Voice search is not merely a fad, so if it is not included as part of your 2019 SEO strategy yet, then you need to get it incorporated right away.
In 2017, 33 million voice search devices were in use, and there were 40% of adults who used them daily. Compared to when it was first launched in 2008, in 2016 the Google voice search tool saw a 35 times increase in search queries.
Now with Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri, anyone with a smartphone can ask their phones questions. It has also extended into the home with systems like Google Home and Amazon Echo being used in homes all over the world.
It is predicted by ComScore that by 2020, half of all searches will be done via voice, while 30% of searches will occur without a screen being used.
In this article, we will be taking a close look at four ways that your website can be optimized to help you rank high for voice searches.
1. Take Aim At Featured Snippets
Currently, Google Assistant and Google Home read featured snippets out loud when answering voice search queries. Therefore, it makes sense to take aim for that elusive “position zero.”
Although there are no definitive answers on how to gain this top spot, extensive research has been conducted to try to figure out how to achieve this. As a set of guidelines, the following works fairly well, and it is worth keeping them in mind when your content is being created:
Answer Specific Questions: Answer the Public can be used to find common questions that relate to your subject, and then that can be used to help write your copy. The question should be included in an H2 header, and then directly below answer it within the body text.
Answer Questions Concisely: Avoid using lots of jargon that won’t be understood by many people. Google’s goal is to have the best answer featured, so make sure you offer an easily digestible and clear on. Answers that are in list form appear in featured snippets quite often.
Write Interesting and Engaging Copy: 99.5% of all featured snippets are from pages ranking in the top 10. So, you should already ensure that your page is well-optimized. External and internal links should be strong, your metadata should be optimized, and your content needs to be engaging.
Keep in mind that voice search queries are a lot more conversational compared to written ones. This should be reflected in the tone of voice you use, to help you rise in the ranking.
2. Optimize Your Local SEO
39% of all voice search users are searching for business information. Therefore, it is more important than ever to optimize your local SEO.
Make sure your Google My Business Page is current, with the right contact details, address, and business hours listed.
If a user asks, “Where is the closest hairdresser,” you want to make sure that you show up in the first position (assuming you are a hairdresser).
Also, if a user asks what time your store closes, you want to ensure that they are provided with the right information. You don’t want them to be misinformed and miss out on any sales.
Other ways that you can optimize your SEO include using structured data markup and building up your online reviews.
3. Improve Your Website Speed
Voice search is used on mobile almost exclusive, so, of course, you need to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile. If it isn’t, users will bounce off, and that can hurt your rankings. Web pages that take five seconds or longer to load are 90% more likely to get bounce backs when compared to pages that load in one second.
According to Google, bounce rates are 9.56% higher on mobile compared to desktop computers. Mobile users – and those who use voice search especially – most likely are on-the-go, so they don’t have a lot of time to hang around.
If you aren’t sure if our mobile website is up to par, you can try out the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out if your site is considered to be acceptable.
You can then check out the Google PageSpeed Insights. It will provide you with recommendations on how to make your mobile website faster.
4. Get Insider Searchers’ Minds
Google has stated that it is considering having voice search data included in the Search Console. The idea is that those searches would be separated from the keyboard queries, similar to how mobile and desktop search data are separated currently.
The problem with it – and why Google has not implemented sooner – is due to the fact that voice searchers are the longer tail search queries naturally, due to the fact that speaking out loud has a strong conversational nature to it. Therefore, the volume on each query will be low so that the Search Console automatically excludes them.
There have not been any deadlines or specific announcements made for it, however, it is definitely something to watch for. After it has been launched, you will have the ability to know which of the specific voice search queries are sending the most traffic to your web pages, which will allow you to optimize your website further and increase your rankings.
In 2019, discounting the power that voice search provides is simply something you cannot afford to do. The market is poised to explore, and if you don’t begin optimising your website now, then over the long term you will be missing out on tons of traffic.