Time changes faster than we imagine. It seems like it was just yesterday when the mobile-first index was rolled out by Google. But now, we are about to enter a voice-first world when it comes to searches. According to a 2018 NPR and Edison Research, 1 out of 6 Americans own a smart speaker. On the other hand according to ComScore, by 2020, about 50 percent of all searches will be done via voice search.
The big question is, is your website ready for the voice revolution? Whether you do your own SEO or hand it to a trusted outsourced marketing company, you should get a clear picture of how SEO works for voice search. Here is how you can re-optimize your content to top the voice search index:
Use Conversational Keywords and Questions
Voice search is changing the way keywords work. In text searches, keywords are usually fragmented, short phrases. However, when using voice search, we chat with an AI or smart assistant, so our queries come out like natural conversation or in questions. Thus, keywords must be longer and conversational.
For example, when looking for new movies to watch, we type in the search bar; “new movies this week” or “September 2019 movie releases.” However, when we use voice search we say “What movies will be released this week?” or “What movies can I watch right now?” The average length of keywords has gone from 3-4 words to 6-7 words.
Strengthen Local SEO
Put more emphasis on local SEO by including locations in your keywords. A lot of voice searches are done on the road—while driving or walking along the streets. In fact, According to BrightLocal, about 76 percent of voice search users perform local searches weekly, and about 46 percent use voice search to look for local businesses on a daily basis.
Google Data also revealed that the statistics of “near me” and “open near me” searches have grown over 250% in the last two years. But this does not mean that you would need to use “near me” in your keywords. “Near me” only adds the intent of location while conducting searches. For this, most utilize Business Listings. Make sure to add all the necessary information of your business, such as the address, brand name and opening hours to Google My Business and eCommerce store listings.
Optimize Page Speed
Those who use voice search on the road need their answers fast so your page needs to have fast loading times. Website speed optimization is a high priority in voice search. Especially the speed of your mobile website as most voice searches are done via mobile phones.
Analyze the current speed of your website using PageSpeed Insights, Google Lighthouse or other similar tools. These apps tell you if your current loading time is fast enough and give you suggestions to make it faster. You can also look for an outsourced marketing company such as Purple Cow Agency to optimize your website for you. 😉
Use Structured Data
Structured data does not directly affect your Google rankings. However, it gives you an edge over similar content. Structured data, also called as schema markup, is basically metadata. It is data embedded in your website’s source code or HTML but is not seen by users.
Using structured data results in rich snippets and high click-through rates. They help search engines classify and crawl your content more efficiently. If you’re lucky, your snippets might also get featured on the top of searches.
Answer the Questions of Your Consumers
Most companies have a single FAQs page to answer the questions of their customers. While these question-and-answer pages help a lot in introducing your business, it is not as effective as single, targeted blog posts when it comes to drawing in website traffic and driving customers.
You should know how your consumers refer to your products and services: How do they describe your product? What words do they use when talking about your business? What are their most common questions? Once you’ve collected your keywords, create pages dedicated to these queries. For example, a blog post titled “How much do dental implants cost?” or targeted blog posts are easier to optimize than a FAQs page. This increases your chances of appearing higher in voice search results.
Voice search is already very popular for people of all ages. It is a trend that cannot be stopped and will only continue to grow faster in coming years. If you want your business to continue holding its ground against competitors, voice search optimization is indispensable. You should start working on it now or ask your outsourced marketing company for suggestions on how to re-optimize your content for voice search. It will be hard work—yes. However, it is also a chance to gain competitive advantage.