How To Improve Your Website for Voice Search
Voice search is going to do nothing but increase in the coming years. How often have you found yourself saying “Hey Siri” or “Alexa find me…”? That’s voice search. If you have any doubt about the importance of ranking for voice searches, check out my post “Voice Search and Why It Matters to your SEO Strategy“.
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So how can we tune up or optimize our websites so that Siri and Alexa, and ultimately our potential customers, can find us? Let’s start with the reminder that Google is looking for sites that deliver a better customer experience. Are you serving up what your potential customers are asking for? And is your website delivering that content quickly? Here are some tips to help you identify ways to improve your website’s visibility:
Make Sure Your Website Loads Quickly
Google likes speed! Google voice search will favor sites that load quickly. Make sure your site does the following:
- Works well on mobile devices (ie is responsive)
- Serves optimized images (ie don’t load large images!)
- Utilizes website caching
- Uses minimal plugins
Write The Way You Speak
A user is likely to speak a search phrase differently than they would typing one. Think about how you would search for the closest restaurant. When you type it you might write “restaurants close to me”. But when you say it, you’re more likely to say “Where are the restaurants near me that are open now?”
There are some great tools out there for helping you convert your keywords into questions. Check out Answer the Public for starters.
I typed in “optimize website”. Some of the questions that came back were:
- how can you optimize website
- how to optimize website for mobile
- how to optimize website loading speed
- how to optimize website images
So you can see that what we type is quite different from how we speak. Be conscious about how you write your content. Longer is generally better. Experts recommend page content to be between 1850 and 2500 words.
Rethink your content to flow better with voice search. Consider adding FAQ pages or blocks of content into every major section of your site to better deliver your message.
- Informational intent (guides, how-tos, etc.)
- Navigational intent (store locations, services, press releases, customer service info)
- Transactional intent (videos, product information, comparisons, product stories)
*Source: Search Engine Journal/Benu Aggarwal of Milestone Internet
Featured Blocks of Content or Snippets
Featured blocks of content or snippets are a great way for Google to identify content that we want to deliver to our potential readers. A featured snippet is basically a quick or summary answer from a web page. Google currently reads out featured snippets when answering voice search queries.
To optimize your content for an identifiable featured snippet, include a concise summary of your main content above the fold under 29 words. Sections that use H-tags, lists, and bullet points are easily readable by Google and thus perform well. Keep the following guidelines in mind when writing:
- Answer specific questions
- Answer questions concisely
- Write engaging and interesting copy
Another option is to utilize Schema or Structured Data Markup. This is a bit more technical so instead of me trying to explain it here, I’ll direct you to the expert, Neil Patel. He’s got a great article on using Schema.
Focus on Local Searches
Nearly a quarter of voice searches are looking for location-based content. This may not apply to your type of business but if it does, try adding phrases like “near me”.
Make sure that your Google My Business page is up to date. Review your content, hours of operation and location information. You might also put a bit of time into building your Google reviews. I know that’s helped to boost my local business inquiries quite a bit.
Voice search optimization is still on the rise so stay ahead of the curve on this one. Improving your voice search optimization will help to improve your brand awareness, online purchases and revenue. Do it now and you’ll be ahead of your competition and likely grow your brand long-term.
If you have any questions or thoughts, drop me a line in the comments below or shoot me an email. I’d love to hear from you.