Voice Search: How to Optimize Your Website for the Rising SEO Trend

Posted by Zandrex Laureano - August 20, 2019 • 8-minute read

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In a world driven by connectivity and convenience, mobile devices and virtual assistants have become a big part of our day-to-day. With the ability to give commands like creating tasks, messaging contacts, or searching the web without even opening your smartphone, smart speaker, or even on an operating system, users have grown accustomed to—and reliant on—voice assistants in ways they never imagined.

This new technology provides people the ability to multitask, get things done faster, and even get search results instantly. Voice search has made people’s lives easier through solving simple equations, showing weather forecasts, as well as setting up alarms and reminders. As more and more people gain access to mobile devices and as they become more comfortable with virtual assistants thanks to innovations that improve the user experience, it’s no wonder that voice search has grown strong in the last couple of years.

So, what is voice search?

Voice search is a speech recognition technology that allows users to enter queries by speaking into their device. Rather than typing your requests down, all you need to do is talk. The device you use then retrieves information, performs an internet search, and returns with answers in the form of a website recommendation or an audio response.

With the rise of intelligent virtual assistants, queries are now performed with ease, in a way that is quick and accessible for most. According to comScore, by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches. This dramatic increase implies that the growth of voice search in our modern world is inevitable.

Recently, tech companies have utilized voice search technology to create and develop apps aimed to enhance user experiences even further. Here are some of the best voice assistants that you should try out:

  • Google Assistant

    Say “Hey, Google” to your device and this virtual assistant will execute commands such as setting up reminders, calling and texting people from your contacts list, and most importantly, conducting accurate voice search inquiries.

    According to the Digital Assistants Accuracy Study conducted by Perficient Digital in 2018, Google Assistant by far holds the highest ranking among its competitors. This is because it uses Google’s search index—which means it has the algorithm to give out the best results. Google Assistant is built-in for all Google devices such as Androids, but can be downloaded via the App Store for Apple devices as well.

  • Amazon Alexa

    Developed by Amazon, according to SmartHomeFocus, Alexa is one of the best options for automating your smart home. With Alexa being compatible with almost all smart home devices, it can almost do everything when asked commands or even do a little online shopping through Amazon.

    However, if you’re someone who prefers simply talking to activate your virtual assistant, Alexa might not be the one for you. Alexa’s limitation is that there’s no pre-installed application for smartphones. You still need to go and download the app, whereas Google Assistant or Siri are already built-in and ready-to-use (depending on your device).

  • Apple Siri

    With the abundance of Apple users worldwide and Siri being its built-in voice assistant, it’s easy to understand why Siri is perhaps the most popular virtual assistant on the market.

    Siri’s multilingual capabilities, which is compatible with 21 languages, might also be a factor in the ease of adoption. However, one downside of Siri is that this voice assistant is only usable by Apple users, while Google Assistant can be used on both iOS and Android devices.

SEO and Voice Search — Why You Need It

The goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is to make sure that your website comes up as a top result on the search page. This means it can bring more traffic to your website because it becomes easier for more people to find you. With voice search on the rise, optimizing your website to account for voice search can help increase awareness for your business and draw in targeted users to your products and services. 

Voice search and its impact on SEO rankings

The influence of voice search can be tracked through looking at how people interact with their devices, and how the shift in these habits impacts anything from purchase decisions to the way they find and approach new brands. We need to rethink the nature of marketing and, most especially, SEO. If you want to keep your sites visible to users and even get ahead of the game, you need to consider changing up your SEO strategies to account for these shifts in behavior.

While it might not be easy to envision what your target audience will be doing with this technology in the future, it helps to look at which platforms they’re using now. To give you a better picture of what steps you can take, here are some methods you can explore to optimize your website for voice search:

  1. Boost your page speed.

    Google PageSpeed Insights

    Page speed refers to how much time your site takes to load. Google’s algorithm considers site speed as one of the signals to rank pages higher in search results. Google voice search tends to favor websites that load quickly, because users in a hurry typically opt for voice search and also expect results to show immediately.

    We recommend that you check your page load time with Google’s PageSpeed Insights and try some of the tips they provide to better optimize your site. Likewise, it’s important to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. BrightLocal cites that 56% of all voice search queries are conducted via mobile devices.

  2. Write your keywords the way you would search for them.

    Google Keyword Search

    Unlike when using traditional searches on desktop or mobile, users tend to behave as if they are talking to another person when they use voice assistants. They ask questions and use long phrases that sound much more natural, rather than short, concise keywords. Instead of using “best coffee shops in Manila”, people tend to ask in a much more conventional way: “Which are the best coffee shops in Manila?”

    Focus more on long-tail keywords while also keeping your phrases short and simple. It’s also good to research the different kinds of questions your target audiences may ask and then answer the more common of these questions on your website or blog. Use tools like Answer the Public to filter the most common questions asked and tailor your content with these in mind.

  3. Improve your local search results.

    Google Local Search

    According to BrightLocal, 97% of consumers using voice search look for online reviews of local businesses. Make sure your site is optimized thoroughly for local search and consider investing in local-related content like your local listings for your voice search ranking. Try using geotagged keywords, or optimizing your Google My Business listing by providing updated and accurate business contact information such as address, phone numbers, and operating hours.

  4. Optimize your content for featured snippets.

    Google Featured Snippet

    The featured snippet is a box that displays selected search results featured on top of Google’s organic results—you can find it right below the ads. These snippets are placed there to answer user queries right away.

    So what can you do so you’re “featured”? Master the following strategies and get your content up to a position of #0. Alternatively, opting to create how-tos, guides, and FAQs can also help your site to show up in voice search results. Provide quality content that addresses common question-based queries and maintain your featured position by keeping your content regularly updated and fresh.

Let’s face the future. Should you optimize your Voice Search SEO?

Voice search is still mostly in development, so it’s hard to definitively conclude which strategies work best and if voice search will actually dominate the market of search queries. What we do know at this point is that voice assistants are growing into popularity on a whole different level, making it easier for people to retrieve information, make purchases, and browse the web. 

The steps listed above are meant to prepare you so you can better keep up with the marketing game and navigate your way through this new era of voice search.

Want to get ahead of the competition and keep your search ranking strong? We can help you optimize for voice search. Check out our SEO service packages by clicking the button below.

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Topics: SEO, SEO Updates

Written By

Zandrex Laureano

Zandrex Laureano

Zandrex Laureano is one of the Specialist of the Search Engine Marketing team at StraightArrow Corporation. He spends his spare time playing online games and drawing or sketching.

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