With the advent of Google, Alexa and Siri, searching the Internet can be done from almost anywhere by simply providing a voice command. It’s faster and you’re provided with “the best” immediate results. If you want your website or business to be brought to the surface, you need to invest in some voice search SEO.
Voice recognition software has come a long way since the 1900s. Some platforms even involve a great deal of artificial intelligence to provide answers to people’s questions. In reality, you need to adapt the marketing strategy if you want those devices to find your specific content.
By May of 2016, approximately 20 percent of searches from mobile Android devices in the United States were from voice commands. According to statistics and growing trends, it is believed that half of all searches will be done through images or voice by 2020.
While home devices are growing in popularity, it’s mobile technology that is more pronounced when it comes to voice searching. Not everyone has an Alexa or Google Home device, but 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone.
Here is why optimizing a website for mobile voice search is important.
Proliferation of Mobile Technology
Approximately 54 percent of Internet users around the world are doing so from mobile devices. And the trend is continuing to grow. This means strategies for engaging users on hand-held devices is of great importance. Include the continuing development of voice recognition software and algorithms, and you can see why voice search optimization is so vital.
In 2017, about 75 percent of adults in the United States will use a smarpthone. This doesn’t include the rampant use by children under the age of 18. As more people spend time looking at these hand-held devices, they are spending less time on other marketable channels. For instance, people are growing more likely to stream video and music to their smartphones than watch TV or listen to the radio.
More people are using the Internet today to research brands before buying products and services. In fact, about 48 percent of these searches start from engines like Google. Both voice and text-based searches are conducted on a daily basis. Which means if you don’t have any strategy for SEO of any kind, you’re pretty much giving your competition the sales.
Elements like the traditional phone book are becoming more obsolete with each passing year. Can you think of the last time you opened the white pages to find a local business? I think the last time I opened a phone book was prior to 2008. Now, I can simply ask my phone where a good place to get pizza is near me.
Making Mobile Devices a Priority
Mobile optimization has got to be a priority for anyone who wants to succeed on the Internet. Whether you’re a blogger or selling watches from eCommerce, smartphone use is something that will continue to grow. It’s convenient, always with you and is just as useful for browsing most websites as the best desktop computers.
While a lot of people are putting effort into the responsive experience for mobile device users, not everyone has a good and solid strategy for voice searching. This is partly because it’s a semi-new ideal that is spreading rapidly. If you don’t focus effort on engaging those mobile users, you will miss out on sales and interactions.
Improve Site Speed
Site speed is an important element for SEO. It has potential to vastly affect your income as many will abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. To put this into perspective, one second could result in $1.6 billion in lost sales for Amazon.
Although not every website is an influential and successful as Amazon, it does demonstrate just how vital speed is for the average user.
The speed of your website doesn’t just affect the human element, either. Search engines like Google prioritize speedy sites in search results. This is especially true for mobile devices. The faster your site is, the more effective it becomes in search results.
This means that a site built for speed with optimized content is more likely to be shared through voice searching.
Use “Tappable” Content
Voice search optimization is only part of the mobile experience. Once visitors access your pages, they need to be able to navigate the site without issue. This means placing “tappable” elements on webpages that are easy to touch.
You need to understand the size of the display visitors are using and the average width of a finger. For example, placing several links tightly packed together makes it more difficult for someone to touch them. The end result is a user who is clicking the wrong link and becoming frustrated with the site.
Using pinch-to-zoom on a smartphone is helpful, but it’s also more work. People often like websites that require less work to navigate.
Keep It Easy to Read
Another aspect after voice search optimization is keeping the content easy to read. This means avoiding long blocks of paragraphs and plenty of subheaders to break up the content.
The majority of people scan through an article to find the exact information they are looking for. Using profound elements like subheadings and bullet points are beneficial when giving a visitor what he or she wants. It also contributes to building a featured snippet in Google.
Some things you should try include:
- Using descriptive subheadings
- Adding numbered lists
- Keeping paragraphs under 100 words
- Writing content that reads like you speak
- Using formatting such as bold and italics
How to Optimize for Voice Search
A lot of traditional optimization practices are similar for voice search. However, there are a few aspects that need a bit more tailoring if you want to engage the mobile user.
Google My Business
One of the most affluent uses of voice search is looking for nearby businesses. Remember, the phone book is obsolete. Adding your information to Google My Business helps voice searchers find your organization if you’re near them. You can’t rely on adding the address to the website and crossing your fingers.
