How to Optimise For Voice Search? 2019 Guide
A report from Cision suggests that voice shopping market which is currently valued at $2 billion will hit $40 billion by 2022. The report also says that by 2020, 55% of the homes will be using smart speakers.
Another report from Comscore predicts that by 2020 almost half of the online searches will be voice-based. There is 35 times growth in voice search since it started in 2008. In 2018, only 1 in 5 searches was voice based.
Based on these reports, we can easily say that this is the time when marketers need to focus on Voice SEO in order to have the upper hand over their competitors. Let’s learn about Voice SEO in detail and discuss the strategies required to make your website voice search friendly.
What Is Voice Search?
Voice Search is a speech recognition technology which allows the user to search for anything using their voice instead of typing. It is not only used for searching in search engines, but it can also be used for various purposes such as playing songs, making a call, enquiring live sports score, etc. People prefer voice search over typing when they have more than four words to search. According to a survey by Social Triggers more than 60% of people use voice search when they are at home, 35% of people use voice search when they’re in a restaurant with friends. The percentage of voice search on public transportation increased from 22% to 38% in a year, and there is a 10% rise in number of voice searches in a theatre.
Why People Prefer Voice Search Over Typing?
Imagine you want to know the live score of a cricket match. The basic thing you’ll do is open browser and search for cricket score, but if all this can be done without you touching your mobile phone, wouldn’t that be amazing?
Suppose that, you’re driving your way back home and want to eat something, it’s obvious that you can’t take your eyes off the road to search nearby restaurants. Instead, you can just open voice search and say “find restaurants near me”, and you’ll get a number of results. Voice search even has the power to search through your emails and calendar and remind you so you don’t miss any important event or meeting. It won’t take much time for voice search to dominate typed searches.
How Does Voice Search Work?
When someone does a voice search, the search engine tries to understand the words and displays a probability of answers relevant to the search. Instead of focusing on only one word, voice recognition software listens to the whole context to provide more relevant solutions to the searches. For example, see and sea both are pronounced the same, so how a voice recognition software will understand what exactly to search for you? It looks for further context and tries to understand what exactly you want it to search for you. It helps voice recognition software to deliver more precise results.
Many voice recognition software improves upon themselves by learning user habits. Technologies like Siri (used by Apple users) and Cortana (used by Microsoft users) use huge cloud database which stores millions of words and phrases. Google uses an artificial neural network that functions similarly to a human brain using digital neurons to learn what people are saying. Google search recognition software learns from real search engine strings and can understand different accents.
Why It Is Necessary To Optimize Your Website For Voice Search?
Revlocal estimates that out of all the searches carried out in a month, there are approx 1 billion voice searches, and there are 3x more chances that mobile voice searches will focus on local businesses. Just imagine, how many times you have searched businesses near you. Moreover, the voice search is not only limited to mobile phones. It is also available for PC, tablet and even non-screen devices such as Google Home or Amazon Echo. So, if you want to attract people to your business, you should start preparing your marketing strategies accordingly. SEO is the major marketing strategy which drives people’s attention to your business. With voice search taking over typed searches, you need to start preparing new SEO strategies to keep yourself ahead of most of your competitors.
How to Optimize Your Website For Voice Search?
Follow the below tips to optimise your website for voice search:
1- Focus On Long-tail Keywords and Question Keywords
People tend to use smaller phrases when they use typed searches, but it is not the case when they use voice searches, it is more like a conversation. Suppose that you wanted to know about mobile dealers in your area. If you were to search for this by typing, there is more chance that you’ll write it like this “mobile dealers near me”, but if you were to search this using voice search you’ll more likely use natural language such as “who sells mobile phones near me?” A survey by Moz found that voice searches tend to be longer when compared to typed searches.
There is more chance that the voice search will contain question phrases, so you shouldn’t focus only on optimising using long-tail keywords. According to Moz, there is a huge growth in question phrases over the years.
You need to think about the possibilities or ways in which people search for your business, products and services. You can start your research using the tool Answer the Public. It returns a bunch of possible question associated with the keyword which people may use.
This is what I got when I searched for shoes :
Long tail keywords like these can help you in getting an idea of the consumer’s mindset and can help you in preparing your marketing funnel.
2 – Don’t Miss Local Optimization
A report by Google says that 50% of the local mobile searches lead to a store visit within a day while 34% of the computer users are likely to visit a store after searching for local businesses.
Now that you know the stats, you should start focusing on optimising your store accordingly. You can bring more business to your store by using a few SEO strategies such as :
- Use phrases which describe the neighbourhood of your locality.
- Using landmarks which people may use while searching near your location
- Updating your business hours and availability of products from time to time.
- Using titles relevant to your business and using “near me” in your meta description, and anchor text.
3- Improve Your Site Speed
A report by The Daily Egg indicates that a one second delay in loading your site can decrease customer satisfaction by 16% and can result in a 7% loss in conversions. This shows that a fast site is essential if you want to rank high in google as well as to improve sales. 40% of the consumers will not visit your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Quick page loading can help you retain your existing customers as well. Have a look at how website performance can affect shopping behaviour.
