5 Strategies to Optimize Your Site for Voice Search
You’re familiar with search, but how to optimize your site for voice search? When Google launched the Voice Search app for the iPhone back in 2008, it was far from perfect. But, over the years, speak-activated technology has become much more accurate and human-like.
According to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report, Google’s machine learning algorithms have achieved a 95% word accuracy rate or better for the English language. That rate also happens to be the threshold for human accuracy, mind you.
To capitalize on its nearly quantum rise in popularity, it is critical that you are prepared to capture new voice traffic. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to gain any organic traction.
What does Voice Search Mean for your Business?
If you are a small business owner, it is a good idea to start thinking of ways to optimize your website for voice search.
People want instant solutions when they are searching for something online. While typing a query into a search bar is quick, simply speaking into your device and getting the same results is even faster. On average, a person can type around 40 words per minute but speak around 150 words per minute. Do the math.
Voice search is also more appropriate and convenient than traditional methods of searching. If you had to choose between typing and speaking a query like “Which is the best community to live in Northern California,” you will probably choose the latter option.
These are reasons why many consumers already use voice search to find what they are looking for. In fact, Location World estimates that 2 in 5 adults used voice search on a daily basis in 2016, and according to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be performed via voice by the beginning of 2021.
How to Make Voice Search Work for You
Voice search is not a fad or something you should ignore. If you want to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition, now’s the time to do it. Get the most out of search marketing in the long run by putting these proven voice search optimization strategies to use:
Think Phrases, not Just Keywords
When researching keywords for voice search, consider the semantic differences in queries. What someone types into a search bar is going to be different from a spoken query. For example, if you want to find a hotel near the airport in Santa Rosa, you would search for something like “hotels near airport Santa Rosa.” On the other hand, when you speak your search, you will probably use a conversational tone, so it would be more like, “What hotels are near the airport in Santa Rosa?”
Google is looking for natural language, so you must incorporate conversational, long-tail keywords (keywords that are grouped together to make up a phrase) that someone might use to find your products or services into your content as much as possible.
Voice search contains a lot of question words. Think of how we typically ask questions verbally; we usually include words like how, who, what, when, why and where. Sprinkle these keywords into the mix as well.
Keep it Simple
No matter what your business offers, it is never a good idea to write overly technical or jargon-filled copy. It doesn’t benefit the user, and it doesn’t benefit your SEO. A study conducted by Brian Dean shows that content written at a 9th-grade reading level appears more often as a voice result. You can use a tool such as the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level to determine what grade your content is at and adjust accordingly.
Remember, it is not about dumbing down your site. It is about answering questions succinctly and clearly rather than filling your webpages with unnecessary language that will only confuse searchers and search engines.
Mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to be location-based queries and have terms like “near me.” People often use voice search while driving, looking for what’s nearby. It could be places to visit, hotels to stay in, or restaurants to eat on the go. So the more you can do to optimize your site for local search results, the more it can be optimized for voice search as well.
Here are a few ways to optimize your site for local search:
- Use your location with keywords in your site content as much as you can.
- Don’t forget to keep your Google My Business page and Yelp page updated with your current information. These results are served too—not just your web content.
- If you have accolades or awards, include those too—users are often searching for the “best of” or “top” products or services in the area.
Be Overly Informative
Business owners that insist on minimal content are missing the point, and would-be customers are missing them as a result. Read our post on blog post length, which applies equally to page length.
A virtual assistant pulls information from the Internet, so you want to make sure there is lots of it to be found. Keep your website, Google My Business, Yelp and other third-party sites updated with things like your contact info, hours of operation, location and menu.
However, that is just the basics. Dive even deeper—does your business accept American Express? Does your boutique sell clothing by local designers? Is your business a good place to take kids, pets or a date? The more you can put out there, the more questions you can answer. Creating a FAQ page is a great way to provide both typers and talkers with relevant information about your business.
Your mobile page load time matters. The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds, which is 52% faster than the average page, so you will have to keep up if you want to get noticed. Google also includes page speed as a ranking factor, so faster is always better. Check your site’s speed.
It is going to become more and more relevant—and necessary—to make it easy for customers to “talk” to your business. Instead of waiting for your competitors to catch up and outrun you, start working on optimizing your site now.
Need help optimizing your website for voice search?
If you are looking to create a sound voice search optimization strategy for your Santa Rosa business, call us to explore your options.