How to optimize for voice search
Believe it or not, voice search optimization idea has existed for many years now. But what was missing then were the availability of devices with built-in personal assistant technology we now have needed to tap into the capabilities of voice search SEO.
But now that we have the technology of smart mobile devices with built-in personal assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana, it is important to start thinking of voice search optimization and write content with voice SEO in mind if you want your website to be listed above your competition in the voice search based search results, and your business to survive.
Voice search is the Future of SEO
Say it with me...
The future of SEO is Voice Search and Personal Assistants.
According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
Personal digital assistants adoption is becoming strong and are evolving to better understand users' behavior and intent.
Because your customers are always on the go, using voice search (built as a software application) feature on their smart device has become more convenient than typing.
That is why you should've implemented a voice search optimization (VSO), or SEO for voice search campaign yesterday so you get ahead of your competition, and attract more local customers in need of your product or services, today and tomorrow.
- According to Voice Labs, there were 33 million voice-first devices being used in 2017 (Download the 2017 voice search report).
- Top SEO experts have put voice search in the third place, after 'optimizing for mobile', 'quality content' in their top 3 SEO trends for 2017 and beyond.
- Sundar Pichai (Google CEO) announced that 1/5 (20%) of queries performed on Google are voice searches.
You might think that only teenagers know how to use voice search, but according to Thrive Analytics, people of all age groups use personal assistants feature found on their mobile device.
It is important to note that voice search will only display 3 voice search results - thus, you have to make sure your website or business is listed first in voice searches, and not last.
WHAT IS VOICE SEARCH?
Voice search is the process of searching for products (using a speech recognition technology), information, and services by speaking into your mobile device, then the device will present you with the search results based on your voice query.
Definition of 'Google Voice Search' by Wikipedia
"Google Voice Search or Search by Voice is a Google product that allows users to use Google Search by speaking on a mobile phone or computer, i.e. have the device search for data upon entering information on what to search into the device by speaking."
DID YOU KNOW
- 1/5 of search queries performed on Google were voice searches
- According to a BrighLocal Study done recently, 58% of voice search have been performed for local search in the last 12 months
- Over 1 Billion of voice searches (voice-enabled digital assistants) were made just in January 2018 according to Alpine.AI (2018)
- By 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be done by voice
Tomorrow, the competition will be fierce, therefore, if you want to get ahead of your competition, if you haven't already done so, you must start optimizing your website for voice search NOW!
Need help optimizing your page(s) for voice search? We can help!
Implementing a voice search optimization campaign
In order to implement a voice search optimization campaign, you first need to get into your prospects' mindset, and then offer content based on your potential customers search query.
Voice search optimization as more focuses on answering someone's question than on keyword. Also, because voice search is mostly performed via a mobile device, it is imperative that you optimize your website for speed.
For your website to be listed above your competitors' in a voice search, it is important that:
- Your copy answer a specific question
- Your answer is relevant to the question and is concise
- Make sure that your content is engaging and interesting
Voice search is the future of SEO
Google saw that understanding users intent and LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) based queries as an important aspect of delivering relevant content to its customers (you, me and billions of other users).
SEOs had to jump in and refine their SEO strategy if they wanted to keep that top position in Google search results.
Today, instead of stuffing your page with keywords, search engine optimization professionals started to focus on improving user experience with contextual relevance by focusing on optimizing their page using question phrases with their answers
Please note that Voice search doesn't always return a direct answer (depending on the question asked) to your query. Sometimes, voice search will display a snippet of a page that contains the information you are looking for.
How to optimize for voice search?
Can't afford to pay for a professional to optimize your website for voice search?
Here are steps to optimize for voice engine optimization (VEO), or voice search:
Speed Up Your Website
You might think that voice SEO and website speed don't go hand in hand. Think again!
Here's a scenario for you.
You are visiting a city and looking for a place to eat but only have about an hour to yourself before you need to get back to an important meeting
Using your mobile device, you perform a voice search for the best place to eat in town.
A second later, you are presented with possibly 3 voice search results
Because of the limited free time you have, you want to view the menu before visiting any restaurant or sandwich shop.
Now, what would you do if the restaurant web page takes forever to load?
If you are like me, you would had the 'back' bottom and go to the next one.
But remember, you don't have a lot of time on your hand.
If you were the owner of that restaurant and want to attract more customers, you have to make sure you website or web page loads fast, because if not, there goes your customer(s).
Plus, Google officially announced it is rolling out a speed update to make page speed a ranking factor for mobile device search.
If your web page is taking 4 or more seconds to load, and not under 3 seconds, then you might miss on voice search opportunities.
Optimize your business listings
Another step you can take to optimize for voice search is to make sure your business is listed accurately and consistently in Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Page, Angie's list, and so on.
Your business name, address and phone number (NAP) in your business listings have to match exactly the NAP on your website.
Businesses are loosing over $10 billion of sales each year due to missing or inaccurate information on their business listings.
Answer customers questions
Mobile users are engaging with their built-in search assistants just like they converse with their fellow friends, and in order to optimize for voice SEO, you must include natural questions a customer would ask, and then provide the answer matching their voice search query.
For example, if you are a small business owner looking for an affordable local SEO company to optimize your local business for local search, you might be asking your digital voice assistant something like:
"Who is the best search engine optimization company in New York?"
Or if you speak SEO, then you might ask...
"where can I find affordable SEO services near me"
The voice search results will mostly be based on your location (where you are at the time of your search query).
One of the best way of proving answers to your potential customers is by creating a page (i.e.: FAQ page) where you have all the questions and answers consumers might ask about your services or products.
When setting up your FAQ page, keep in mind the following:
- Avoid using technical jargon in your answer only you can understand
- Write your answers in a way even 8 or 9 graders can read and understand
- Make sure you keep your FAQ page fresh with regular updates
- Check your Google reviews, and questions posted on social media sites including Quora to get question ideas
- Visit your Google My Business regularly and answer any questions you see
Last but not least, test your voice search optimization using search assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and Google assistant if possible.
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