Originally launched by Google in 2011, voice search was more of a novelty than a feature that users relied on. However, improvements in speech recognition technology have placed voice search on top of digital marketing trends. Recent statistics show that at least 41 percent of adults use voice search at least once a day. It can be a smartphone or any other device that uses voice.
Voice search is extending outside smartphones. It doesn’t stop there since smart speakers are just a part of the Internet of Things that is integrated into many objects like cars and smart home systems.
With voice search you can:
- search on the internet;
- get directions;
- set alarms/ schedule reminders;
- check email;
- call or text someone;
- and much more.
Innovations in the digital world seem to change how we use the internet. While the voice search technology is advancing, the way we search online is changing. To leverage its dramatic rise in popularity you need to identify how to optimize your website for voice search in 2020.
10 Ways You Can Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
Ensure Your Marketing Strategy Entails Voice Search
Searching with voice is different from typing a query. Voice search has dramatically changed the way people search and how they do it. It is expected that voice searches will become longer and more conversational which means that people will likely use longer phrases. This will have a considerable impact on how webmasters do keyword research and on-page search engine optimization.
What is more, Google is changing its search engine to answer questions because users don’t have to visit a website to get the answer anymore. This means that if you want your website to stay relevant you need to make sure that the content you provide gives direct answers to the queries.
Optimize Your Website For Mobile
Most of the voice searches are made on mobile devices so optimizing your website for mobile is more important than ever. There are a few things that you can do to optimize your website for mobile:
- Keep your website content relevant, clear, and concise.
- Add a search bar for easy navigation.
- Keep the font size readable.
- Keep important features consistent across the site (menu options, search bar, etc.)
Make sure that your website loads quickly on mobile devices. You can test your website on PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to learn its load speed. These platforms will also suggest a few ways to enhance your website’s performance on mobile devices.
Think of User Intent
It’s crucial that you bear user intent in mind when structuring your website content. Make sure that important information about your company is available on your website. Google is undoubtedly an advanced search engine, but the easier you make it for Google’s crawlers to parse your website content, the more likely you are to get to the top in search results.
Think about the products or services you offer. Even though you may know your business inside and out, that doesn’t mean your customers do. In fact, they may not even realize they need your services. Think of the questions your prospective customers may have about your company and provide answers to them.
Include Natural Language Keywords
Voice search queries tend to prefer natural phrases and long-tail search language over short-tail search keywords. For example, when searching for a web development company you may type in a short phrase like “California best web development company” but if you are using a voice search you are far more likely to use natural language such as “what is the best web development company in California”. What is more, you can keep asking questions without specifying details because the voice search algorithm knows what you’re talking about based on your last question.
Create Question-Based FAQ Pages
According to Backlinko, an average voice search answer is around 29 words long. This is why creating FAQ pages that answers as many questions as possible is important. Since writing a 30-word blog post doesn’t make any sense, the best thing to do is to create a FAQ page. Additionally, you can insert high-volume keywords into answers on your FAQ page to further increase the chances of getting on top of search results.
In addition to standalone FAQ pages, you can FAQ sections to each product page on your website. These sections should be tailored to the content on the page and feature long-tail keywords.
Optimize for Question-Based Keywords
Most voice searches start with question phrases like “who”, “how”, “why”, etc. That is why it is important to find out the way your audience phrases questions. Moreover, to rank on the top of search results, you need to use more long-tail keywords because voice searches are more conversational and are longer than text-based searches.
Plan Local Search Strategy
Currently, voice search affects mostly local businesses. To stay on top of search results, you need to keep your local business listings updated and active.
When you’re setting up accounts on local business directories, be as specific as you can – that can increase the chances of showing up on voice searches in your local niche. If all your accounts provide different information about your company, the search engines won’t know which information is correct and will be less likely to pull your company up in voice search results.
Optimize for Specific Search Engines
There are other search engines than Google. For example, Apple’s Siri uses Bing as its primary search engine, so if you target Apple users you might need to consider optimizing for Bing. However, you should keep in mind that sales of mobile devices of different brands fluctuate widely, so optimizing only for specific search engines can do more harm than good. The best solution is to optimize for Google but keep in mind the nuances of how Google, Bing, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines work.
Use Schema Metadata
Structured markup can help you rank higher for queries, especially when your content is highly relevant. Structured data markup is a technical way to format and code your content so that you tell Google crawlers exactly what is on the page. In other words, it allows you to “describe” more comprehensively what the data on your website means. It’s also one of the most powerful SEO practices, so by simply implementing it on your website, you can yourself way ahead of the curve.
Create Video Tutorials
If you use tools like SEMRush or AnswerThePublic to find out what people are looking for, you may want to create video tutorials to answer popular questions. Video content is gaining popularity as many users prefer quick how-to videos over reading long-form content.
Prepare for the Future of Voice Search
It is expected that voice search will only increase in popularity over time. As artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms become more accurate and advanced, the impact of voice search on digital marketing will continue to increase. The responses users get will become more contextual and provide deeper reasoning. It will change the voice search landscape as Google will respond by changing its algorithms and SEO strategies, such as targeted keywords and on-page optimization.