— August 28, 2019
“OK, Google. What is the weather like today?”
Voice search is an innovative technology that many people are using to simplify their online searches using just their voice and their smart device. Although invented in the early 1950s, the concept of voice search has seen a significant increase in popularity over the last five years. With the sales of home voice assistants on the rise, voice search is eventually going to dominate search engine optimization.
Optimizing Your Website for Voice Search
Voice assistants, including Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri, are embedded into nearly every smart device. With this significant digital trend comes an adjustment to content on websites all over the world. Because of the growing use of voice search, businesses need to stay up-to-date and ensure their site has voice search capabilities. Without these capabilities, businesses will lose a vast audience when trying to reach new customers. When speaking to a voice assistant versus typing on a computer or phone, an individual is going to ask Google their questions in a different manner, using different phrases. Let’s look at some ways you can adjust your keywords and phrases to be compatible for voice search.
Use Conversational Language & Long-tail Keywords
Think about your typical voice search. Instead of typing “best spa in Erie, PA,” into Google, someone using voice search might ask, “what is the best spa near me?” Because voice search is conversational, it’s essential to implement keywords that reflect that to enhance your business’ chance of ranking for a voice search result.
When choosing keywords to fit your business, you need to know the keyword trends surrounding your specific industry. One way to do this is by using the keyword tool in Google Analytics. After identifying those shorter keywords, find ways to turn them into phrases or questions without actually changing the order of the words. For example, instead of focusing on the keywords “web development,” expand this idea by exploring questions and phrases surrounding that idea (i.e., “what is the best web development company in Erie, PA?”). This way, not only are you getting all of the search results for “web development,” but you are also generating results in your specific location. Keyword phrases are ideal because when using voice search, consumers are more likely to say a whole sentence rather than a small phrase typically used when typing.
Ever conduct a Google search and have a result snippet appear? Google tends to favor information in a bulleted or numbered format on sites, causing them to be the most recognized in featured snippets. For voice search, voice assistants generally read featured snippets to the user as a response to their question. Take a look at this example for “how do you make a pumpkin pie?”
Although there is no definitive way to attain a featured snippet spot, there are best practices that you should follow. First, include schema markup on your website to assist search engines in providing relevant information for users. The more relevant the information on your website is to a search, the more opportunities your site will have to be featured in a snippet. Also, the information on your website should be clear and concise. Because Google features the best, most relevant answer to a search, your website’s information must be understood easily by consumers.
In addition to incorporating schema markup throughout your site, there are other factors such as page authority and engagement that can contribute significantly to reaching the top spot. The higher your website organically ranks in search engines, the better the chance your page may appear as a featured snippet.
Focus on Local SEO
Approximately 40% of all Google searches are conducted with local intent. Claiming a Google My Business listing for your business will direct these user searches to your business and ultimately increase your chances of ranking for voice search. In addition to claiming a GMB listing, it is essential to also use location-specific language throughout your site’s most influential aspects, such as main headings, meta-descriptions, and browser titles.
Stay Relevant in 2019
The rapid growth of voice search means that optimizing your website is vital for keeping your online presence relevant in 2019. Consumers are consistently relying on voice search as it allows them to multitask, get answers and information quickly, and overall, makes life easier. Optimizing your website now will allow you to stay ahead of the competition, and may result in increased brand traffic and growth for the future.