Now that you know why it is important to improve your site speed let’s have a look at how to do that.
- Use CDN network: Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) can help to reduce the number of requests your website makes and has the capability to speed up your site.
- Optimise Images: Use high-quality images but scale the resolution to increase the loading speed.
- Add Expire Headers: Adding expires headers can leverage browser caching. In case someone has already visited your website in the past, expires headers tell the browser to extract a version of the page from browser’s cache.
- Use gzip to compress your website: Gzip is used to compress the website’s files, and it reduces the size of HTTP response which in turn reduces response time.
- Remove broken links: Broken links do nothing but increase bandwidth and decrease your website’s loading time which results in bad user experience. Fix all your broken URLs.
4- Make Use of Schema Markup
Schema Markup once integrated into your website helps search engine better understand what your data means. It creates an enhanced description from your data, and that description shows up in search results. Better description means it is easy to read and understand which in turn, will make your site rank higher in voice searches. Schema markup found at Schema.org uses a unique semantic vocabulary in the form of microdata. Schema markup can be used for all types of contents such as local business, articles, products, events, movies, and software applications.
Follow these steps to use Schema Markup in your website:
1 – Visit Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
It will look like this:
1.1 – Select the data you want to markup.
1.2 – Paste the URL of the page you want to markup.
2 – After completing the first step, select and highlight the type of elements you want to be marked up.
3 – After selecting all the items you want to mark up, click on create HTML. In the next page, you will see the HTML page with appropriate microdata.
4 – Go to your source code and insert the highlights at the appropriate places. You can find the Schema Markup Code in the yellow markers on the Scrollbar.
5 – Keep Getting High Authority Links
It doesn’t matter how many backlinks you have, what matters is, the quality of those links. Poor quality links will make your site lose its rankings. The best way to get high authority backlinks is by creating high-quality content. You can create infographics based on proper research and has an eye-catching design which will help you in getting high authority links. You can even get high authority links by answering questions related to your business in question and answer portals like Quora. Building high authority backlinks is crucial to get your site ranked higher for voice search queries.
6- Optimize Your Content For Readability
It is important that the content on your website is easy to read and understand. Imagine, you visited a website which uses complicated words in their content. Instead of trying to understand the content you’ll prefer to visit another website which doesn’t use such complicated words. When the search engine reads out content in your website for the user who uses voice search it should be easy to understand for the one listening to your contents. It’s easy to optimise your content for readability. You should consider these things while optimising for your content:
- Use Short Sentences: It doesn’t mean that you stop using long sentences. Rather, you should try to mix up the length of your sentences and use long sentences wherever necessary.
- Use simple words and try to avoid complicated words: Using complicated words may make your content look professional but using those words can make your text difficult to understand.
- Break your text into points.
- Avoid using too much passive voice.
- Stick to the point and don’t fluff around.
8- Obtain Rankings On Featured Snippets
A featured snippet is a feature which gives an answer to the user’s question in a quick way which is more convenient, and easy to read. Why it is necessary to rank higher on featured snippets? There is 2x more chance that it will drive traffic to your site which will result in more conversions. A report from HubSpot says using featured snippet can help you increase the click-through rate of your content. We can clearly make out from the image that content in featured snippet gets almost double CTR than the content not in a featured snippet.
In order to rank higher in Google snippets, you need to keep yourself updated as Google keeps on changing their features. Let’s dig deep into the ways to obtain rankings on featured snippets.
- One way to do this is, think like your customer. What will you search for, if you want to buy products that you sell? For example, if someone wants to buy a shoe, he can search in different ways such as best shoes for casual wear, shoes for men, shoes for party wear. Use phrases that people may use to search for your business or product.
- Keyword Research can also help you rank higher in featured snippets as keywords are the main factor which can bring your business in top results. For example, if you sell shoes, use keywords related to shoes like sneakers, loafers, slippers, etc.
- Answer questions related to your business. For example, If you sell shoes. Give answers to questions like “which shoe should I buy for business parties” or “which shoe should I wear to my office.”
- Use high-quality images and videos.
Using the steps mentioned above as well as by focusing on strong user engagement, secure browsing, and ensuring great user experience across all devices you can rank well in the featured snippet.
8- Test Often
You cannot use every keyword related to your business to optimise SEO; rather you can use a set of keywords and see if that’s working for you if not, you can use another set of keywords. SEO expert Neil Patel explains the process of testing in a much-simplified way.
With A/B testing, you set up two scenarios which have only one different factor. Then, you see which one performs better.
With the rise of Voice searches and smart speakers, it is necessary that you change the way you market your business. You should keep moving ahead of your competitors, and for this, you need to optimise your business for voice search. Location being the most important factor in optimising for voice search, you should not forget the basic principles of SEO. Increase in voice search doesn’t mean that text search will disappear and hence you need to focus on optimising for both text as well as voice search. The steps mentioned above can help you in driving more customers to your business. But, you need to run different test cases to check which strategy best suites for your business.