How to Optimize for Voice Search? Here Are Some Tips
Voice search optimization is getting more and more important these days. Let’s have a look at some tips on how you should optimize your website for voice search.
The Importance of Voice Search Optimization
The continued use of voice search has paved the way for a remarkable technology. And it has led to the rise of mobile assistants such as Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, as well as smart speakers such as Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home, and Apple’s HomePod.
With more consumers using voice search, no other industry has gained from it more than small, local businesses. The surge of voice-search popularity has significantly affected how consumers interact with local businesses online.
Today, if you haven’t optimized your business’s website for voice search, you could be missing out on incremental web traffic, more brand awareness, and ultimately more customers.
If you’re already familiar with voice search, then you know how easy it is to use. It’s quicker than typing using your smart device keys, and you don’t have to unlock your smart device to get the answers you need. The voice search technology is so ever-present, most consumers don’t even give it a second thought.
Voice search is essential for building brand awareness and generating more customers. The stats are amazing. Consider this:
• Over 58% of customers have used voice search to find local businesses in the past year
• 28% of voice search users search for local businesses weekly
• 76% of smart speaker users search for local businesses at least weekly
The largest segment of consumers using voice search to find the local business information in the last year are those between the ages of 18 to 34 (76%). And, the 35-54-year-old crowd isn’t far behind. 64% of these consumers say they have used voice search in the past year. So, if your target audience is between the ages of 18-54, you have no option but to leverage voice search to provide your customers with what they need.
You can leverage voice search to offer answers that your customers are looking for; this will boost traffic to your landing pages. Today, online searchers are hungry for faster answers. Using voice search technology, you can serve this need, and it’s an attractive alternative to the web search.
Thus, if you’re looking for a new and better way to boost traffic on your site, it’s time to leverage voice search. It’ll improve your ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs) and it’ll boost user experience. One of the major signals Google is emphasizing today for ranking is user experience.
When voice search users get the answers they need faster, this reduces negative signals such as bounce rates.
There are many ways you can leverage voice search to boost traffic to your website or even your restaurant. For instance, if you’re a restaurant owner in Jakarta, Singapore or New Orleans, give directions to your location and you’ll be surprised to see more customers walking through the door.
Whatever you do, make sure you incorporate voice search in your SEO strategy. In doing so, you’ll boost your ranking on SERPs and you’ll attract more customers to your business.
Internet Users Are Turning to Voice for Efficiency
The dominance of voice technology continues to expand. From HR to marketing to transport to finance, voice technology is being used extensively. Apart from reducing costs and streamlining business processes, it offers more efficiency.
When used correctly, voice search allows people to complete tasks quickly and easily. It’s more helpful, highly efficient, and it helps get more tasks done.
Voice technology streamlines a user’s life in ways never possible before. Voice technology has greatly simplified voice search.
On average, people can speak 125 to 150 words per minute; this is 3 times faster than the average typing speed. That’s why leveraging inherent human ability is more beneficial.
Efficiency is one of the primary reasons people use voice search. Over 76% of people who use voice search regularly say it’s more natural.
However, voice technology offers more than just efficiency. And as voice technology continues to advance, it’s more likely to expand its important role in our daily activities.
Today, voice-enabled devices are must-haves alongside top productivity suite tools.
Here are tips on how to optimize for voice search:
1. Write in a Conversational Style
If you’re like most smartphone users, you use voice-powered functions to schedule appointments, send text messages and search for information online. Voice search is a key area to watch for entrepreneurs and business owners because according to Comscore, half of all online searches will be voice searches by 2020. This means that voice is the future of web search.
Think Conversationally When Optimizing Your Site for Voice Search
Searching using the keyboard differs from when we talk out loud.
Voice searches mirror how we communicate in full thoughts with others because we aren’t trained to speak robotically. The conversational style of speech is involuntary. For example, using voice search to ask a question seems like it would in a normal conversation:
Compare this to the usual shorthand style of search that happens when typing on a keyboard. You’d type “Dewa Eka Prayoga” as your search query.
Taking this logic further, if you were having a conversation, you wouldn’t keep saying Dewa Eka’s name, you’d start saying “he” or “his.” Search engines are trying to achieve this form of contextual query refinement for voice. And they can infer the meaning of placeholder words such as he, she, it, or they based on your previous queries.
The result is a string of search phrases that look similar to this:
• “Who is Dewa Eka Prayoga?”
• “What is he famous for?”
• “What did he do recently?”
• “What is his net worth?”
Use these similar phrases as you create your content and optimize it for voice search.
Also, you can take the concept of conversational style to the next level by thinking how frequently your shorthand text search comes to a full question. Let face it, it all comes down to the five Ws:
Thus, optimizing your content and website for voice search is as simple as asking a lot of these questions and answering them in your content.
How to Implement the Conversational Style?
There are no rules on how to optimize for conversational phrases; the best option is simply to include them in your content.
To get started, consider these tips:
• Brainstorm out loud. Think about some of the questions a reader may ask to land into the article you’re writing. Add these questions and answer them within your article.
