Voice Search Optimization.
by Susan Friesen
Last week I talked about what voice search technology means for your business. It’s such an important topic that I decided to write a second part related to SEO this week.
From Google Assistant to Siri, people are speaking rather than typing to search online more than ever.
According to Location World, more than 40 percent of adults used spoken searches daily in 2016. ComScore estimates that over 50 percent of searches will be voice-based by 2020.
It makes sense: it’s much easier to speak a question than it is to type it. And it allows you to multitask while driving, cooking or walking.
This is not a fad or something you should ignore – if you want to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition, now’s the time to do it.
Here’s what to focus on:
It’s all about location, location, location
In last week’s blog, I covered the importance of using local keywords to attract visitors and customers. Using these locally targeted keywords is a huge part of any SEO strategy for your website.
Mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to be locally based. People are looking for what’s nearby right now, so the more specific you can get with your keywords and copy the more likely they are to find you.
Use your location with keywords as often as you can, and don’t forget to keep your Google My Business page and Yelp page updated with your current information – these results are served too, not just your web content.
Be more natural.
What someone types into a search bar are going to be different from a spoken query. For example, if I want to find a hotel near the airport in Toronto, I’d type something like “hotels near airport Toronto” into the search bar.
However, if I’m speaking my search, it would be more like “what hotels are near the airport in Toronto?”
Google is looking for natural language, so you’re going to have to brainstorm the types of questions people might ask that include your target keywords.
Incorporate conversational, long-tail keyword phrases into your content as much as possible.
Some great ways to create natural content include:
- About and FAQ pages
- Blogs and articles
- Answering questions on your Google My Business Questions and Answers section
- Providing as much info as you can to Google My Business and Yelp, including hours of operation, products or services offered, parking, delivery or shipping options and so on.
Aim for featured snippets and People also ask.
Both Google Home and Google Assistant read out featured snippets when answering queries, so you want to get to the top!
Featured snippets are selected search results that are found in a box on top of Google’s organic results.
Google wants to give users the best answer so it’s essential you answer questions clearly and update your website with fresh, engaging copy on a regular basis.
Research shows answers in the form of lists have done very well in featured snippets. The more conversational answers your site and online profiles contain, the better your chances of appearing in this coveted spot.
The same goes for “People also ask”. You might have seen this pop up when you type in or speak a question. Check out the example below – I asked, “where are the best boutiques in NYC?”
Below the top few results, there is often a “People also ask” section. Each of those dropdown menus answers a related question using content from well-optimized websites or blogs.
Create a copy for a 9th-grade reading level.
No matter what your business offers it’s never a good idea to write an overly technical or jargon-filled copy. It doesn’t benefit the user, and it doesn’t benefit your SEO.
Research shows that content is written at a 9th-grade reading level – or below – appears more often as a voice result. You can use a tool such as the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level to determine what grade your content is and adjust accordingly.
It’s not about dumbing down your site – it’s about answering questions succinctly and clearly rather than filling your webpages with unnecessary language that will only confuse searchers and search engines.
Focus on adding these strategies to your marketing efforts to increase traffic, leads and sales as the adoption of this exciting technology continues to grow. The more you focus on voice search optimization now the better results you’re going to get in the long run.
How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
by Susan Friesen
Voice Search Trends: Is Your Business Ready?
When Google launched the Voice Search app for the iPhone in 2008, it was far from perfect. Over the years, speak-activated technology has become much more accurate and human-like.
Stats show that Google’s English recognition accuracy rate is now over 95%.
People want instant solutions when they’re searching for something online.
While typing a query into a search bar is quick, simply speaking into your device and getting the same results is even quicker. On average, a person can type around 40 words per minute and speak around 150 words per minute.
To try a spoken search, you can activate your phone’s assistant (Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, for example). Or, try it online: click on the microphone icon to the right of the Google search bar, to the left of the magnifying glass. You’ll be prompted to “Speak now” and you’ll see the results come up after you’ve made your request.
What Voice Search Means for your Business.
If you’re a small business owner, it’s a good idea to start thinking of ways to optimize your website for voice search.
Many consumers already use it to find what they’re looking for and according to ComScore, 50% of searches will be performed this way by 2020.
Here’s how to make it work for your business:
Think phrases, not keywords. When we type something into the search bar, we tend to keep it short, like “Canada Food Guide fruit servings.”
However, when we talk to a device, we use a conversational tone so it would be more like “How many servings of fruit each day does the Canada Food Guide recommend?” Before optimizing your site, research longtail keywords that someone might use to find your products or services.
Stay local. Mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to be locally based. Use your location with keywords in your site content, and don’t forget to keep your Google My Business page updated.
If you have accolades or awards, include those too – users are often searching for the “best of” or “top” products or services in the area. Here’s what came up when I said, “fresh juice Vancouver.”
Be overly informative.
A virtual assistant pulls information from the Internet, so you want to make sure there’s lots of it to be found.
Keep your website, Google My Business, Yelp and other third-party sites updated with things like your contact info, hours of operation, location and menu.
However, that’s just the basics. Dive even deeper – does your business accept American Express? Does your boutique sell clothing by local designers? Is your business a good place to take kids, pets or a date?
The more you can put out there, the more questions you can answer. Creating an FAQ page is a great way to provide both types and talkers with relevant info.
Speed up. Your mobile page load time matters. The average spoke search results page loads almost twice as fast as a web page, so you’ll have to keep up if you want to get noticed.
Google also includes page speed as a ranking factor, so faster is always better. Check your site’s speed.
It’s going to become more and more relevant – and necessary – to make it easy for customers to “talk” to your business. Instead of waiting for your competitors to catch up and outrun you, start working on optimizing your site now.