How to Optimize Your Site For Voice Search

how to optimize website for voice search

Once thought of as a passing fad, voice search is now used on a daily basis. There’s no avoiding it: voice search is here to stay and your SEO strategy needs to accurately reflect this. According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, about 25% of searches on Android devices are voice queriesSo how can you harness the growing potential of voice search? By utilizing search engine optimization for voice on your site as soon as possible of course! 

Voice Is Getting Very Popular

These days consumers are buying millions of Amazon Echo, Google Home, (let's not already forget Siri and Cortana yet) and a variety of similar devices. Your website, content, and keywords need to start reflecting that. Keywords will often times be long-tail and conversational instead of a few words. Your writing should reflect how people actually speak, especially how they ask questions and expect answers. This will continue to be a growing trend as these devices become more popular and more advanced. Automobile manufacturers are now starting to include them as built-in features in new cars, so people can do voice searches while they're driving without having to (often times illegally) take out their smartphones. This becomes even more significant with increased laws banning handheld cell phones while driving which necessitates hands free voice activation and Bluetooth technology.

Here is some additional information on the newly popular voice search and how to optimize your websites accordingly. 

The Power Of Semantics 

Content is king. It has been since Bill Gates declared it so more than two decades ago. In order to optimize your content for voice search, though, you have to use the right kind of language. 

Imagine you are on your Google Home or smartphone asking Siri (or Alexa, or Cortana…) how to change a flat tire. Which one more closely resembles how you would phrase that query? 

1. “Change a flat tire instructions” 

2. “How do I change a flat tire?” 

The first one you might type into a search box on a desktop computer, but chances are the second is how you would ask your voice assistant. The query tends to be much more conversational when addressing a mobile helper. 

People tend to use voice search when they have a hyper-specific search intent. In the example above, we are looking for detailed instructions on how to change a tire. We aren’t looking for tire shops or information on car mechanics. 

As such, your content must be optimized with the goal of fulfilling these search intents quickly and efficiently. Voice search focuses more on goal-fulfillment than keyword optimization. 

Here’s how to establish the goals you are optimizing (if you aren’t sure where to start): 

• Ask your Customer Service Team! They are the ones fielding all questions about your business. If a customer has a query about your services, chances are the CS team has heard it. 

• Use your marketing personas. If you have correctly categorized your personas, you should have a good idea of what they are looking for and what challenges they might face. 

• Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) provide you with “related questions” that can help you identify how else people are seeking the information you can provide. Note - this is only useful when you phrase your query as a question. See the image below for an example: 

Now that you’ve identified the questions being asked, you need to provide some answers. This is a bit more difficult than just providing an answer. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it. 

1. Use the question in your HTML headers and page titles. 

2. Put the answer next to a question on your site. That sounds like an obvious piece of advice, but not every business owner thinks to omit the obligatory introductory paragraph in each section. 

Use Google’s Answer Box as your guide. HTML headers, page titles, and answering questions all appeal to Google for featured snippets. When answering questions, though, try to keep it below 60 words. 

What Can Semantic Markup Do For Voice Search? 

Search engines like Google have semantic capabilities that are reliant on structured data. This is done using JSON-LD to add schemas to your pages. 

Local voice searches are not to be ignored; schemas allow you to include important information about your business like opening hours, payment methods, product reviews, and more. That type of information is critical for people using voice search to find a certain business at a certain time. 

WordLift is a wonderful tool to help markup your content. It is made easier to the content creator, because WordLift provides its own AI-powered natural language processing capabilities that automatically markup your site’s content. 

Voice Search Thrives On Mobile 

Most voice searches are done on mobile. So if you are just optimizing your content to answer questions and harnessing the power of structured data, you aren’t doing enough. The fact is, voice search optimization must be mobile-friendly. 

Mobile Speed - This is the most important factor to ensuring your site is mobile-friendly. If a page doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less, 40% of mobile users will leave. Google is a tougher critic, and only considers page speed “mobile-friendly” when the above the fold content loads in one second or less. 

Mobile User Experience - This can be broken down into three distinct elements. 

1. Responsive Design - Mobile devices come in many shapes and sizes. A one-size-fits-all site will be incredibly annoying and visually unappealing for your users. Configure your pages’ viewport to make them responsive to screen size. 

2. No Flash - Most mobile browsers aren’t able to support Flash, so your pages shouldn’t use them. HTML5 is all you need if your page has varied media. 

3. Tap targets - Accidentally tapping the wrong link or button on a mobile page is one of the most frustrating experiences known to man. Spread out your links and buttons, and make sure they are big enough, so you don’t anger your users. 

Conducting a quick SEO audit is the best way to determine if your site is mobile-friendly and what steps you need to take if it isn’t. 

Secure Your Website

Websites with an SSL Certificate that are secure rank higher on all Google searches, including voice. Recently marketer and SEO expert Neil Patel did an experiment and found that 65% of voice search results were websites with an HTTPS domain. 

Embrace The Inevitability Of Voice Search 

Optimizing your site for voice search will put you ahead of the curve. Voice search isn’t going anywhere - it is becoming an essential part of web search and it’s importance will only continue to grow. Take the lead and reap the benefits.

Don’t think of voice search optimization as a burden! Take advantage of this chance to get ahead of your competition on Google before they catch on to the infinite potential of voice search.

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I hope you enjoyed this article about how to optimize your website and content for the growing popularity of voice search. 

Interested in more articles about search engine optimization?

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