Voice search SEO – How to optimise for voice search

Voice search SEO – How to optimise for voice search
5th October 2020

Voice assistant technology is revolutionising how we navigate the digital landscape. 41% of adults use voice search SEO daily. How prepared is your organisation’s website for voice search SEO?

What is voice search SEO?

Voice search SEO is a function that allows users to search the web, through a spoken command. It combines speech recognition technology with keyword queries, to enable users to speak questions rather than type them. But how does it work? Voice recognition software analyses sounds and performing tasks based on the data given to them via voice. Today’s phones and personal assistants will listen to the command and determine a meaning through artificial intelligence, then attempt to provide an action. Whether that is for booking a restaurant or finding a local businesses number. They work by linking speech recognition to complex natural language processing (NLP) systems. For businesses, it’s imperative that you optimise your website for voice search SEO queries. This is to ensure your website and services are found and read by voice assistants to the user.

Voice search SEO is a growing tech trend that’s been threatening to change how we use the internet to find information. As over 20% of all Google mobile queries are voice searches. 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?

How can voice search SEO benefit to organisations?

Voice search SEO is an effective strategy to attract new audiences and potential customers to your website. With such a large audience using voice assistants globally, businesses can capitalise on optimising their website for SEO terms their target audience is searching for. By investing in local SEO, this will strengthen your brand presence locally and help improve local signals by building visibility for: location, business hours, business contact information, pictures and reviews.

Voice search SEO is a useful tactic for both B2B and B2C organisations and can offer a variety of business benefits, such as:

  • Increasing website traffic
  • Improve SEO performance
  • Improving brand exposure
  • Increases conversions and sales
  • Directs users to local stores

What are eight tips for successful website optimisation?

1. What is your audience searching for?

Firstly, it’s paramount that you research keywords your business wants to be found for. Perhaps even more importantly, find out which 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 businesses can use 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 into 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.

2. Snippets feature heavily in Voice Search SEO 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. Search queries with the following words have the best chance at getting featured: Recipe, Best, Vs., Make and Definition. A prominent and important aspect 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.

3. Adapt your content structure to your customer journeys

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 whereas 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-to’s), 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:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Decision
  • Action
  • Customer support / loyalty

4. Create shareable content

A recent study found that most voice search SEO results had a high volume of social media shares. Now, it’s likely that this isn’t a case of causation as Google’s algorithm states that it doesn’t use social signals. However, 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. Creating rich content that is widely shared, will gain high volume of traffic – which Google recognises and aids visibility for voice search.

5. Voice search SEO has a need for speed

Aside from home devices, most voice searches are taking place on mobiles. Statista reported that 51% of global website traffic in 2020 was generated via mobile. If your organisation doesn’t have a website that is mobile-friendly you may as well forget voice search 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. Organisations 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.

6. Raise your voice locally

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 gain visibility to local audiences. Google revealed that searches than 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.

7. Easy to read content ranks well

Google specifically lists elocution in its guidelines to voice search. Making sure that your content translates well is important. This includes considering everything from the language you use to the intonation and phrasing. An 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.

8. Secure your website and your way to the top

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. This indicates that its worth organisations considering the investment in the secure set up to help optimise their websites for voice search SEO.

How well is your organisation’s website optimised for voice search SEO?

If you don’t have the resource or technical skillset inhouse to carry out any thorough analysis, get in touch with us. Our search marketing specialists are ready to help. Not ready to talk yet? Learn about our search marketing services and how we helped leading UK manufacturer, Spaceslide increase their sales by 74% in our SEO case study.