You may have tried searching online at least a couple of times using voice search – either because you were also doing something else at the time, or because it was too complicated to type. A study conducted by PWC concluded that 71% of the individuals surveyed preferred voice search to actually typing out their queries.
It’s interesting to note that the results from typed and spoken queries often tend to have differences. If your website is optimized for voice search, it has a higher chance of engaging with prospects.
If you want your site to be ranked well for voice search as well, here are some things you need to consider:
1. Featured snippets
Featured snippets are also called answer boxes; they are what appear at the top of SERPs, because Google places what it considers to be the most relevant content in a box on the top. It means additional brand exposure as they are displayed above the first organic search result. About 30% of over a million and a half tested Google queries contain Featured Snippets, and if a particular result includes a featured snippet, the voice assistant will fetch its answer from there.
How do you get into a featured snippet? You need to provide quality data – that is, answers to direct questions of users. Keywords that begin with How to - , how does - , What is - , and so on. You may need to tweak your existing content so that it delivers those answers. Think about what query your site intends to resolve, and also search what your audience is asking, by going to Q&A sites like Quora. You can then find out the keywords with less competition by performing a competitor analysis.
2. User intent
User intent is simply the reason behind a user’s search query – do they want to buy, or are they just looking for information? When you get queries that include words like - price, cost, buy/purchase, how to, where etc., the user intent is pretty clear. But of course, this is not always the case, and the user may not express the intent.
Now what Google does is that it tries to establish the context of the search query, searches sites for content, and then throws up answers it feels is the most relevant. Let’s say you search for Olympics date – the search engine will assume you are looking for the date of the upcoming Olympics (even if it’s about 2 years away), and will display that result at the top – and not the dates of past Olympics. Those results will be shown below.
It’s vital therefore, that you consider the user intent when creating your content, so that your web pages seem more relevant to search queries.
3. Long tail keywords & Questions
Though the importance of long-tail keywords has been stressed for some time now, it’s even more relevant in voice search; people may type minimal words, but when they talk to their digital assistants, they are more likely to talk as if to a human, and use long phrases, sentences or questions. It is essential that you use conversational phrases (as keywords) that people are likely to use while speaking. Long tail keywords also have less competition, and the more you’re optimized for them, the better your chances of getting to the top of the SERPs.
For example – when you type, you may use something like: ‘best Italian restaurant in xyz city’; but you may ask Siri or Alexa like this: ‘Hey Siri/Alexa, where can I get the best Italian food in xyz city?’ – as it sounds more natural and conversational. Tools are available that can help you find out the most likely questions by your target audience.
Bonus Tip: Create H2 headers with such queries, and answer them in the body copy very crisply so that the main idea is clear. Keep the content fresh and updated so that you can continue your run in the Featured Snippets.
4. Page speed
This is true for any search – your page needs to load fast; without that you can say goodbye to being featured in voice search results. People today have no patience to stick around till your site has loaded fully – someone using voice search maybe especially in a hurry.
There are tools that help you do this; they also provide recommendations for increasing the speed. For voice search, remember that mobile speed is more important than desktop. In fact, every aspect of your site has to be mobile friendly, as it’s mobile users who will use voice search the most.
5. Structured data
This is the code that is included with the HTML markup; search engines use structured data to understand your site’s content better. When you implement this in your site, you’re helping search engine spiders to crawl and read your content in a more efficient manner. To improve the control over the way you provide information about your brand, and the manner in which it is interpreted by machines, you can also implement schema markup. It is especially useful in providing information about your site and the content to mobile devices.
With structured data, you can get more click-throughs, thanks to rich snippets being created. It offers several competitive advantages, like increased traffic to your site, for example. It goes without saying that structured data helps your pages to appear in featured snippets, and therefore, get found in voice searches.
Remember to only use that data which is relevant for the content you provide, and keep you markup updated.
6. Local SEO
This aspect is crucial whether you want to rank for typed or voice search – but perhaps it is even more important for voice search, as people tend to depend on it when they are actually headed somewhere.
Include your neighborhood, city, state and country when optimizing your keywords. When performing a voice search, people are more likely to use the phrase ‘near me’; for example, ‘Ok Google, show me an organic vegetable store near me’. In such cases, search engines will use the user’s location to understand which organic stores are closest to them. what you need to do is add added information like brand name detailed address, working hours and so on in your Google My Business Page. This is because the search engine bots are most likely to look in the Business Listings Information when they get a ‘near me’ query.
Voice search is already popular, and it’s expected to grow exponentially in the near future.
Implement voice search optimization in your SEO now to see significant improvement in your content visibility – after all, voice search only show the pages at the very top.
People already use voice search widely — and its popularity will only grow dramatically in the coming years.
Don’t let your competition get ahead – optimize your site for voice search now. It will be certainly tedious for you to do this by yourself, so call in the experts. At IPIX Tech Services, we have nearly a decade’s experience in providing digital solutions for our customers that have helped them grow their business. Contact us today and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Do get in touch with us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will tell you how we can help you.