‘Hey Siri, how do I optimise my website for voice search?’
There is an old saying that ‘many hands make light work’, but with the rapid rise of voice search and the growing number of people around the world turning to virtual assistants on smart devices or mobiles to find and do things for them, today’s version could well be ‘no hands make website work’!
Voice search is on the rapid rise and business owners need to move quickly and smartly to make sure their website is found when Siri, Alexa, Google or any other virtual assistant is looking for answers.
If you’re in any doubt about the need to optimise for voice search, consider these:
The information on your website needs to be optimised to answer questions when someone does a verbal search. And in order to have your pages read by Siri, Alexa, Google etc, you need to implement a number of SEO tactics to upgrade and streamline your online content.
In the 20 years plus that I’ve been in the digital marketing and SEO industry, voice search has been one of the biggest disruptors in the ecommerce landscape.
This article gives some of my key tips for voice search optimisation.
Given that voice search accounts for 20% of all mobile searches, the first thing you need to do is to ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices. In other words, is your website the best it can be in terms of functionality, navigation and looks when it comes up on a mobile device?
A good tool is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test which also gives you suggestions on how to fix any issues.
We don’t talk and write in the same way. Typed searches tend to be shorter and concise, whereas voice searches are longer and more conversational. People ask the entire question, rather than just typing in a short-tail keyword into the search bar.
To capitalise on voice search opportunities, you need to include long-tail keywords with a conversational tone in your online content.
When you write new content or refresh existing stuff, leave out the fancy vocab and complicated language. Keep things simple, easy, natural and chatty with lots of filler words (‘of the’, ‘for’, ‘me’, ‘you’, ‘how’ etc) as if you were having a conversation with a real person! And remember, while your content needs to be easy to read, it must also be accurate and up-to-date.
One of the key things to remember about voice search is that it is particularly good at answering specific questions. People usually ask a full question when they’re verbalising a search query, so it’s vital to use words like ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘where’ in your online content to make it more relevant.
If you offer searchers easily digestible chunks of information, the greater the chances your content will rank higher on the search engine pages.
This is a really easy way of adding relevant content that is aimed directly at answering voice searches.
Most voice searches start with words like ‘how, who, what, when, why, where,’ and so you need a comprehensive FAQ section that has the right type of content that fits the profile of your customers and which answers the type of question they would typically ask.
Top tip: Keep your answers to around 100 words, and provide helpful answers which contain relevant keywords.
It’s all very well having the right type of content and relevant keywords, but if your pages load too slowly, your efforts will be wasted.
Page speed is a key factor in voice search and users are generally motivated to find answers in a hurry. If their needs aren’t met quickly, they’ll move on. Slow loading speeds are also a no-no in terms of your Google rankings.
Things to do to improve page loading speeds include optimising your images and enabling browser caching.
Schema markup is code that describes elements on your website in a language that all major search engines understand. It helps the search engines to better understand and discover your content, it improves the relevance of your content and will help the search engines return more informative results for users when they do a voice search.
This article on What is Schema for SEO covers this topic in more detail and will be useful in your quest to optimise for voice search.
If you have a business that operates in a specific location or if you want your website to come up for searches made in a particular area, you need to focus on local SEO to capitalise on the growing number of voice searches.
Doing things like getting your website listed on relevant online directories, optimising your Google Business Profile and optimising your site for local searches using relevant keywords and content will help the virtual assistants find you first.
My blog on why local SEO is important for your business gives more detail on this important tactic.
Getting ahead in the dynamic world of ecommerce isn’t easy, but smart SEO will boost your online visibility. It will ensure that the search engines can find you and that your targeted customers find you – at the top of the rankings of course! If you’re new to SEO, why not download my FREE SEO Starter Kit to get started.
If you’re keen to learn all things SEO, then The SEO School is for you. This self-managed online course takes you step-by-step through all the important elements of SEO and you implement your strategy as you progress through the modules.
Sign up today or get in touch with me, Karen Dauncey, for more info. I’d love to help your business get to the top of the Google rankings.
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