Speech recognition technology used by Amazon Alexa, Google Home, iPhone’s Siri, and more, makes it easy for users to search for information and products via verbal commands.
Its adoption is growing. According to Gartner research, 39% of the U.S. population uses voice assistants on their smartphones and 26% use smart speakers at least once a week. What’s more, an Adobe survey found that 94% of users consider voice technology easy to use and say it does more than save time – it improves their quality of life.
When stating voice commands, people frequently phrase questions differently than they would typing into a search engine. They are more conversational and likely ask direct questions. As voice search adoption becomes more widespread, marketers need to incorporate voice search into their overall search engine optimization (SEO) plan.
Optimizing for voice search means answering questions in featured snippets, paying attention to local SEO, and perfecting mobile-friendliness. Listen up: we’re sharing four voice search optimization best practices to level up your search ranking success.
Voice Search SEO Tip #1: Conversational
People are conversational when using smartphones and virtual assistants to conduct in-the-moment voice searches. Voice searches also tend to be longer and in complete sentences, rather than short, keyword-driven, text-based searches.
For example, a user might ask their at-home Alexa device “what is the weather today in Washington, D.C.?,” as opposed to typing “weather Washington, D.C.” into Google’s search bar.
Whenever possible, include dialogue-friendly, natural language throughout your website’s content to start optimizing for voice search. Incorporate relevant long-tail keywords to complete searchers’ questions and better respond to colloquial phrases.
Make sure your content answers common questions, using the language and phrasing your audience is likely to use, and in a format they’d find appealing.
Voice Search SEO Tip #2: Search Intent and FAQs
Voice searchers frequently ask informal, yet specific questions, beginning with how, what, when, why, and where. Keep speech patterns and idioms in mind.
Write long-form, high-quality blog posts, detailed FAQ website pages, helpful infographics, and more to anticipate and answer common customer queries. Rank higher for voice search results with FAQ-style content - FAQs tend to be concise and already use a question/answer format, making it easy for Google to pull related information from your website. Similarly, Google is apt to pull from knowledge graphs and rich snippets to answer voice queries, so optimizing rich answers is key.
Better understand users’ search intent and trends by utilizing tools like SemRush’s topic research tool and the Answer the Public tool to monitor common queries people ask to find content similar to your website.
Use Google Search Console to find the queries bringing users to your website, and evaluate your site's search traffic, performance, and position in Google’s search results to find areas for improvement and maximization.
Voice Search SEO Tip #3: Local SEO
Local SEO and voice search optimization go hand-in-hand. According to Moz, 97% of people learn about a local business online. With people using their phones to get directions, search for nearby restaurants, and look up business hours, it’s critical that you follow local SEO fundamentals to put your business on the map.
Here are a few quick optimization tips for ‘near me’ searches, while maximizing online visibility for your local business:
- Register your company’s Google My Business listing and keep it up-to-date
- Prominently feature your business address, phone number, and hours of operation details
- Create separate webpages for each of your business locations
- Optimize your content with geographically-specific keywords and phrases
- Maintain online directories and citations for accuracy and consistency
Voice Search SEO Tip #4: Mobile-Friendliness
Consumers expect immediate, hyper-relevant, and helpful information at their fingertips. In fact, BrightLocal data found that 56% of voice searches are on smartphones.
Your website needs to deliver a first-class, mobile-friendly experience to be easily accessible and engaging from any device. After all, user experience (UX) is a critical factor in search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, particularly with Google’s Core Vitals update in 2021.
Follow these best practices to ensure your website experience and SEO success are working together to help you grow traffic and get found with voice search:
- Optimize your website with responsive design
- Run a mobile-friendliness test to uncover and optimize problem areas
- Improve your website’s loading time and performance
- Ensure your website is crawlable to boost visibility and exposure to your content
Deliver a Sound Voice Search Optimization Strategy
With more and more consumers using voice-enabled devices to perform search engine queries, find local businesses, make purchasing decisions, and more, it’s time to join the voice search revolution.
Get started optimizing your content for voice search to drive more traffic to your website, improve your SEO rankings, and gain a competitive edge.
Get in touch to talk to an SEO expert about how we can help you execute a sound voice search and SEO strategy.