Voice Search SEO: Complete Guide

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Talking to a computer is no longer a far-flung science fiction anymore. Today, we can see people speaking to their watches, interacting with their phones, and waiting for voice responses. 

You can just speak to your phone, and Google Assistant or the so-called “Siri” will always be there to answer you. You can search for anything on Google without typing it and get the results you want. This is called voice search.

Most people prefer voice search today because of the many benefits it comes with. Voice chat and search are faster, hands-free, and lets you multi-task. You can respond to a message while driving or search for that route on Google Maps without putting your hands on the phone. 

What is Voice Search?

Voice search is a way of talking to your computer or smartphone through speech. A device uses Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to recognise your voice and puts the words into a search engine for results.  

This technology has been here since 1950, has undergone massive improvement, and is now one of the biggest inventions. 

It wasn’t until 2011 when voice search became that popular in the real world. Today, voice search is almost everywhere, right from automobiles, phones, to smart speakers. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught people the importance of having a hands-free technology as the need to limit contamination becomes the order of the day. In fact, according to Gartner, at least 32% of consumers now prefer a hands-free technology in every electronic they purchase. 

Today, voice search is becoming more popular and one of the fastest-growing technology and types of search.

Here are some statistics that prove this:

  • According to eMarketer, at least 39.4% of U.S. internet users operate a voice assistant at least once a month.
  • Proficient reports that 55% of mobile users are doing voice searches to ask questions on smartphones and other devices. 
  • In 2017, at least 13% of homes in the United States owned a smart speaker. This number is expected to rise by 55% by the year 2022.
  • Nearly 40% of the U.S. population is using voice search. The voice search industry in the U.S. is expected to grow by 9.7% to 122.7 million users by 2021.
  • Google reports that almost 20% of all mobile queries are from voice search

These statistics all point to the evolution of voice search, its impact on internet users, and why it is important for marketers and online businesses. Well, if you are looking forward to optimising your website and digital campaigns for mobile search, you are on the right page.

In this article, we give you the ultimate guide to voice search. We take you through the process of optimising your website for voice search.

Voice Search Optimisation: 10 Best Practices 

Simply put, voice search optimisation is not that similar to your regular SEO. You have to focus on a lot of things if you want your website to appear on search results. 

For voice search, internet users are more specific on what they are looking for. That means you only appear on search if you have the exact answers to their queries.

These are some of the key practices you should have in mind if you look forward to optimising your website for voice search.

Tip# 1: Focus On Optimising Your Content For Local Search

When creating content for your website, you want to focus more on the local search. The majority of people searching for solutions are always looking for ‘near me’ answers. Additionally, most voice searches are for local information. Voice searches are three times more likely to be local searches than text-based searches.

Think of it this way: you suddenly get a puncture or flat tire when you are driving. In the middle of nowhere, you call a mechanic or, better still, search for “mechanic near me.” 

This way, Google is more likely to provide you with some of the best mechanics closer to your location. It means as a business you should focus more on the local element of your SEO.

You should make local SEO a basic requirement of your digital marketing. Ideally, research has shown that 46% of total searches are local searches, consisting of extremely engaged buyers. It is therefore more essential to put your business in local searches. 

The majority of local searchers include those who will visit your store and buy without a second thought. That means when you show up on local search results. You are more equipped to provide what customers are looking for as a small business.

If you want to make your website appear on the local search, you should be more consistent. Keep telling people you are more relevant to your local area.

That means using keywords that relate more to the local search. Find out what most local internet users are searching for when they go online and seek to address that in content you publish.

You can start by visiting Ubersuggest to do your keyword research. Find some keyword ideas that are relevant to your local traffic. Seek to answer the queries most of your local customers may have about your product. When doing keyword research, you should be keener on:

  • The phrases most people are using to describe your location.
  • Include the ‘near me’ phrase in your Meta description, title tags, anchor text, and internal links.
  • Know all the landmarks close to your business premise and location
  • List all the local institutions and titles of popular places that are more relevant to your business.

Tip# 2: Create And Curate Content That Provides Instant Answers

Text-based search is different from voice search. How users will search for information on the internet with voice is quite different. They tend to make long and specific search queries. 

In recent research, it has been established that there is a 61% growth in question key phrases. This research goes ahead to explain how people are using question keywords to search for information on the internet through voice search.

If you want most users to visit your website, you have to answer their questions in the content you create. Curate content that answers questions that internet users, especially those in your local area, are looking for. While seeking to answer questions, you should also focus on creating quality content.

Content is king if you want to drive the right traffic to your website. However, remember Google and other search engines will only rank you at the top if you provide quality content and exact answers to most search queries. Your content should satisfy your audience and, at the same time, increase your chances of appearing on featured search results and snippets.

Here are some tips to help with creating content with exact answers for your target audience:

  • Answer some of the simple questions users may have about your product in a clear and precise way.
  • If possible, you can make the title tag worth questions and have the first line after the headline answering those questions.
  • Ensure your answers to common questions are more detailed. This will help you rank at the top of most websites or simply provide more valuable content than your competitors.
  • Create rich and more compelling content that seeks to answer questions that most of your audience may have.
  • Create headlines and web pages with common questions users may have about your brand or business.

Tip# 3: Optimize The Google My Business Page 

If you want your business to appear at the top of search results, you need to create a Google My Business Page and ensure it is optimized. Optimizing your Google My Business page makes you rank higher on voice search.

