What is Voice Search?
Rather than typing, users search online by using their voice to speak their search query on their smartphone or smart speaker. It gives them the freedom to speak naturally to find the products and services they need hands-free.
Voice search has a lot of advantages, especially in today’s digital age. Understanding this technology can really give you a competitive edge. This holds especially true when it comes to making sure your content appears at the top of searches. When done right, your website can obtain more traffic and leads, which ultimately can lead to higher conversion rates.
Upgrade Your Website
Your website needs to provide relevant information from the moment a user lands on it. Since we use mobile devices now more than desktop computers, it’s only natural that albeit a smartphone or tablet, it is our first go-to choice for information. As such, businesses need to optimize their sites for mobile usage. First and foremost, websites need to be responsive. But for this to happen, businesses need to make sure that their sites are not only optimized for mobile, but for voice search and, if appropriate, local SEO as well.
To keep users on your site in that micro-moment, the moment in which they land on your page, it needs to load quickly, contain relevant information and answer the users’ questions. Together, this increases the chance of users staying on your page and doing business with your brand.
Most people using voice search want to find places close to where they live. Using terms like “near me.” Think of questions or statements that a user would speak when using voice.
Use Micro Data
Make Googlebot’s job as easy as possible by submitting a sitemap to the search engines, use structured data on your pages and use other techniques to signal your website’s purpose. Make sure it includes everything that people may say when using voice. This way, when Google crawls your site, it has a higher likelihood of being pulled up in searches.
Since the search focus has shifted from awkwardly-placed keywords to now long-tail phrases that actually make sense, you need to make sure your copy is up to date. Because using voice to search makes use of natural language, it’s important that your copy reflects the same. Content optimized for voice SEO needs to focus on the natural use of language, not on what a user would manually type in for a search. The main point is that phrases are in and short keywords are out.
Voice snippets work well when implementing voice SEO. Voice snippets can transform your website from no traffic to an overflow of traffic if done correctly.
You also need to consider how your content is organized. For instance, information that is in a grid or table might work for voice SEO. Content that can’t be read out loud and still makes sense, isn’t going to work well when people use speech for online searches.
Content also needs to be easy to read. If your content is difficult to understand, then no amount of voice optimization will help your bottom line. All content needs to be easily digestible, clear and to the point.
In addition to having quality content, your site must load quickly. Nothing turns leads away faster than slow-loading pages on their mobile device. It has been said that Amazon loses $1 BILLION for every second of load time, and while you may not lose as much, you will definitely lose if you have a slow loading site.
User intent is far more than what you think users want. It is what they want, when they want it and how they want it. To truly understand user intent, you need to do research. Asking a series of questions and analyzing the data goes a long way. Consider the following questions when conducting research:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What makes them tick?
- Where do they spend most of their time online?
- Where do they live, how old are they and what kind of job do they have?
- What inspires or motivates them?
You can’t tailor your website until you know who you want to market to. While marketing to masses is the goal for most companies, there has to be a starting point where you create buyer personas and use that profile as a means of refining your website.
Don’t Over Optimize
Yes, in some cases, more is always better. However, when it comes to voice optimization, sometimes less is more. Don’t try to target every keyword or phrase that comes to mind. Google will only see your site as spam and it will never reach the top of the rankings. Top-performing keywords and phrases sprinkled throughout your site work best. (And if you want maestro results, check out DirectiveGroup’s SEO offerings!)
As technology continues to evolve, so should your marketing strategy. And with the influx of brands using voice-automated bots and assistants, it’s important that your company is on board as well. Monitor your analytics closely to see if there is any difference between desktop and mobile traffic.
If you don’t see a difference in your mobile traffic with the implementation of voice SEO, there could be something wrong with your UX. Finally, take stock in your overall customer base. If you aren’t seeing an increase in ROI, rework the content on your site to better suit the needs of your target audience.