How To Optimize Your Website For Voice Search
Voice search is everywhere. There’s no doubt that it’s one of the fastest-growing tools for consumers who want faster, easier ways to get information and accomplish tasks. Just a decade ago, you may have thought it was far into the future that you would tell your phone to find a phone number or communicate with an electronic device to place an order. Yet, today, tools like Alexa, Siri, and others are almost considered “old-fashioned”. So, it’s your business optimized for voice search?
What Is Voice Search Really?
Voice search is a term used to describe the words or phrases that a person asks a voice assistant. Perhaps the most important thing to understand about this method of reaching people is that voice search query terms are often very different from what people type into search engines like Google. If you better understand how to optimize for voice search based on the phrases and queries answered, you can position your company to reach more of these people. That means more people stopping into your location or calling you for a solution to their problem.
Why You Should Care About Voice Search Optimization
Considering that voice search is more of a newer type of marketing strategy, it may not be something you’re sure you want to invest in just yet. Your digital marketing company can help you better understand how it may work for your specific needs, but here are some of the many reasons, so many companies are turning towards this tool to enhance their results.
#1: A Lot of People Like to Talk Instead of Type
Typing isn’t fast, especially if you are on a smartphone in a car trying to find a location to enjoy a meal or to pick up some type of item you need. That’s why research finds that 71% of consumers actually prefer to use voice search over typing a search.
That doesn’t mean all of your customers are going to use it, and you shouldn’t step away from the digital marketing and search engine optimization strategies you are using. Yet, with so many people using this tool, it’s certainly not something you want to ignore.
#2: People Are Using it More in Their Homes Than Ever
Many people have turned to their smartphones for help with voice searches for some time now, but what we are also finding is that more people than ever are using this tool at home. Do you have a smart speaker? Do you have a smart appliance in your home that you’re using? According to data from Statista, in 2022, 66.3 million households in the U.S. will own a smart speaker, providing them with access to using voice search.
#3: The Number of Uses Is Growing
How many searches do you think occur like this daily? Voice searches are growing in their use. Some estimates are that more than 1 billion voice searches happen every month in U.S. households. The same survey found that 40% of adults use their voice assistants like this at least one time a day. Considering that this is a relatively new technology in comparison to other solutions, that’s a significant number of people you cannot ignore.
#4: You Gain a Way to Reach New Searchers
You may be doing everything you can to optimize your website and blog. You may be tapping into social media and incorporating SEO through the local pack as well as organic search. Voice search can connect you to a whole new range of potential customers and clients. The people that typically use their smartphones for searches or those who are at home seeking information are not as likely to use their laptops or type into their phones to get information. That means you may not be reaching this audience at all. By incorporating voice search, you create an opportunity for you to reach a much larger audience.
#5: It Can Help Your SEO Ranking, Too
Voice search and overall SEO and website rank may not seem to be linked, but that’s not the case. When you optimize your website for voice search, you are improving its overall quality and providing the search engines with a way to further value your site. In many ways, this will help your website gain authority. The higher the authority is, the higher it will be on search engine results pages (SERPs), and that means more people will see your website and click on it.
How to Optimize for Voice Search
Voice search optimization is a set of strategies that can help you to build your website’s authority in this area. The more you know about voice search and how it works, the more you can streamline your efforts to leverage this type of technology for your benefit.
To help you, consider these methods of voice search optimization, though a formal site audit can provide more insight into what your specific goals should be.
Determine Which Conversational Keywords Are Used
One of the first and most important steps in this process is to understand what people are stating in voice assistants to find what you have to offer. That’s much like doing keyword research, but you’re focused on phrases people actually speak out loud rather than type into the search engines.
Most of the time, you’ll want to go one step further than you are using long-tail keywords. To be clear, short phrases and vague keywords are not going to help you with voice search any more so than they do with SEO. Long-tail needs to be even more elaborate, though. That’s because people are more likely to use full sentences, typically in sentence form.
“What are the primary colors?” Instead of “list of primary colors,” for example.
There are a variety of keyword tools that can help you with choosing those best suited for your needs. Hone in specifically on those most relevant to the services or products you offer.
Incorporate an FAQ Section on Your Page
You may have heard a lot about the benefits of incorporating a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on your website or blog pages. FAQ sections are helpful for several reasons:
· They allow you to create a natural place on your website where questions are incorporated. Here, those questions don’t sound clunky and take away from your brand voice.
· FAQs typically have a direct relation to the content on the page, which means they are going to be super helpful for SEO as well.
· They can help to turn people visiting your page into customers or buyers because you are answering the questions they are most likely to ask anyway.
Create a series of 3 to 5 FAQs for any page that you feel is valuable for voice search. Incorporate phrases related to the content on that page, and be sure to include the questions and long-tail phrases people are using in their voice search within those FAQs.
Make Local SEO a Priority
Local SEO is one of the most important tools for most websites that have local customers. The best way to do that is to create, maintain, and upgrade your Google Business Profile to ensure it is consistently providing the information that people are asking for.
The good news is you can modify your profile to incorporate some of those questions.
What’s most important is to consider the value that this offers. One of the most common questions people ask includes “near me,” for example. “Where can I find smartphone repair near me?” By utilizing local SEO strategies, you can build on that voice search, providing people the information they need, including your location, the hours you are open, and even directions right to your doorstep.
Voice search results often pull information from Google Business Profiles to utilize as answers. Be sure this is kept up to date and that it is optimized for SEO as well (that’s a completely different digital marketing strategy your small business should incorporate as well!)
Aim for the Google Featured Snippet
Take a moment to do a search for a phrase that relates to your business in question form. On the SERP, chances are good you’ll see Google Featured Snippets, which are questions (probably much like the one you’ve asked) with the ability to click on them and read a short answer.
Snippets are a short answer that Google has pulled from a website that offered an answer to this question. If you can land the snippet, you’ll see a big boost in your website traffic. Keep in mind, though, this is challenging simply because it takes SEO strategies and a recognized site to do so.
Ensure You Are Mobile Friendly
Mobile search marketing is just as important for voice search. That is, your website absolutely needs to be mobile-friendly since a large percentage of the people using this tool will do so using their smartphones.
If your site isn’t optimized for mobile use, if someone lands on it using their smartphone, they are more likely to back out and move on to a site that does make it easy to use.
There are a few things specifically important here:
· Be sure it has a fast loading time. People don’t wait.
· Ensure it is very readable without a lot of clutter on the page.
· The site needs to have a responsive design.
If you haven’t done so yet, talk to your web marketing company about how to improve your websites mobile friendly design.
Work to Get on Google’s First Page
Often, voice assistants will say, “Here are some results I found for you,” and then list out several options for the person to use. That’s going to come directly from a Google search. For that reason, recognize that SEO ranking is still very important.
When possible, put your time and money into ranking on the first page of Google. Aim for as high as #1 as possible. In short, putting money and time into search engine marketing is going to help your website perform better and help with voice search optimization.
Don’t Leave Out Social Media
Social media marketing could be a component of your voice search optimization as well. Social media can be voice-search-friendly. If you have not done so yet, create social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others relevant to your audience. That’s going to help you drive more customers to your website and help you to engage fully with your audience.
Having these pages isn’t enough, though. You also need to use them on a consistent basis to see results.
You Can Get Help Along the Way
Make It Loud is your web design and search engine optimization team. Let our digital marketing firm help you to improve your voice search by tapping into strategies that are proven to be highly effective.
Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing firm located outside of Atlanta Georgia. He is also the Director of SEO. More than 14 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this agency and has taught digital marketing skills to business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center and other groups.