Voice Search Optimization: How to Do It Right
Roman Malyshev / 03.24.2019276
When it comes to choosing between voice search optimization and the regular, text-based SEO, we go for the former.
Yep, you got it right - even though you may still be using the keyboard on your smartphone to type search queries in Google, a lot of people out there prefer voice search due to its simplicity and convenience. That’s why the topic of today’s article is going to be proper voice search optimization.
Voice Search Optimization: Why You Should Care
For those of you who own an iPhone, Samsung, Sony, or any other name brand smartphone - how many times have you had a short conversation with your phone by starting with “Siri” or “OK, Google”?
Believe it or not, but many industry specialists do think that the era of a text-based search may be coming to an end. This opinion is actually backed by some statistics - e.g., Google has recently announced in its report that 41% of adult users and 55% of teenagers prefer voice search when looking for something on the Internet.
Want more? There you go - according to a report from Search Engine Watch (a company specializing in search engine news, marketing and analytics), the number of voice-activated searches has increased 35 times (!) during the period from 2008 to 2016.
Predictions for the nearest future? Well, here’s one - according to digital marketing company Search Engine Land, 20% of search queries on mobile devices will be voice-activated by 2020.
As for the most preferred virtual “assistant”, the number one spot still belongs to Siri - around 40% of users don’t mind chatting with it once in a while.
Since we were doing this article anyway, we thought we might as well ask Siri what it thinks about voice search. Well, half an hour later we ended up requesting songs and asking Siri to sing with us, which is a perfect example of time well wasted=).
However, what we did come up with (not without the help from Siri) is a list of main advantages of voice search:
- It’s quick. No need to prove the fact that saying a phrase out loud is faster than typing it
- It’s easy. Speaking and listening are as easy and natural as it gets.
- It’s convenient. Sometimes typing can get frustrating while voice search is always a breeze.
As you can see, voice search is indeed a technology that many people have already embraced. If you want to get ahead of your competitors and drive more clients to your website, here’s how you should do voice search optimization.
Voice Search SEO: Step-by-Step Guide
Voice search in Google is different from its text counterpart - here are the seven main things you need to pay attention to:
- Long tail keywords
- Optimization for mobile devices
- Using microdata
- HTTPS protocol
- High page load speed
- Google My Business card optimization
- Local search
Now, let’s get into some detail for each of these points.
- LONG TAIL KEYWORDS
The significant difference between voice and text search is that people use spoken language and phrases when doing their voice search as opposed to typing your search query in Google when you mostly use just a bunch of related words knowing that Google will figure out the rest.
E.g., you own an online cosmetics shop. In this case, you would be using keywords like:
buy mascara online
cosmetics shop [area]
When optimizing for voice search, you should use longer, more specific keywords that sound more like complete phrases:
buy good cosmetics online
where can I get nice mascara
what’s the best online cosmetics shop
You got the idea=).
Another example might include a travel agency that offers Caribbean tours. Normally your potential clients would type in Google search something like “best Caribbean tours.” However, when doing a voice search query, the same phrase might sound different - e.g., “Which agency offers the best Caribbean tours?”
Typically, the length of long tail keywords is 5 or words per query. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to optimize all of your web pages for long tail keywords, but it would be a wise thing to include a few of them.
To sum it up:
- include long tail keywords
- use informal, spoken language phrases
- use interrogative sentences as opposed to affirmative ones
- OPTIMIZATION FOR MOBILE DEVICES
It shouldn’t be news for you that mobile traffic is preferable for any website these days since it’s become so prevalent.
After the release of Mobile-First Index (read more about it in this recent article of ours), Google started to predominantly use the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking purposes. That’s why you should spend some time optimizing your site for smartphones and tablets: post-mobile-friendly content, use eye-catching snippets, and microdata. The latter deserves a separate paragraph.
- USING MICRODATA
Using microdata makes it easier for search engines to index and rank your website. Having a map in XML format on your website will certainly contribute to better voice search optimization.
If you don’t have it yet, be sure to create one ASAP - otherwise, you risk losing potential clients, brand recognition, and eventually a part of your revenue.
- HTTPS PROTOCOL
It’s no secret that Google ranking algorithm favors websites, which use HTTPS protocol. In fact, starting in July 2018, Google began to mark all non-HTTPS websites as “not secure.”
When it comes to voice search results, Google seems to care about the “HTTPS” thing even more. For instance, out of 10,000 search results the company used in its research, 70% accounted for voice search.
If you still haven’t switched to HTTPS, now is the right time to do it - if you’re not sure how here’s a good article to get you started on the subject.
- HIGH PAGE LOAD SPEED
Voice search results usually load 3.8 times faster than any websites do. Therefore, if you don’t want to keep your visitors waiting, you should start thinking about boosting your website page load speed now.
Before doing so, you might want to check the current page load speed, which is done easily with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool (which we’ve already covered in this article). Not only will it measure the current page load speed of your website but also give you some recommendations on how to boost it.
Also, you can use AMP - a plugin for boosting your mobile pages speed.
- LOCAL SEARCH
Voice search can be beneficial for local businesses.
Most of us have been in a situation where you came to visit some new place and wanted to find a good restaurant or cafe to spend quality time. This is when voice search comes in handy - moreover, you will probably use the very interrogative sentences we’ve mentioned earlier, e.g.:
“What’s the nearest sushi restaurant?”
“What’s the best burger place in town?”
That’s why, if you have a small, local business (whether it’s a cafe, restaurant, gas station, beauty shop, hotel or else), you’ve got to spend some time doing voice search optimization to make it include the keywords and phrases your potential clients will most likely use.
You don’t necessarily have to use snippets - however, Google might use your business profile and read out all the contact details there to the user. This could work great especially if your potential client is driving a car at the moment or unable to look at his/her smartphone for any other reason.
Hence, you should pay more attention to the way your business is represented on Google - if it’s just a picture, you might want to add some text.
Of all the recommendations we listed, the most important are:
- using proper long tail keywords
- using voice search for promoting a local business
In general, voice search optimization is an experimental field now posing a lot of exciting challenges for SEO specialists.
We at Zwebra Web Studio Inc would gladly take those challenges for you and help your business to get the best of voice search traffic. Since it’s still fresh and not over-explored, you may have a good chance to occupy a lucrative niche and get ahead of your competitors.