While you may have to jump through a few hoops to verify your business in Google, the results are far worth the effort. It puts your establishment on the map and increases the likelihood of local people making a purchase. In fact, 72 percent of consumers will visit a store they searched online if it’s within five miles.
Using Long-Tail Keywords
Keywords and phrases will always be necessary to find content. However, long-tail keywords are more prominent when it comes to voice search SEO. This is because people will often ask complete questions rather than speak a single word or short phrase. For example, would you say: “pizza Los Angeles” or “Where can I find a good pepperoni pizza near me?”
Voice recognition will identify “where” to start the inquiry, “pepperoni pizza” as the subject and use the phrase “near me” to calculate where a pizzeria is located according to your smartphone’s GPS location.
Although “pizza Los Angeles” is still beneficial in search results for those looking for pizza in the massive city, it’s not as detailed as a voice search would be. For example, the searcher may only care about finding a pepperoni pizza.
Google Search Console
Google search console does more than just show you how many times your pages appear in search results. It also breaks down the terms people use to find your content. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t have a way to separate voice search from typing. However, there are rumors afloat this will soon change.
At any rate, you can take a look at the phrases people use to find your content and begin building a strategy for further engagement. If you look at the “Search Analytics” area in Search Console, you can see how more questions are being used. Of course, this is also dependent of your content and website’s industry.
Analyzing how people find your site will give you ideas about long-tail keywords and phrases for boosting voice search SEO.
Answer Questions in Your Niche
An effective method for attracting visitors is to answer a question. This is because many people will both speak and type a question in search results to find an answer. The more precise your response, the more attractive it becomes to visitors as well as search engines.
A good way to see what people are asking for in Google is to start typing a question. The search engine’s autocomplete feature will start to fill in the blanks of the most common search criteria. The trick is to answer that question better than those who appear in the search results.
Another excellent form of identifying questions from searchers is by using tools like Answer the Public. You simply enter in a search term and the applications analyzes how people are looking for that keyword. For instance, “pepperoni pizza” shows results like “how long is pepperoni pizza good for in the fridge.”
Be Descriptive in Content
Being descriptive is always good in content. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as being long-winded. Your content should get to the point as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you may just lose your audience.
More details means greater results when someone is asking their voice-activated devices a question. You wouldn’t want to simply focus on “pizza” because a vegetarian isn’t going to be interested in a meat-lovers supreme dish.
You also want to avoid filling your webpages with content that is unrelated to the topic. If you’re writing about how to prepare the perfect pepperoni pizza, you wouldn’t go into how much you love your oven.
Understand Audience Voice Search
Search engine optimization often includes using terms that are misspelled by searchers. The same idea is behind how people talk. While voice systems like Google and Alexa do a decent job of translating mispronunciations, sometimes they still get through.
This doesn’t mean you need a separate landing page for every dialect. However, it’s prudent to understand the people you are marketing to and what verbiage is used to look for specific items. For example, you wouldn’t use the word “apartment” if you’re targeting people in the UK, who call it a “flat.”
Other Networks to Use
Search engines are not the only aspect of voice search trends. Sites like Yelp and Facebook are also common parts of asking a mobile device where a good sushi restaurant is located. With that being the case, you need to make sure you’re prominently on those networks.
These other networks are beneficial for more than just voice searching, though. For example, sites like Yelp offer insight into a business based on customer reviews. In fact, approximately 88 percent of shoppers use reviews to base a purchasing decision. So, it’s ideal to be on sites that offer this kind of feedback.
Always Continue to Test
The best method to figure out if your voice search optimization is working is by testing it on various platforms. Just keep in mind that results may not be instant. After all, you are competing against a vast market.
Change your search criteria when speaking. Keep digging until your able to find your content through voice searching and analyze what worked and how to improve. The more you fine tune the SEO for voice, the better the results will become. It will also boost your page ranking in traditional searching methods.
The most difficult part of this strategy is that you’ll need as many devices to test as you can get. While you can start right now with the device in your pocket, don’t forget to optimize for the other platforms.
Android has 41.31 percent of the OS marketshare as of July, 2017. But you still need to target those on Windows, iOS and other platforms if you want to enhance traffic to your website. This means you need to include results from Siri, Alexa and Cortana to be truly successful.
Voice and Text SEO
Not everyone steadily uses voice searching. In fact, I know many who would rather type a search as it gives them a chance to dig into other pages of results to find the exact content they are looking for. However, optimizing for voice is just another way to reach top results from those who use voice search abilities. Expand your strategies for SEO to include both. It’s safe to assume your competition is.
OK, Google, where can I find a good pepperoni pizza near me? I’m getting hungry.