Voice assistants are one of the most exciting technologies that are changing how we navigate the digital landscape. How prepared is your organisation’s website for voice search SEO?
Voice search SEO is the growing tech trend that’s been threatening to change how we use the internet to find information. Since the world was first introduced to voice assistants like Siri and Cortana, the technology has come a long way and matured. Now, Amazon Echo and Google Home devices are dominating the market and are influencing our daily lives. How can your organisation’s website be optimised to benefit this technology?
Before you do anything to optimise your website, it’s paramount that you research what you want to be found for. Perhaps even more importantly, find out what keywords and terms your audience are already searching. These keywords will determine how you structure your website and its content for voice search SEO.
There are a number of great digital marketing tools that can be used to help learn about your audience and a lot more. If you don’t have the subscriptions or the expertise in-house to gain this valuable insight, partner with an agency, like Kagool that has an award winning search marketing team who can help. Incorporating frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages in to your website structure is ideal for voice search results.
The keyword research will help to inform this content and get your organisation’s website noticed by Google when it’s crawling sites for suitable results.
Google’s goal is to show users the most relevant, up to date and authoritative content that answers a search query. This is displayed as ten organic listings and a featured snippet plus ads, maps, business listings and anything else that’s relevant to the query.
How do you get a featured snippet in Google results? Google considers multiple aspects before awarding a featured snippet, a prominent one is including a concise summary paragraph that clearly answers a question or query. Although it’s true that pages with over 1000 words are more likely to reach the top spots on Google’s results, including a brief summary also contributes to winning you that golden featured snippet.
The rules for optimising your organisation’s website for voice search SEO are very similar to traditional SEO, however the structure we use to ask for information differs and so marketers must refine their strategy. Firstly, people don’t always type as they speak when making a search query, the typing format is usually shorter (probably because it’s less effort), focussing on key terms where as voice search is more conversational. For starters, each command has to start with ‘ok, Google’ or ‘Alexa’ and is often followed by a natural questioning format. Using ‘how, what, where’ are some trigger words than marketers can include in their headers and content to help signal to Google that their site has the answers that the user is searching for.
Mapping out the possible questions that customers could ask using the keyword research will enable you to organise these into content categories. These are typically informative (guides, tips, how-tos), navigational (shop or office location, services etc) and transactional (product comparisons, video, product information). All of which are best suited to different stages of the customer journey:
A recent study found that most voice search results had a high volume of social media shares. Now, its likely that this isn’t a case of causation as Google’s algorithm states that it doesn’t use social signals, but there is certainly some clear correlation here which shouldn’t be ignored. Shareable content that has high engagement has value and often ranks highly in search results. The takeaway here is, create rich content that is widely shared, it’ll gain high volumes of traffic – which Google definitely recognises and aids visibility for voice search.
Aside from home devices, most voice searches are taking place on mobiles. Statista reported that 52% of global website traffic in 2018 was generated via mobile. If your organisation doesn’t have a website that is mobile-friendly you may as well forget voice SEO…or SEO in general.
The core benefit of voice search is convenience. It’s about great user experience, being able to multitask and find information quickly – otherwise you’d just type it? Its reported that on average voice search results load 52% faster than average pages or desktop devices. Company’s that optimise their website to load quickly on mobile will see the benefits for both search approaches and leave their competitors that aren’t adopting this approach behind.
When you consider that most voice searches happen on mobile or on home devices, it’s not surprising that 22% of voice searches are for local content. Optimising your website and content for local search terms and questions will help your organisation to gain visibility to local audiences. Google revealed that searches that include ‘near me’ have grown more than 130% year-on-year. If you consider that insight with the fact that 50% of local mobile searches lead to a store visit with 24 hours, optimising your organisation’s website for local SEO should be high up on your to-do list.
Google specifically lists elocution in its guidelines to voice search. Making sure that your content translates well to being read aloud is important. This includes considering everything from the language you use to the intonation and phrasing. It’s been reported that the average Google voice search result was written to the average reading age of a 14 or 15-year-old. Websites that use headlines, subheadings and body copy that’s simple and clearly structured for Google to quickly crawl are more likely to be favoured and rank well for voice search SEO queries.
Google has previously stated that HTTPS-security gives websites a minimal boost in rankings. However, when tested, studies saw a strong correlation between sites on the first page of Google’s desktop and voice search results and sites that adopted secure sites. Sites that are HTTPS secure accounted for 70% of the voice search results and 50% of desktop results tested in the study, indicating that its worth organisations considering the investment in the secure set up to help optimise their websites for voice search SEO.
If you don’t have the resource or technical skill set in-house to carry out any thorough analysis, get in touch with us. We have a team of search marketing specialists that’d be happy to help. Not ready to talk yet? Learn about our search marketing services and Sitecore SEO have helped leading UK manufacturer, Spaceslide increase their sales by 74% in our SEO case study.