How to Optimize your Website for Voice Search

Optimise for voice search - SEO Agency Essex UK

 

Whether we like to admit it or not, voice search is here and here to stay. This means that now, not only do you need to optimise your website to be readable by Google, your visitors and other search engines, but you must also optimise it to be voice search friendly too.

Currently voice searches only account for around 10% of searches online. But with over 4,000 searches per second this soon becomes quite a high number. According to ComScore, it is estimated that by 2020 50% of all searches will be voice searches. These are some scary statistics ah?

With this in mind, it is best to prepared and to be doing all the right things now. Otherwise you could be one Google update from complete disaster.

 

So, what are the important things to know about voice searches?

1. Voice searches tend to be longer and be more conversational

I am sure by now you have seen the video about if Google was a person. If not, here it is:

As you can see, when an average person searches on Google they type in keywords and often use short phrases or abbreviations. We have become so used to Google giving us what we want, we save time and effort and simply shorten the process down. On the other hand, voice searches are a conversation between you and a virtual assistant.

“Hey Siri, what is the capital of Italy?”

“Hey Google, where can I find restaurants near me?”

“Hey Alexa, what is the release date of Incredibles 2?”

You get the idea.

What this means for you…

Voice searches are more likely to contain question phrases. So, what you need to think about is how your customers speak about your business, products, and services. What are the type of questions they ask and what are the standard responses you provide? This will give you a good basis to start with. It is also a great way to build up a FAQs page or provide you with a list of blog posts you can add to your website.

 

2. 22% of all voice queries are for local searches

This is because people are usually on a mobile when they use the voice search feature. Around 20% of all mobile searches are voice searches. Again, accounting for thousands of searches per day.

Google announced that “near me” searches have grown more than 130% year on year and more and more people are using the search query for things to do or buy near them.

What this means for you…

Beings as users are more interested in things to do near them, your content needs to be both keyword rich and provide Google with enough information about your geographic location. If you are a national company or a multi-location enterprise, you could break your website down into area specific landing pages. These do not need to be displayed in your menu bar, but site on your website as an entry door for visitors.

You should also place “near me” in your title tags, meta description, internal links, and anchor text and include details about landmarks around your business’ location. You can also link to other businesses or websites that relate to your services or products.

 

3. People want quick, clear and easy results, right now!

Most people who are searching are asking a specific question and have a specific need that needs to be fulfilled. 9 times out of 10, if a person is searching for a local business they will want to be able to understand what you do, if you are the business they require and then get directions or call you.

What this means for you…

At this stage it is imperative that you have Google My Business set up correctly and it is up to date. Ensure that the website is linked to your Google My Business, the telephone number is correct, business hours are correct and most importantly that the address is correct. It is beneficial to add internal and external images of your location and set up a Google Plus account. Your business listing should also have a healthy number of positive reviews. With all of these things in place, it will help to satisfy Google.

 

And lastly, your website needs to be as friendly as you!

With 20% of voice searches being made on a mobile and around 50% of mobile searches overall it is important that websites are mobile friendly and responsive. This is one of the most important factors effecting your general SEO and website ranking right now. If your website isn’t optimised for mobile and tablet devices your search engine rankings will be suffering.

 

How do you know if your website is mobile friendly?

Take a look at the two screenshots below:

One is from our website and you can see it has changed in layout to fit within the mobile screen and be used without the need for zooming in and out.

The second is a screenshot from the Land Registry government website. As you can see, the text is small and the buttons cannot be pressed without the need of zooming in and out.

Check out your website’s mobile responsiveness using Google’s tool:

https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

What this means for you…

Plain and simple, if your website isn’t optimised for mobiles and tablets, you need to update it. Chances are, if your website isn’t mobile friendly, it is more than 3 years old and causing your SEO to suffer anyway. Google likes to see you keeping up with the latest trends and updating your website every 2-3 years. If your website is optimised for mobiles, you can breathe a sign of relief. For now anyway.

 

Conclusion

Voice search is going nowhere!

With this in mind, we all need to build and optimise our websites for voice searches, as well as text searches. Voice search is set to expand rapidly within the next 3 years so it is always good to be ahead of the game. Google never disclose what their search algorithm uses to rank websites, but they have given clear signals that voice search is on the up and something we should all be aware of.

Don’t get caught out!

 

Book a SEO training session with one of our experts or get in touch to discuss how we can help optimise your website for you!

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Written by Stefanie. G

B2B and B2C Marketing Consultant and SEO Specialist @ Dragonfire Marketing

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