Voice search is undeniably one of the most rapidly growing trends in e-commerce today. Thanks to speech recognition technology used by Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and iPhone’s Siri we’re seeing a dramatic increase in consumer’s use of voice search for finding information, performing tasks, and making purchases.
94% of users find voice technology not only user-friendly, but also a significant enhancer of their daily lives, transcending beyond mere time-saving
In an intriguing twist, over one third or 38% of consumers say voice ads are less intrusive and more engaging than ads on tv, print, online, and social media.
These insights have spoken - voice search is revolutionizing the way we interact with the world wide web, ushering in an era of heightened convenience and streamlined communication.
As we pivot towards this novel mode of interaction, it's important to note the distinct nature of voice-based queries. Unlike traditional text searches, voice commands tend to be more conversational and people frequently phrase questions differently than they would typing into a search engine.
Moving forward, marketers need to incorporate voice search’s unique requirements into their overall search engine optimization (SEO) plan.
At it’s simplest, optimizing for voice search means:
Answering questions in featured snippets
Paying attention to local SEO
Ensuring mobile compatibility
So,listen up! We’re sharing six voice search optimization best practices to level up your search ranking success.
Before we dive into voice search SEO, let's breakdown what it is.
Imagine you’re cooking and need recipe directions, but your hands are messy. You call out to Alexa and talk to your device, Alexa (or Siri or Google Home) responds with cooking directions – that's voice search.
What's cool about voice search? Well, it's quick, it’s effortless, it's easy. You don't need your hands and it feels more like having a conversation. More and more homes are getting smart devices using voice search, making things like finding that recipe or checking the weather a breeze.
Why Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
The compelling case for optimizing websites for voice search begins with the sheer volume of users embracing this technology.
A substantial 33.2 million US consumers are already shopping using their smart speakers, making voice search an increasingly significant aspect of online commerce.
While there is indeed an overlap between on-page search optimization and voice search optimization, voice search warrants its own distinct category of optimization.
Voice searches tend to be more conversational, specific, and often frame inquiries as questions, which contrasts with the typically short, keyword-centric typed searches.
These unique attributes of voice search necessitate a specific approach to optimization, ensuring your content is discoverable through this increasingly prevalent mode of search.
How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search:
Voice Search SEO Strategy #1: Adopt a Conversational Approach
People are conversational when using smartphones and virtual assistants to conduct in-the-moment voice searches.
Voice searches also tend to be more detailed, longer and in complete sentences, rather than short, keyword-centric, text-based searches.
For example, a user might ask their at-home Alexa device “What is the weather today in Washington, D.C.?,” as opposed to typing “Weather Washington, D.C.” into Google’s search bar.
Businesses can optimize their content for voice search by using a more conversational tone that matches the natural language of voice queries.
Incorporate relevant long-tail keywords to complete searchers’ questions and better respond to colloquial phrases.
Make sure your content answers common questions, using the language and phrasing your audience is likely to use, and in a format they would find engaging.
Voice Search SEO Strategy #2: Understand Search Intent and Utilize FAQs
Voice searchers frequently ask informal, yet specific questions, beginning with how, what, when, why, and where. Keep speech patterns and idioms in mind.
Answer common customer voice search queries by writing:
Use Google Search Console to find the queries bringing users to your website, and evaluate your site's search traffic, performance, and position in Google’s search results to find areas for improvement and maximization.
Voice Search SEO Strategy #3: Schema Markup
Schema markup, a form of microdata, is code that is added to your website’s HTML. This coding aids search engines like Google to deliver more comprehensive results.
Schema markup provides search engines with additional information about your website's content, improving their understanding and therefore the relevance of your site to specific queries. This can increase your content's chances of being selected for a voice search response.
Typical schema markups encapsulate crucial business information like:
While schema markup remains invisible to the human eye, itis invaluable to indexing bots. It aids them in better understanding your content, thereby boosting visibility in search results and potentially increasing traffic to your site.
Since search engines perceive your site as more relevant due to this comprehensive data, your chances of appearing in voice search results are significantly enhanced.
Consequently, schema markup is a powerful tool not just for voice search SEO, but for your site's overall on-page SEO as well.
Voice Search SEO Strategy #4: Emphasize Local SEO
Local SEO and voice search optimization go hand-in-hand.
According to Moz, 97% of people learn about a local business online. With people using their phones to get directions, search for nearby restaurants, and look up business hours, it’s critical that you follow local SEO fundamentals to put your business on the map.
Here are a few quick optimization tips for ‘near me’ searches, while maximizing online visibility for your local business:
Register your company’s Google My Business listing and keep it up-to-date regularly
Prominently feature your business address, phone number, and hours of operation details
Create separate webpages for each of your business locations
Optimize your content with geographically-specific keywords and phrases
Ensure accuracy and consistency in online directories
Voice Search SEO Strategy #5: Prioritize Mobile Compatibility
Today’s consumers expect immediate, hyper-relevant, and helpful information at their fingertips. In fact, BrightLocal data found that 56% of voice searches are on smartphones.
Your website needs to deliver a first-class, mobile-friendly experience to be easily accessible and engaging from any device. After all, user experience (UX) is a critical factor in search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, particularly with Google’s Core Vitals update in 2021.
Adopt these best practices to ensure your website experience and SEO success are working together to help you grow traffic and get found with voice search:
Ensure your website is crawlable to boost visibility and exposure to your content
Voice Search SEO Strategy #6: Site Speed
Voice search users are often looking for immediate answers. Therefore, the loading speed of your website can heavily impact your discoverability.
A slow-loading website may not only frustrate users but also lead to lower rankings on search engines. Google claims that ecommerce website speeds need to load under two seconds before user experience is affected.
Tools like Google's Page Speed Insights can help evaluate and improve your site speed.
Implement a Sound Voice Search Optimization Strategy
With more and more consumers using voice-enabled devices to perform search engine queries, find local businesses, make purchasing decisions, and more, it’s time to join the voice search revolution.
Get started optimizing your content for voice search to drive more traffic to your website, improve your SEO rankings, and gain a competitive edge.
Siri I’d like to, “Get in touch with Whereoware to talk to an SEO expert about how to devise an effective voice search and SEO strategy.”