cc Software such as Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana are dominating voice search technology. In order to rank well on Google, we must first understand voice search itself.
UNDERSTANDING VOICE SEARCH
The number of searches made via voice search is growing each year. Furthermore, many websites that are optimised for voice search are already reaping the benefits. To rank well, we must first know the nature of voice search.
VOICE SEARCH IS CONVERSATIONAL
Voice search is conversational, which means people are talking to search engines like they were asking a friend for help. Unlike traditional search where people tend to search a few keywords, voice search focuses on questions and uses natural language. Moreover, voice search queries tend to be bigger and somewhat more complex than traditional search.
NEARLY A QUARTER OF VOICE SEARCH IS FOR LOCAL SERVICES
22% of people are using voice search to look for local services. This is very beneficial to brick and mortar companies as their businesses can be found easier. Furthermore, voice search can be a great way to pull in more customers.
USERS WANT INSTANT RESULTS
According to a study conducted by Bird Digital, voice users are more likely to want instant answers when compared to text search. This is because voice search tends to be more conversational and to the point. It is not uncommon for a voice search user to ask a question and be expected to be served a single answer. Google’s use of rich snippets allows this information to be served back to the user.
WAYS TO GAIN TRAFFIC VIA VOICE SEARCH
Voice search is a growing technology, which means it is important to start optimising early. There are many ways in which you can gain traffic via voice search.
MAKE YOUR CONTENT SOUND NATURAL
Did you know that over 70% of Google assistant results are served from pages that contain natural language? This is because Google prefer content that is natural sounding and conversational. As highlighted earlier, voice search is highly conversational, which is why it is important to create content that sounds natural. Furthermore, when writing content you should aim to make it flow naturally and be easy to understand. Simplicity is best when optimising for voice search.
USE STRUCTURED DATA (SCHEMA)
Google tend to serve structured data to their audiences when search is conducted via voice. We recommend that you optimise all your pages using schema markup. Schema data neatly displays any informative content to the user in the search engines. Moreover, search engines, such as Google, aim to be as informative to their users as possible.
MAKE YOUR SITE MOBILE FRIENDLY
In this day and age, there is no excuse for having a website that is not device friendly. Furthermore, over half of all searches are made via a smart device, which stresses the importance of a mobile friendly website. Studies show that the top voice search results tend to be served from websites that are mobile friendly. Therefore, a device friendly website is a must if you wish to gain traffic from voice search.
ENSURE YOUR WEBSITE IS FAST
The top results via voice search tend to load twice as fast as your average website. This shows us that having an average loading website is just not good enough if we wish to rank well for voice search. Reduced load times are important for a website as it is more user friendly. Furthermore, most voice searches are made via a smart device therefore it is essential for content to be loaded fast. This is because a smart device is likely to have slower or less reliable speeds in comparison to a desktop machine’s connection.
CREATE BLOG POSTS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS
A great tip to appear in voice search is to answer questions that your target audience may have. For example, a workwear company may have customers asking questions such as – “Are sunglasses PPE?”. A blog post addressing this issue can answer this question directly for their users. When voice search is used to ask this question, Google can then take relevant website information to serve the user. Using trigger words such as “How”, “Why”, or “Who” in page titles can be very beneficial in voice search. Furthermore, by creating a natural sounding answer to address a conversational question, you can pull in extra search traffic.
OPTIMISE WITH A LONGER WORD COUNT
Just like regular search, voice search results follow the same word count trend. A study by Neil Patel shows that higher performing search results tend to have an average of 2312 words on the page. This demonstrates that a longer word count is important when looking to rank high on Google. This trend is also the same for voice search results.
ENCOURAGE SOCIAL SHARES
If a website is performing well on social media, chances are it will perform well on voice search. The more social mentions and shares a page gets, the more likely it will rank well. Remember to optimise your pages to include social share buttons. This encourages shares and can be very beneficial for pulling in extra traffic.
Voice search is on the rise so it is important to optimise your pages now. Basic SEO fundamentals will help. In addition to this, conversational language can have a great impact. This makes efforts easier when attempting to rank high for voice search results. SEO is a long term strategy so it is not wise to expect results overnight. Pages that are fast loading, content rich and mobile friendly will perform better than those that are not. Structured data (schema) can help search engines display information so that it benefits the user. These factors combined makes a website a lot more likely to rank.
Companies such as Google and Apple continue to invest heavily into voice technology, which suggests this is far more than just a trend. Voice search is becoming more accessible to people. Moreover, this shows that the number of voice searches are likely to further rise in the future.