Between Apple’s Siri, Google’s voice search, and Microsoft’s Cortana, voice search is becoming an increasingly popular method of search. In fact, Google reported that 20% of searches on mobile devices are done by voice. By 2020, it’s projected that more than half of mobile searches will be done this way. Because voice search is becoming so popular, it’s important to make sure your site is properly optimized for this unique method of search. Voice search doesn’t mean the end of SEO, it just means we need to develop new strategies to properly optimize websites for different forms of search. Here are some of the top things to consider to optimize websites for voice search.
Semantic search is on the rise, especially on Google. What is semantic search? Well, simply put, it means that Google is getting smarter. Instead of matching keywords from a search to the exact same keywords on a web page, Google can now understand the meaning behind searches and web pages. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to produce high quality content that does a good job of explaining what your page is about. Instead of focusing on specific key words, include as many words possible that help Google understand what your page is about. Because voice search focuses on answering questions and responding to commands, it will pull data from site that it can understand well.
Although Google is getting smarter, you shouldn’t completely discount keywords. Instead, focus on long-tail keywords. When people use voice search, they speak a question or command into their device. People don’t pick up their phone and say “pizza,” they’ll say, “OK Google, find a pizza place still open near me.” For this reason, it’s important to include long tail keywords that have a good chance of matching what searches speak into their voice searches.
Almost all voice searches are executed via mobile devices. Therefore, it’s important to optimize your site for mobile devices. Click here for free tips to make your site mobile-friendly! Your site should be easy to read and formatted to be scannable. A common tip is to “think in thumbs,” meaning that content should be properly spaced so that it does not seem crowded or confusing when a user scrolls with their thumbs. The site should also load quickly, as users are less likely to wait for a mobile site to load. Consider using AMP (accelerated mobile pages), which are specially designed mobile pages that load quickly. AMP’s will improve your mobile Google search rankings.
Voice searches are often locally focused. Therefore it’s important that your site is properly optimized for local search. The address of your business and other information about your page should be accurate and easily accessible. References to nearby locations and directions to your location will improve your local search rankings as well, as Google will be able to relate your location to other locations.
Keywords in voice search are slightly different than keywords for traditional search. Your keywords should be long tail keywords that mimic the way people actually speak. You should incorporate “how” and “why” questions that customers are likely to ask. Voice search often makes use of rich answers, which are pieces of content from websites used by Google to answer searchers’ questions. These rich answers amplify the need to incorporate questions and clear answers into your content for voice search optimization.
Incorporating a page with frequently asked questions is a great way to optimize your site for voice search. Because clear answers to questions are so important to voice search, including an individual page to address each possible question will greatly improve your voice search rankings. Incorporating SEO keyword phrases into your FAQ page will further improve your search rankings and properly optimize your site for voice search.
Microdata is especially important to voice search. It’s important to include as much microdata as possible such as your address, phone number, business hours, prices, directions, and anything else that is relevant to specific questions a searcher might ask. It is equally important to ensure that all of this information is accurate, so that searchers can contact and visit your business. This microdata is more important to voice search than other types of search because searchers are more likely to ask questions requiring specific answers of this nature.
ImageWorks, LLC | CT Search Engine Optimization
It’s important to optimize your site for voice search, but it’s best to have a site fully optimized for every type of search. If this task seems too daunting, don’t be afraid to call in the experts!
While professional SEO services can offer many opportunities to your business, you should never depend on SEO alone for the growth of your business. The companies that thrive on the online world have a comprehensive approach and utilize both online and offline marketing strategies. SEO can be a big piece; however, it is only one slice of the marketing pie.
By integrating all of today's Web tools such as SEO, social media, pay per click, and blogs, ImageWorks, LLC can turn your site into a lead generation tool.