Ten years ago, you might sound weird if you were caught talking to a cell phone or any smart speaker.
However, nowadays, it’s hard to not hear someone asking their virtual assistant for information or complete a task for them.
Some people believe we are in the midst voice search revolution. If this sound strange to you, take a look at these stats:
72% of home assistant owners prefer to use voice assistants to conduct their searches online. (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
41% of adults use voice search daily. (Google)
20% of all Google mobile queries are voice searches (Google).
50% of searches will be done voice by 2020. (Comscore)
These statistics mean the way people search is changing. Due to this change, businesses must adapt their website optimization strategies to capture more customers.
What is Voice Search?
While voice search seems like a brand new concept, this technology has been there for many years. Intelligent personal assistants, speech to text, and voice dialing are great examples.
Voice search is basically an audio technology that recognizes what users are saying with extreme precision. Then, it presents relevant answers
The users speak into a mobile phone, computer, or a voice-activated device instead of manually typing keywords into a search query to generate results.
Voice search is shaping the customer experience and will have a direct impact on all type of businesses.
Unlike the classical web search, where a huge amount of results are displayed, the voice search will provide the best answer.
Many marketers see the trend, but they’re not doing anything about it.
So you have a great opportunity to get ahead of the curve.
How Hummingbird Update Led to Voice Search.
In 2013, Google made a major algorithmic update- The Google Hummingbird. Since then, Google started asserting natural language processing and considering the users intent and the context of their queries.
If you used Google during the early days, you will remember how hard ti was to find information, especially if you lack some knowledge related to what you’re looking for.
Hummingbird solved this problem by focusing on synonyms and theme-related topics.
This major change in Google’s algorithms made a huge impact on Google search technology and could be seen as a step toward the inevitable rise of voice search.
As time goes by, Google learned the user’s language, context, accent, and other patterns in the way they speak.
Google is smarter than it was before and relies on many factors besides keywords to deliver the best results to its users. Also, it focuses on semantics research and understands better what users are looking for.
After all, the aim of SEO is to ranks websites that deliver the most accurate information as fast as possible.
So marketers have to refine their marketing strategies. They went from stuffing keywords in articles to addressing the pain points of their target audience.
Not only optimizing your website for voice search will help gain more targeted traffic, but also helps users benefit from your products and services
The growing popularity of voice doesn’t mean the complete disappearance of text-based commands, it simply means as a marketer you need to be prepared for this major change.
By implementing the latest digital marketing strategies you will gain a massive advantage than your competitors.
So let’s dig deeper on how to leverage voice search.
Make Your Website Load Faster.
Page loading speed has been a key ranking factor for some time now, and it’s going matter even more in the future. This element also influences whether your page will show up in the voice search results or not.
Voice search users are looking for the best information as quickly as possible. This type of users is in a hurry- after all. To meet your audience need for speed and reach those searchers, make sure your pages don’t take much time to load.
According to Backlinko” The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds, which is 52% faster than the average page.
How to Make Your Page Load Faster:
Go for PageSpeed Insights. This is a great tool to analyze your overall website speed. It tells the current load speed and gives a suggestion for how to make it even more faster.
Here are a few tips to make your web page load faster.
- Compress images.
- Remove pop-ups
- Go for a reliable hosting plan.
- Install a content delivery network.
Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly.
Since Google has released its Mobile-First Indexing, mobile-friendliness become a huge ranking factor for any website.
It simply means that the mobile version of your website is the starting point for what Google includes in its index. It also means Google’ way of serving up more relevant results for mobile users.
In addition, Google has found that 20% of mobile queries are voice search. This number is more likely to grow since people are increasingly using mobile devices such as SmartPhone or Tablet to search the web.
This means a big share of potential customers prefers to use mobile devices to browse the web. If your website loads slowly and looks terrible on any mobile device, people will absolutely bounce.
Fortunately, Google has a great free tool to test your site for mobile-friendliness.
