“Hey Google, what’s a place nearby where I can grab food right now?”
Almost immediately I can hear my Google Assistant respond with “La Margarita located at 1043 Virginia Ave is open until 10 pm.” Mexican food it is. And now I have one less decision to make tonight. Thanks, Google!
Voice search is becoming increasingly popular as people are ditching the traditional method of typing, skimming, and searching for their answers in exchange for instant access to information that requires little more than a wisp of breath. Tell your device what you want to know, and have a (usually) accurate answer spoken back in a matter of seconds.
Is it perfect? No. But that hasn’t stopped the feature from becoming overwhelmingly popular. And let’s be real, it’s really freaking cool to talk to your phone like you’re interacting with the computer from Star Trek.
I’m a Google Assistant junkie – I’ll own up to it. I have a Google Home in every single room, and I use them for everything from tracking my shopping list to reminding me of things that I need to remember when I get to a specific location. Who needs a calculator when you can just speak the equation into the air and the universe responds with the correct value?
Nearly half of all web searches are being done by voice. This should make local business owners really excited because you have a new opportunity to position your business in front of potential customers searching for the EXACT products and services that you offer. A few tweaks can go a long way in increasing the visibility and performance of your website. Who doesn’t need improved traffic flows? All it takes is a little planning and some well-constructed content to optimize your website for voice search. If you can beat your competitors to the punch, there is a lot of ground to be gained.
5 steps to optimizing your site for voice search:
1. Schema markup
Schema markup, alternatively known as “structured data”, allows search engines to arrange, evaluate and understand the information that your website contains. The key to being highly ranked in voice searches is having appropriate and popular metadata that lets search engines know what your content is about and how it relates to individual searches.
Schema markup is a method of search engine indexing that is invaluable to the effective organization of data. Search engines will cross reference their interpretation of voice searches with your schema markup to rank your site accurately. An abundance of detailed metadata will allow your content to get seen by more people.
In short, make sure the data you’re putting on the page is clearly relevant to the topic, and feed that data to the search engines using schema markup to put your site in the running for voice search traffic.
Most people conduct voice searches using their phone or tablet. To optimize your site for voice search, you need to make sure it works really well on mobile. There are several elements to proper mobile optimization, but the most important is that the layout of your content needs to be precise and well-planned for smaller screens, and your user experience should be as streamlined as possible.
Ranking highly for mobile searches and for voice searches goes hand-in-hand. Commit appropriate resources for the development of your mobile experience and your voice search ranking will also improve. A website that works well on all platforms will be deemed more valuable and ranked higher than one that doesn’t.
The security of your site should always be a consideration. Search engines and visitors alike will appreciate visible security measures. One of the most obvious ways visitors will judge your site will be on the presence of the little green padlock to the left of your URL that indicates that you use HTTPS. Websites that still use HTTP are suffering in search engine rankings for not encrypting information sent and received by default. When SSL certificates can be obtained for free, there is absolutely no good reason for your site to be insecure.
Additionally, strict password management and account protocols will protect your site from internal and external threats and improve your chances of being highly regarded by search engines. Voice search optimization is helped tremendously by better security practices, so they should always be a priority for your organization.
Many voice searches come in the form of questions. Take a moment to think about the questions that your customers ask you on a regular basis. If you can predict the most likely searches relating to your business, you can make your site the best place to find the answers – even when people are searching for your competitors.
FAQs and questionnaires are both fantastic ways to supply a wealth of information in a manner that greatly appeals to voice searches. Perfectly formed answers to a common question will appear at the top of the results as a “snippet.” Format your content in a way that lends itself to being used as snippets so that your site is propelled into the most prominent position available. There are even specific schema markup strategies you can use to increase the chance of your site content being used.
5. Content Quality
Your website content needs to appeal to the more informal nature of voice searches. The vocabulary used in voice searches is often more natural, and the highest ranked results are more conversational in tone. Write your website content as if you were responding personally to the questions that might be asked. Provide accurate information, but deliver it in a way that is easy for the reader to digest. Write with clarity and avoid using jargon
Phrases and short sentences are used more by voice search users than by traditional desktop searchers who opt for more single-word queries. Write your content with the informal, almost casual, syntax of a voice search user in mind, and you’ll perform better in the rankings.
Optimizing your site for voice search is a process that all businesses with an online presence should undertake in order to maximize their potential reach. A site well-optimized for voice searches will perform better than non-optimized rivals in one of the fastest-growing segments of the search market. As mobile and voice searches increase in popularity, it’s more important than ever that as many people as possible see your site to ensure you’re fulfilling your potential.
If you’re not sure of where to start, or you want to discuss the strategy for implementing voice search on your website, drop me a note below. I’ll be more than happy to have a quick chat and answer any questions you might have.