Ten years ago you wouldn’t have imagined that people could access the internet by talking into their phone or speaker. However, the number of people using voice search is growing all the time.
According to Statista, 35 million Google Home devices were shipped worldwide last year, and this number is set to increase by a staggering 300% by 2025!
What does this mean? It means that if you have not optimised your business’s website for voice search, now is a great time to do it.
The good thing is that optimising your SEO for voice search is a lot easier than you may think.
Whether for Google Home, Alexa or Amazon Echo, here are our top five tips for increasing the odds of your website being found using voice search.
Use conversational keywords
When you make a search engine enquiry, you generally use short-tail keywords. For example. “Pizza restaurant near me”, “women’s shoe sale”, or “second-hand cars cheap”. This is because it is much easier to type short phrases than long ones, especially on your smartphone.
However, when you make an enquiry using voice search, you tend to ask complete questions such as “Which is the best pizza place near me that delivers?”. This means that you need to start factoring more long-tail keywords into your SEO strategy.
The benefit of long-tail keywords are that they sound more natural than short-tail keywords and are easier to work into engaging online content. Research the keywords that your customers are using and weave them into product descriptions, blog articles and FAQs (more on that later).
Start using schema (structured data)
Schema markup is a great way to provide additional context to your website and help search engines understand your content better. This can help you rank for featured snippets or for Google Knowledge Graph.
Implementing structured data can also help with voice searches too. SEMrush carried out a study that found 60% of all voice searches were for a featured snippet.
If you already use schema on your website, you are well on the way towards optimising for voice search. If not, look at implementing the code on some of your most popular pages.
Although standard schema markup will help give your content a boost, there is also a ‘speakable schema’ markup that is currently in beta in the US. This markup has been specifically created to work with Google Assistant and provide quick answers to spoken queries.
Build FAQ pages
A great quick win when it comes to voice search is to create FAQ pages on your website.
People are more likely to ask questions (who, what, why, where, when, how) using voice search. This means providing an answer to these questions increases the odds of your content being picked up.
Research the questions that your customers are most likely to ask about your product or service, and then set up a page answering these questions, using friendly and conversational language.
Keep your answers as short and snappy as possible. Backlinko carried out a study and found that the average voice search result is only 29 words long. After all, people don’t want long, drawn-out answers to their questions!
Check your page loading time
We all know the dangers of slow-loading web pages. According to Pingdom, pages with a five-second load time have a 322% higher bounce rate than those that load up in two-seconds.
A slow web page also means that your website is less likely to be chosen as a candidate for voice search results. Reducing the number of redirects, optimising file and image sizes and removing WordPress extensions that you don’t use will help speed things up.
Google Page Speed Insights will show how your site performs on desktop and mobile, and the steps you can take to improve.
Prioritise local search
When carrying out voice searches, a lot of searches are for “x near me”, “find y”, or “local z”. This makes it essential to let the search engines know that you operate in the local town or city. In fact, 1 in 4 voice searches are used for finding local information.
A quick way to do this is to register on Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. Both of these are free to do, and let the search engines know where your business is based.
Many people use voice search to find out store addresses, opening times and phone numbers, so be sure to include this information, and update it if it changes.
You can also target local keywords and use these in your website content. Use your onsite analytics (e.g. Google Analytics, Google Ads and social media analytics) to find out where your customers are based, and factor these terms into your SEO strategy.
How will you incorporate voice search into your website?
The use of voice search is set to grow even more in the future, so be sure to make changes to your website and reap the benefits!
- Introduce conversational, long-tail keywords into your SEO strategy
- Implement schema markup on relevant pages
- Create FAQ pages to boost the odds of answering customer questions
- Take steps to improve your website’s loading time
- Focus on prioritising local search results
We hope that these five tips will help inspire you to optimise your website for voice search.
The additional bonus is that you’ll not only increase the odds of appearing in voice search, but in the search engine result pages too!