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How to Properly Optimize your Website SEO for Voice Search

Voice search has been around for almost a decade and it has come a long way in that time. When Siri was first introduced in 2011 it was more novelty than useful. However, innovation has become a digital trend that does not appear to be slowing down. According to a recent report, there are 50 million installed smart speakers alone, which is in addition to smart assistants on mobile devices such as Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant. As a top web development company, we understand the impact voice search will have on search interactions. That is why we wanted to share our tips for how to Properly Optimize your Website SEO for voice search.

Is Voice Search the Future?

According to recent data, voice search is trending towards being the future and much of that has to do with advances in voice recognition AI. As of May 2017, Google’s machine learning-backed voice recognition has achieved a 95% accuracy rate for standard English. As accuracy increases, more users will become comfortable using voice assistants for search.

Currently, many voice assistants are used for basic commands, such as launching an app to complete a task like making a phone call. However, looking at the business landscape it is very apparent that Google and other industry leaders are expecting voice search to increase in usage. Many large testing and auditing groups have already begun large scale reviews of voice search input versus results to clarify user intent and find what content will meet the needs of most users based on input.

The main reason voice search is the future of search interactions is ease-of-use. According to Google Insights, these are the top reasons people use voice-activated speakers:

  • Allows for multitasking
  • Instant access to information and answers
  • Faster interactions
  • Increases day-to-day efficiency

Website SEO Optimization Tips for Voice Search

Taking the time to focus on website SEO optimization for voice search now rather than later will allow marketers to get the most out of this emerging technology. Voice search is already increasing in use with mobile devices with people on the go looking for specific information about businesses such as hours or location. That is why businesses should include voice search queries as part of their overall SEO optimization plan.

  • Expand the keywords used for SEO – People type differently than they speak which is an important distinction when it comes to SEO. Voice search tends to ask questions or make more complete statements as people speak to a voice assistants like they would a person. Therefore, keywords for SEO purposes should include long-tail phrases and variations to better align with the search input. A fantastic resource is Answer the Public, which is a website that will convert search terms into commonly asked questions for those terms based on advanced data analysis. This is especially useful for FAQs pages.
  • Create a FAQ page – Building off the prior point, voice search commonly involves people asking their device a question. The search algorithm is going to then look for the best answer to that question. In some cases, the questions will be a simple know query for something like the current temperature or the score of a baseball game. In other cases, the answer will be more specific and will require a more detailed answer. FAQ pages are the perfect place for those detailed answers that also includes the natural phrasing of the question. FAQ pages should use a conversational tone as if two people are speaking. Answers should be limited to about 30 words and use the active voice along with common terms. Ideally, a high-school level of writing is appropriate to meet the needs of most users.
  • Google Business listing – A business should always claim their Google Business listing and then ensure it stays current and optimized. Voice search on the local level, such as from a mobile user, is often used to find basic information which the listing provides. The GBL should have important key details, current photos, website links, menus, etc. and should always be updated when any business aspects change.
  • Develop content for voice search – Take the time to integrate content that provides answers to common and important questions at various points in the customer journey. This will ensure that your business is in a position to provide information via voice search at any stage the customer needs you. Along with FAQ pages, content such as guides, how-to articles, product information, product comparisons, and press releases should be integrated into the site structure.
  • Site speed – Testing has indicated that voice search results load faster than average pages. This would indicate that a premium is placed on providing mobile users with faster results based on their mobility and needs. In addition to helping with SEO efforts, improving site speed provides a better user experience. Optimizing images, leveraging browser caching, using Accelerated Mobile Pages, improving server time, and other speed optimization techniques should be enacted because page speed is a mobile ranking factor.
  • Build Skills or Actions – Smart assistants can interact with your content or app if you create Actions (Google) or custom Skills (Alexa). For example, The Tonight Show created a skill so people can ask, “Alexa, open The Tonight Show.” Smaller businesses such as regional radio programs have done the same. By creating new actions or skills related to your brand or industry, it will be easier for people to access and interact with your products or services.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that voice search is going to be used more often and it is important to not only understand how to properly optimize your website SEO for voice search but also to start immediately. As the market becomes more competitive, it is important to stay ahead of the curve and develop a niche first rather than having to battle other businesses for the niche they have already established.


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