/11/voice-search-optimization-guide-2019/

[3] https://yoast.com/voice-search/

[4] https://www.brightlocal.com/research/voice-search-for-local-business-study/

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