• Write FAQ-style summaries at the end of your article. This naturally integrates conversational-style questions and answers, which gives the search engines something specific to work with.
Think ahead to the future and create a whole voice-centric content strategy around the five Ws concept. Follow these four steps when building your content road map:
1. List the topics of your content.
2. Research what keywords you already rank for, using a tool like Rank Tracker.
3. For each unique keyword, create a few questions using the five Ws.
4. Answer each of those questions in your blog post or landing page.
2. Focus on Long-Tail Search Queries
When searching for information through the voice assistant, many people behave as if they’re talking to a human. Many of us don’t use short, choppy keywords. Instead, we ask questions and long phrases.
To optimize your content and website for voice search, use more conversational keywords and phrases that people use while speaking, not while typing. Essentially, these will be long-tail search queries but phrased the way people speak.
Using long-tail search queries is good for voice search optimization and traditional SEO.
Keywords containing more than two words face less competition and they offer more chances to rank at the top.
As mentioned earlier, successful marketers use questions for voice search together with long phrases.
For example, when typing a query, one is more likely to use more relevant keywords and write something like “restaurants in Jakarta.”
However, voice search sounds more natural and conversational. So, when talking to your voice assistant, you will start with “Hey Alexa…,” or “OK, Google,” etc. These phrases will make you think you’re communicating with your device and you aren’t just conducting a keyword-based search. So when looking for a restaurant to eat breakfast, you’re more likely to ask: “Hey Alexa, which restaurants near me serve breakfast all day?”
Thus, if you want to spend less time and find the questions your target audience may ask, use tools such as Answer the Public or Serpstat Search Questions.
When using Serpstat, for instance, type the word or a phrase that best describes the subject of your content. Then you’ll see how people search for that topic.
When writing your answer, make sure it answers the searcher’s questions.
After you decide which queries you’re writing about in your blog post, add them to the pages within your site. Also, create H2 headers from each query and write your answers in the body text. Answer each search query briefly and state the main idea concisely.
After answering the search query directly, cover other related search queries. This way you’ll rank for as many variations of questions as possible.
To keep your position in featured snippets, keep your content fresh and update it regularly.
Why Long-Tail Search Queries Are Important
The reason long-tail search queries are important is the intent. This is because search engines find it hard to understand the intent of a single-word search query. Including long-tail search queries into your business’s content will help search engines deliver more accurate results. And local businesses and brands that serve content that answers intent-based queries will rise above the competition.
The growing popularity of voice search is making long-tail keywords more valuable. In the initial days of online search engines, it was easy to type one word and hit “search.” But today, with voice assistants in one out of every six American homes, people are searching differently. Searchers are talking instead of typing.
And voice search queries are longer, with seven or more words. In fact, people are more likely to speak long sentences than they are to type them.
So, as a business owner, you must continue to pay attention to important keywords in your industry. Also, you have to focus on how people are using these keywords to search for services with their voice-enabled devices. If you realize searchers are using multiple words or certain phrases regularly, then it’s important to optimize for that popular search query.
Remember, stuffing search queries into a blog feels unnatural. And, Google and your readers can tell it’s forced. This is where long-tail keywords come in. It’s much easier to create high-quality content around conversational phrases than single-word queries.
Also, long-tail search queries offer more specific answers, which means consumers can find their answers easily and quickly.
While focusing on long-tail search queries is essential for voice search optimization, there are certain places in the content where these queries will perform better. For example, incorporating strong long-tail search queries in headlines makes your content more shareable, and it makes it easier to find your content on search engines. Also, using keyword-rich headlines will make your content appear more frequently in voice search results.
Remember; Google cares more about its users’ experience. It will therefore rank your content lower if it’s littered with forced keywords, regardless of how long or short they are. So, keep your content organic and smooth without forcing in the long-tail search queries.
3. Ensure Your Website Loads Quickly
The time it takes to load your site is crucial. It influences whether your site will appear in voice search results.
Searchers using voice search are usually on the go or in a hurry. So, to attract those searchers, website speed optimization must be a top priority.
Start by analyzing your current site speed with PageSpeed Insights. This tool will help you know if your site’s loading time is fast enough, and you’ll also get suggestions on how to improve your loading time.
Also, remember that mobile speed is more important than desktop for voice search optimization. This goes for overall design too, so always make sure your site is mobile-friendly; most of the voice searches occur through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Voice assistants put a premium on expediency. For instance, Google Home generates results based on the time it takes for a website to load. Thus, the quicker the loading time, the more your site is favorable to voice-activated devices.
(See also What are Trends in Voice Search?)
According to a study by Backlinko, sites with simple, easy-to-digest content rank on the first page of SERPs. The study also found that Google and other search engines favor webpages with low loading times.
Also, faster website speed is crucial because it prevents the user’s attention from drifting. The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds.
So, your website pages need to load faster for voice assistants to deliver results quickly. Otherwise, they won’t be able to deliver answers in time and readers will abandon your site and move to your competitors’ sites.
Using WordPress, you can make sure your site has a performance-friendly base. Also, you can implement other performance-boosting techniques such as optimizing your website’s images.