Just enter your website URL in the barre and this tool will give a full report so you know what should make to make your website more mobile-friendly.
Here are a few basics to achieve proper mobile friendless.
- Install a responsive them
- Eliminate flash
- Make your button size big enough to work on mobile.
- Perform regularly mobile testing.
- Simplify your menu
Create an FAQ Page for Your Website
Whenever voice searchers are looking for information, they typically start their phrases with What, How, Who, Where and When. Always remember they’re looking for something specific and immediate answer.
One of the best ways to answers these queries is to create a FAQ page. Then provide the answers in a conversational manner that appeals to voice search.
To create a FAQ page, you need first to come up with the most common questions your target audience are likely to ask.
Let’s say for example you’re in the skincare niche and your website is focused on beauty products.
One of the most asked questions could be
How to get rid of blackheads?
What is the best moisturizer for oily skin?
Consider to come up with 10-15 questions around your business, then build an informational page that answers those questions.
While comping up with questions and answering seems a daunting task, it will help your website show up in voice search results.
Target Long-Tail Keywords.
Voice search keywords are different from the traditional search terms you might look for.
Generally, when we use any search engine to find information, we tend to type choppy keywords and short phrases.
However, when searching for information via voice assistant, people act if they’re talking to a live person. In short, voice searches tend to be more conversational.
For examples, when using traditional search, you might type” bar in Seattle” on computer or mobile device. However, when using voice search, the query might be” What are some the best bar in Seattle”.
To optimize your website for voice search try include long-tail keywords in your content.
Building your content around those long-tail keywords not only it’s a good practice for voice search, but it will also bring more targeted traffic to your website.
In addition, queries that contain more than 3 words have less competition and higher chance to rank at the top.
These practically work the same way.
Simple put the keyword related to your content in the bar and click on search. Now, you will be shown how your target audience searches for that topic.
Use Schema Markup.
Creating relevant content around long-tail keywords is a great way to optimize your website for voice search.
Another way to help search engines understand and categorize your site content is through structured data.
Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds.
Here is an example :
Structured data or schema markup language is simply a micro-data this added to a web page, which in turn helps the search engines clue on the meaning of a given web page.
While structured data is not a ranking factor yet, it helps to classify and organize your content.
Also, it gives you a big chance to appear in featured snippets and voice search results.
For example, If a user is looking for information on how to make cookies, he may type something like “ cookie recipe”. Then, the following results will show up.
As you can see, Google display results with pictures, ingredients, calories, cooking steps, because the structured data is used to highlight that information from content on that website.
If you add the data correctly and produce relevant content, your pages will appear in featured snippet and voice search results.
Adding structured data to your website can be a long process if you implement hand-coding. It all depends on the system you use on your website and amount of control you want over the process.
Using structured data is more important for local businesses because people often search for contact names, phone number, working hours…etc.
If you include all the important elements of your business, you guarantee yourself better ranking, more conversions, and maximum visibility.
Get Featured on Snippets.
If you don’t know yet what featured snippets are, you are certainly know how they look like. Google has increased the number of featured snippets since 2014. Featured snippets are simply the answer boxes that appear at the top of SERP.
They provide fast and accurate answers so the users don’t have to go through all the SERPs to find what they’re looking for.
If you optimize your best-performing pages for featured snippets not only the voice assistant will pull the answers from there, but also bring quality traffic to your website and beat your competitors.
Since most searches are done via voice command, voice assistants will provide the best answer from the top results.
To make your results show up at the top, your website content must answer all the common questions regarding your niche in a concise manner.
Here are a few tips you can use to increase your chance of ranking as a featured snippet:
- Use SEMrush to find competitors’ snippets.
- Compete with current snippets headers
- Use analytics to spot the keywords that users are searching to find your site.
- Center your content around a question your target audience is asking.
You will see an increasing number of voice searches in the coming years. While it requires some work to make your website optimized for this trend it is a must if you want to stay ahead of the competition.
I hope these tools and tips position you and your business as a leader in your niche.