There is an ongoing seismic shift in how people conduct online queries using search engines. According to Google, by 2020 at least 50 percent of all Google search engine queries will be voice-based. With a change in search patterns comes a change in SEO strategy. If you own a website, it is in your best interest to know how to optimize it for voice search.
If users are increasingly switching to voice search to gain information, it is only logical to optimize your website for it. But first of all, what is voice search and how can you optimize your website for it? This article is going to give a brief guide to voice search and the digital marketing strategies website owners and businesses can utilize for voice search optimization to build a stronger online presence.
What is Voice Search?
In the simplest sense, a voice search is a tool that enables internet users to access search engines via spoken voice commands as opposed to typing out the intended search query. This function is available on nearly every recent internet-accessible device, whether on mobile devices or desktop computers.
With the advent of virtual assistants, from Apple’s Siri to Microsoft’s Cortana to Amazon’s Alexa and of course Google Assistant, using voice search is not just easier, it is more convenient. You do not have to be a tech-savvy Generation Z or Millennial to know how to use it.
Users just need to activate the voice command system and speak their queries to the device. The search engine will then return with the relevant search results. Beyond the method of search input, there is little to no difference between the search results of a voice-based search query and text-based one.
How to Optimize a Website for Google Voice Search
Considering the rapid change in modern technology, website owners will have to implement new tactics and advance with technology if they want to remain relevant in the online space. With that said, let’s look at the measures you can take to ensure that your website is optimized for voice search in 2019.
1. Use Long-tail Keywords in Your Content
The main difference between voice and text-based query lies in the manner users input their queries. Normally, people tend to be more conversational when they talk as opposed to when they are typing on a device. This pattern is similar to how people frame their queries.
When typing, users tend to use shorter and more specific keywords. Conversely, voice queries are often more conversational and in natural language. For instance, let’s say a user wants to find a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan. A text query would look like this;
“Chinese restaurants in Manhattan”
In a natural setting, no one talks like this. A voice search query, on the other hand, will be more like this;
“Which restaurants in Manhattan have Chinese food?”
This falls more in line with natural speech. Thus, website owners need to optimize their web content by implementing longer SEO keywords to make it more suitable for voice searches. It is pertinent to note that keywords are often phrased as questions in voice search. What does this mean for you? It means you can try to incorporate trigger words like who, when, what, top, best, tricks, etc. in your content.
2. Optimize Your Website for Localized Queries
It is also important to optimize your website for your local area as people generally tend to use voice search to find information within a localized area. For example, a user may say;
“What is the best restaurant near me?”
In this case, Google will automatically track the user’s location and return with relevant search results for nearby places. Optimizing your website for such localized queries gives you an edge over your competition in the quest for more visibility on search engines. As part of optimizing your website for localized queries, it is recommended that you share contact information about your business.
This information includes a phone number or physical address on the website. A map displaying the location of your business can be very useful too. Whenever Google recognizes “near me” in search queries, Google instantly goes to its Google business listings to review suggestions. Developing a “Google My Business” and updating your local listing can also help with ranking your site with Google in the local search world.
3. Develop a Responsive Website with a Mobile-Friendly Design
It’s 2019 and smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices are used on the go. As such, it means that a lot of these voice search queries are generated from such devices. Thus it is pertinent that your website is compatible with modern mobile technologies.
In optimizing your website design for a mobile interface, improving page speed is one of the ways you can create a responsive website. On average, a voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds. Websites with faster page speeds are more likely to top Google search results than slower ones.
Design-wise, the content on your website must incorporate simpler words in shorter sentences with bold subheadings. This improves “scanability” as a lot of users tend to scan through websites to find relevant information. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool can help you assess how responsive your website is by generating a detailed report demonstrating the specific areas that require improvement.
4. Create an FAQ Page for Your Website
An FAQ page will help you identify more long-tail keywords about your content. This is because frequently asked questions can offer meaningful content to users visiting your website. To create an FAQ page, you need to first determine the common questions regarding your area of interest. For example, if you are a skincare expert and your business/website is focused on health and beauty products, frequently asked questions may include;
“How do I get rid of pimples?’
“What type of moisturizer is suitable for dry skin?”
These questions can help you find new long-tail keywords that you can optimize to create valuable content for your website. This will, in turn, improve your search engine rankings. When creating the FAQ page, consider doing a couple of important things. First, you should rephrase the questions in the first person. Then write short and comprehensive answers making them as conversational as you can.
Google voice search and virtual assistants are well on the way to changing the traditional digital marketing strategy. As a website owner, it is of utmost importance that you optimize your website for voice search and harness the potential in this new tool. Understanding the concept of voice search will help drive you towards meeting your marketing goals in a digital landscape defined by voice initiated queries.