How to optimise your website for voice search


How to optimise your website for voice search

Voice search isn’t a thing of the future, it’s here today and it’s on the rise. Read to the end to learn how to optimise your website for the growing voice search trend.

  • More than 40 percent of adults used voice-based search on a daily basis in 2016 [1]
  • It’s estimated that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches [2]
  • Evidence suggests that about 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020 [3]

What’s the difference?

Voice searches are conversational and are usually questions. For example, on a desktop, you might search ‘Shaftesbury hairdressers’, but with voice search you’d ask ‘which hairdressers are near me?’ Searches are usually shorter on desktop because it takes effort to enter them. We’re also used to inputting more concise searches in order to get the most related results.

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With voice search, it doesn’t take any effort to search. And since users are talking to their devices, whether it be Alexa, Siri or Cortana, it’s more natural. Voice search is getting smarter too, and this is thanks to semantics. Instead of googling the exact phrase, AI assistants listen to keywords. For example, if you ask ‘How old is the Queen’ the result will show you a rich snippet containing her age.

Fifty-three percent of people who own a voice-activated speaker said it feels natural speaking to it, with many saying it feels like talking to a friend [4]

How can you make the most of this?

Voice searches are typically longer than traditional searches, therefore it’s a good idea to use longer voice-friendly keyphrases. You could also try using question phrases in your content. It’s also imperative to make sure that your website is mobile friendly. Since most voice searches take place on mobile devices, it’s important that your website is mobile friendly, and loads quickly. Search results are different on mobile and desktop, with Google rewarding sites that are better optimised for mobile and tablet devices.

When starting your search for key terms start with Answer The Public is a great tool, you can type in any keyword and it returns a map of frequently asked questions. These can be used to create resources and can be considered when structuring content on your website.

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Alternatively, you could use the auto-suggest provided by Google & Bing. As you type, you are presented with a list of questions.

Different questions have different levels of intent, for example, questions prefixed with ‘who’ and ‘what’ are usually research driven, the user is in the research phase. ‘How’ has a slightly higher level of intent. The highest level intent questions are ‘where’ and ‘when’. Questions like ‘Where’s the nearest supermarket’, ‘When are hotels cheapest’. By finding what users are searching for you can get a hint of their motivations.

There are two ways you can capitalise on these questions, by creating an FAQ page or writing a specific blog post addressing each question. Addressing users questions will not only help your users by educating them, but it will also help you rank. Instead of having these questions on an FAQ page, give them their own post. That way you can better optimise it and Google will see it as having more relevance to the questions posed.

Location Searches

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Increasingly voice search is becoming local. Many users are searching for shops, services, attractions and amenities near them. And this makes sense since the majority of people use their phones while out and about.

Google has found that ‘near me’ search are increasing by 130% year on year. [5]

How can you make the most of this?

Google is evolving to location search, pulling results based on a user’s location. So you need to make sure you come up for these location searches.

Firstly, claim your Google My Business listing and make sure you keep it up to date. Secondly, you could try using ‘near me’ in your metadata. Referencing local landmarks is a good idea too or even the names of local organisations which are related to your company.

When creating your content, you’ve got to think of bots as well as your audience. Making use of structured data will help search engines determine your relevance. This markup can be used to highlight information, whether it be recipes or contact details. It’s this that will help give you an edge over competitors.

This is just a few of the things you can do in order to prepare for increasing voice search.

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