Why You Should Optimise your Website for Voice Search

With the number of devices offering voice controlled search on the up, you could be missing out on a whole lot of traffic if your site isn’t currently optimised for voice search.

With Google’s Voice Search, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alex and Google Home, voice search is on the up. Currently, 50% of online searches are carried out by a mobile device, and 20% of those searches are voice searches.

Optimising for voice search is clearly important, as why wouldn’t you want to tap into that extra source of traffic? It doesn’t have to be super complex or take you ages to put into practice either.

Let me show you how to optimise your website for voice search, in just a few simple steps…

 

The Techy Bit…

Voice search is considered to continue to grow, with an estimated 50% of all searches being carried out via voice by 2020. That’s not even that far away…

The first step is to get your head around how voice search actually works, so that you can make sure your site is pinging up as a top result when people search by voice.

Voice search has two key elements – NLP, known as natural language processing, and text-to-speech technology. The tech behind it isn’t actually new, and it’s been in use since 2002. What is new is how mainstream smartphones are now, meaning we’re now using voice search more than we ever did previously.

When someone carries out a search via voice, the question is entered into a database, and then the algorithm gets to work matching the question to highly relevant answers. When it comes to Google, instead of showing the standard search engine results page (or SERPs), the answer box is shown. It is here that the NLP comes in, to help work out what the user’s intent is, and the context of the request.

 

How Voice Search is Different

At this point you might be thinking ‘how can I optimise my site for voice search? What’s the difference between doing that and optimising for normal keywords?’. The answer is that voice search queries tend to be a little different to typed queries, so in order to optimise for both typed queries and voice queries, you have to think about how people might search for things if they were speaking, instead of typing.

Voice searches tend to be more conversational, which does differ from text-based searches. As an example, if I wanted to look for a specialist fashion brand that provided clothing to those under 5”3 (like me!), I might search for ‘petite fashion brand’. If I was asking via voice search, I might say something like ‘find a fashion brand that offers a petite clothing range’. See, there’s a difference, a subtle one, but a difference that matters.

If you’re still not convinced of voice search, here are some stats, and everyone loves stats, right?

  1. 1.43% of people use it because they find it quicker/easier
  2. 2. 42% use it while they are driving or at other times that they can’t search manually
  3. 3. 38% find it a more enjoyable way to search.

 

Optimising for Voice Search

Optimise your website for voice search

Optimising for voice search ensures you’re not missing out on a whole lot of traffic. The more people that are able to find us when looking for our products our services, the more sales, conversions, bookings etc.

Here’s a few things you can do to make your site more searchable via voice…

 

1. Create new content specifically for voice search, or improve your current content

If you’ve worked on your on-site SEO before, it’s likely you’ve focused on a few target keywords, and optimised your content for these. You need to do the same again for voice search. If you’re not sure about disrupting/changing your current content, create a few new pieces of content specifically designed to drive traffic through voice search.

Consider your services and/or products, and think about what someone might say if they were looking for you and what you do. Make a note of these search phrases and create some content around that, such as blog posts.

 

2. Create lists

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to creating content for voice search, lists are a great option. Include questions (that people might use when searching for you) and answers in your list style posts, as an easy way to include your voice search phrases in your content.

 

4. Focus on long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords (search phrases that include five or more words) should generally be part of your SEO strategy anyway, but they are particularly important for voice search. Think about phrases and keywords that your customer might use in conversation, and focus on these.

 

5. Make sure that your mobile site is up to scratch

Your mobile site is super super important anyway, but if the mobile version of your site isn’t top notch it’s unlikely that you’ll rank well for voice search. You can use this tool to check if your website is mobile friendly, and understand what you might need to change to optimise for mobile.

 

If you’re yet to optimise your site for voice search, try introducing a few new blog posts to open up your search traffic. Just a few hours effort could encourage traffic from voice searches, and over time you can build up your content further to cover all areas of your business.

Have you already optimised your site for voice search? Comment and let others know how you got on, and if you have any further tips and tricks….

Eilidh MacRae

Author Eilidh MacRae

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