Do you use voice search to navigate the internet? If you own a smartphone or a smart home device these will have the ability to use voice search. Surveys suggest that very soon voice searches will be the go-to way to perform an internet search. If you are a business owner and you currently do not use voice search and have not optimised your website for voice search then you may be heading further down the results page. Voice search optimisation (SEO) will make your business more efficient and help to maintain your ranking. Typed searches are declining and companies like Google are future proofing their search engine by optimising it for voice searches.
The major difference between a voice search and a text search are that using voice search you can simply ask Google a question using normal words. Text searches are normally much more brief, using only keywords. Using voice search to ask simple questions such as “Where’s the best Italian restaurant near me?” is proving to be a more natural method and also makes for more successful hits.
If you want to maintain your place at the top of the website rankings then optimising your site for voice search is essential, keep reading for more information on the importance of voice search.
Where did Voice Search Begin?
Google were the first to introduce voice search as a means to retrieve information from the internet back in 2002. They introduced voice search on Apple’s iPhone in the form of Siri in 2011. Android smartphones and other android devices began using Google voice search in 2012. In the early days only english language searches could be done. Today, Google voice can be used in approximately 60 different languages around the world.
How Important is Voice Search Optimisation?
In 2018 voice search was one of the hottest topics in the SEO community. An article written by Wordstream predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches would be done via voice search. It was later revealed that these statistics were only drawn from a survey done in one country, China. Since then, further surveys around the world have revealed that approximately 70% of people spoken to have used voice search at some point. Experts are now predicting that voice search will be widely used for most internet searches in the future.
The popularity of voice assistants such as Siri and Amazons, Alexa are responsible for a large increase in voice searches. There is nothing to suggest that voice search is a passing phase, in fact, it only seems to be increasing in popularity. When time is of the essence, as it always seems to be with our busy schedules, voice search will be the go-to method as it is so much quicker than typing.
Voice Search Optimisation Guide
Typed and spoken searches return different results, this means that if you want to optimise your website for voice searches it will look very different than if you only optimise it for regular SEO. There is, however, a major concern when it comes to voice searches made on mobile phones. The search only returns one hit known as “position zero”. So naturally, every business will strive to take that one and only place. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help you achieve that.
It is firmly believed that by 2020 half of all internet searches will be made by voice. If your website is not optimised for voice you risk losing 50% of your potential customers.
Coming up are six factors you should consider implementing when optimising your website for voice search. You will need these to get your business in position zero.
1. Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are used by Google as an aide to provide users with an organic and concise answer to their search question. Essentially, the answer to the users question appears on the results page without having to click through to further pages. Featured snippets appear in a box filled with relevant content at the top of the SERPs. Featured snippets are relevant because around 30% of the 1.4 million queries tested by Google, have them. To rank high in voice search results you should optimise your website to make the most of featured snippets, without them you will not obtain position zero. You should always try to provide quality data which Google can present in the featured snippet.
2. User Intent
People using voice search are usually looking for a specific type of business. A users intent can normally be ascertained from how their voice search was worded, for example, “where is the nearest coffee shop?” or “where can I buy flowers?” or” how to make jam?”. User intent allows us to understand why a person used a particular search query.
However, this is not always the case and sometimes search questions are more ambiguous. In these instances Google makes use of an algorithm called Hummingbird. This algorithm delves deeper into the particular question that has been asked in order to provide an answer.
When creating content for your website you should consider what the likely questions asked will be to bring traffic to your site, this inturn will help you to produce relevant featured snippets and content.
3. Long-Tail Keywords and Questions
Most people when using voice search will ask a question as if they were actually talking to a person.As a result the questions usually contain a lot more words than a typed search.This is not always a negative thing as the use of long tailed keywords can be very useful when it comes to voice search optimisation and SEO.Once you know the likely questions that will be asked to get hits on your website, you can optimise it by the use of long tail keywords for the most used and then by taking advantage of putting further questions in H2 headers, these can be found in the body of your website.To maintain your position in featured snippets it is very important to keep your content relevant and updated on a regular basis.
4. Page Speed
For the past few years businesses have been told to make their websites mobile friendly, once this has been established the next most important thing is the time it takes for your page to load. Many studies are saying that to remain competitive your site needs to load up in no more than 3 seconds, any longer and you will not stay at the top of the list of answers Siri and Alexa are sharing in response to a voice search. Page speed optimisation is crucial, without it you will not feature in voice search results.
5. Structured Data
Structured data is the code which is added to HTML markup. According to John Mueller, (webmaster trend analyst at Google) structured data helps a web page rank better in the same way as regular content does. Structured data is a fantastic way to communicate what products are for sale, and where it is being sold from. Structured data makes it easy to communicate information about your products.
6. Local SEO
According to Bluehost 46% of searches on Google are of a local nature. This shows the importance of making the best use of local SEO. Moz defines local SEO as “A process for increasing search visibility for businesses that serve their communities face to face. These can be brick and mortar businesses with a physical location or service area businesses that operate throughout a certain geographic area”.
In most cases people making voice searches will be looking for a service or product in close proximity to their location at that time. It is therefore imperative to include your business location in your website optimisation, without it you will miss all of these searches for local businesses.
The simple way to optimise this is by registering your business on the Google My Business page.
What all of this tells us is that voice search is the future, people lead very busy lives and time is important. It is very easy to see that using voice search is much quicker than a text search and arguably, easier to get the result you want as you can tailor your questions to what you want. Can you afford as a business not to optimise your website for voice search?
To overlook this is limiting your revenue potential. If you would like to discuss how to successfully implement voice search SEO into your digital marketing strategy get in touch today on 0870 062 8760 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org