Searching for information on the internet has changed dramatically and by 2020, 50% of searches will be carried out by voice. But with this trend becoming such a dominant one, why is that? Very simply, voice search is easy and fast to use and given that it is already present in the devices that we use each day, it makes sense that it is going to be the go-to function.
However, 60% of people who use voice search only began to do so during the past year. As usage has increased, it has become very much the norm. Just think about it; in a minute, we can type 40 words and yet speak 150! When you look at the facts in that way, why would it not be taking over generally from traditional typed keyboard searches?
Get voice search optimised
As a business, you therefore need to make sure that all of your website content is optimised for voice search. Most of the time, voice search is used to ask a question so clever web content copywriters will make the most of this, looking at the word choices within the query. A question such as, “Where is the nearest dentist?” shows that the person asking is going to act once they receive the information.
Using these types of conversational search queries is important and is quite different from standard SEO as the focus is not on keywords with high search levels. When looking at creating content to match questions, the focus needs to be on just this. If you stick with normal keyword bulking, voice searches will not be optimised and your website will not do its job properly.
Voice search checklist
So how do you keep your website fully optimised to cope with this rising phenomena of voice searching? By using the list below, you can be sure that your content will tick the boxes that it needs to in order to enable effective voice search facilities.
• Work on short answers – concentrate on answers no more than 15-30 words long. If you over complicate them, you will just be building in a host of confusion.
• Use simple language – machines are evolving but are not perfect when it comes to reacting to language. If you use complex language, machines will find it much harder to read. They may end up giving incorrect answers or confusing ones. Your content should not be too sophisticated. Think like a machine when compiling it and you are on the right track.
• Make your content long enough – search engines favour longer content plus high quality to display in their results. This has been far more crucial since Google updated their algorithms recently. The best content is over 1000 words and below 2500. Although this might sound like a lot, it is simply best practice to produce longer content, both for voice search and for standard SEO. If you think about it, spoken voice searches are always going to be longer than typed text queries.
• Aim for plenty of social engagement – another essential thing to remember is that search engines love content that has been highly shared via social media. In fact, it acts as a metric to display accurate and pertinent content. If you put plenty of energy into boosting your social media presence, such as sharing posts on Twitter or Facebook, and build in call-to-actions (CTA), you can get your posts shared by others too.
• Ensure high domain authority – search engines like websites with a high domain authority and this is particularly relevant when it comes to voice search. Google automatically filters results to provide those that it deems to be accurate and reliable. There are a variety of tools that you can use to check out website authoritative metrics, with the most popular SEO metric being the Domain Authority from Moz.
• Fast page loading – your website viewers are not going to wait around for pages to load. Normally in a hurry to get immediate answers, voice search results need to be immediate. SERP prioritises websites that load fast, both on mobile and desktop devices. If you feel that your website page speed may be lacking, talk to a good website developer now and get it sorted out as a priority.
• Security matters – Google produces a transparency report and the last one showed that 89% of pages loaded via Chrome have HTTPS. This in turn leads to a much more secure browsing experience. It is imperative that your website is seen as being secure if search engines are going to consider your content being safe enough to browse. Google encourage web developers to use HTTPS on websites by providing improved SERP positions and highlighting security warnings for pages that are HTTP.
• Get featured in a snippet – a snippet is a block of text that shows up at the top of a Google search result. It provides a short summary of an answer to a search query. When your content shows up in a featured snippet, your answers are far more likely to come out tops with voice searches. But how do you get into a snippet? It’s not that tough; make your written content top quality with good answers. Also use Q&A pages with structured content. Google will love this as it can easily convert sections into snippets.
• Google My Business – GMB is important if you want to be listed highly for voice searches locally. By listing your business on GMB, Google can then localise specific queries. If you have a dental practice in the High Street and are listed in GMB, when a voice search comes up with, “Find a dentist near me” for someone living close to that address, your dental practice will most likely come up first.
Completing your GMB page also helps to confirm that your website is a trusted one, so Google will be happy sending customers your way! One tip though – do keep your content updated on the GMB page if you don’t want to end up confusing or annoying new customers with out of date information.
Wherever you look nowadays, voice search technology is around. Virtual assistants such as Alexa, Siri and Cortana have now found their way into most people’s homes. With technology rapidly advancing, people are going to continue to look for improved and easier ways of doing things. When you compare voice activated searches to the old-fashioned keyboard searches, there really is no competition.
Voice searches are here and on the up so don’t miss out. Get your content optimised now in order to be absolutely voice search friendly. Follow this checklist, get your web developer on your case and get yourself into prime position when it comes to ranking tops for voice searches.