When users voice out their queries on Google, it is easier to find your business on Google My Business. When creating this page, all you have to do is ensure the images, address, business information, and content are precise and accurate.

Again, you have to implement your local SEO strategy and focus more on targeting how your users phrase their queries. This report shows that 76% of smart-speaker users are doing local searches once a week. That means local SEO is still important if you want your business to appear at the top of SERPs.

Tip# 4: Understand Device Behavior And Know Your Target Customer

Who are your customers are? What devices are they using to search the internet? Ideally, the majority of those who prefer voice search are using their smartphones to access the internet.

Voice search algorithms use location and data points to understand search context. That means digital marketers should understand consumer behavior more when creating content and optimizing their websites for voice search.

To understand how different people use voice search, you should gather real-time data and research widely on essential consumer insights. You should know how your target audience uses voice search and which devices they are using, mostly when they visit the internet.

Tip# 5: Focus Your Keyword Research On Conversational Keywords

Whenever you are creating content to publish on your site, you should adopt a conversational tone. Focus your keyword research on finding conversation keywords and use that to create content. Long-tail keywords may be pretty relevant in this case.

If you want to drive the right traffic to your business from voice search, then focus more on long-tail keywords. Use more natural phrases in your content and long-tail conversational keywords. 

Work out the kind of questions you want to answer in the article, and then focus on providing accurate, detailed, and precise answers to your audience.

Tip# 6:  Tip# 6:  Offer Context With Schema Markup

If you want to tap into the power of voice search, then you should know one or two things about schema markup. If you haven’t, then this is the right time to do that. You should use schema markup to explain to search engines what your website is all about.

Schema markup is an HTML add-on that helps a search engine understand what your business is all about. It explains the context of your content. That means you will rank at the top and better on any search result when people use relevant and specific queries related to your business.

Google uses schema to understand human language. Therefore, schema markup is one excellent way to add information to your website and make your website more ready to answer any question users may have.

Tip# 7: Build A FAQ Page On Your Website

Another way to optimize your website for voice search is to have that FAQ web page. If you don’t have one, then you are missing a lot of traffic.

When people ask questions on voice search they use common phrases like; What, Why, When, Who, How, and Where. It simply means that they are looking for exact answers to fulfill their immediate needs. 

Therefore, if you want to create content that answers their questions, you should have an FAQ page on your site. With FAQ, you will answer the most common questions that customers may have about your business. Always do this more conversationally and appealingly to your audience. It should feel like you are talking to the audience face-to-face.

Also, to improve your website performance, you should:

  • Include schema in your website and ensure it is technically sound. 
  • Ensure that the informational structure and navigation are easy to find. 
  • Make your website load faster to reduce the bounce rate.

Tip# 8: Put Your Website On The Knowledge Graph

Simply put, the more information Google and other search engines have about your website, the more they are likely to show you on search results. Google should also know about your target audience and what exactly you are offering.

If you want to improve on your knowledge graph, you should;

  • Use structured markup in your content
  • Fill out all the social media profiles associated with your website and provide a solid social signal to Google.
  •  If possible, get a Wikipedia page for your business. In most cases, Wikipedia will often appear on voice queries that seek general knowledge about a topic.

Tip# 9: Create Content With 9th-grade Reading Level

When creating content for your audience, you should be clear and precise. Long sentences are often hard to read. When you are wordy, most users are not going to understand what you are saying. It means you won’t be answering the questions users are looking for on your site.

In general, clarity in your writing is the best practice to optimize your website for voice search. In this study by Brian Dean, it is established that your content is more likely to appear on search results for voice search when it is written in 9th-grade reading level and below. 

Therefore, you should focus more on your web page content’s readability and clarity level if you want to drive more traffic to your site.

There are different software you can use to make your content readable. You can use Grammarly and Hemingway Editor to remove all the errors in your content and make it readable before you can publish it on your site.

Tip# 10: Increase Domain authority 

You should work on improving your domain authority if you want to optimize your website for voice search. 

It’s a fact that if your website has many links that are pointing to it, it is more likely to rank higher in search results. The same happens for voice search.

A recent Brian Dean study examining approximately 10,000 Google Home search results established that websites with more links tend to rank at the top. That means, when a user puts on a voice query, Google is more likely to provide results from websites with more links.

If you want your website to rank higher in invoice search results, you should increase your domain authority. Here is what you should do:

  • Remove all spammy and bad links on your web pages
  • Optimize on-page content
  • Make your website mobile-friendly
  • Only apply optimal internal linking
  • Improve your website loading speed

How SEO in Voice Search is Unique 

1. It Has Changed How People Are Searching For Information On The Internet

Voice search is unique in many ways, and as a website owner and digital marketer, you should beware of this. There are two ways in which voice search is likely to change how people are searching for information on the internet:

  • Voice search is conversational and seeks only for content that answers questions precisely
  • Voice searches are longer than text-based searches 

Voice search queries are a bit longer than text-based queries. They are also less like the computer language and tend to be more natural and conversational. According to Google, at least 70% of voice searches on Google Assistant are based on natural language.  

Let’s say you want to search for how to make the fruit salad at home. When using the old text-based search, you would probably type the phrase “make fruit salad.” 

However, that is likely to change when you resort to voice search. You are likely to switch to something like this: Hey Google, can you show me how to make the fruit salad at home? You get the difference, right?

2. Voice Has Change Where People Are Searching For Information

Voice search is growing in popularity because it is easy to use and more convenient than text-based search. According to Google, the ‘near me now’ search has increased by 150% in the last two years. Voice search is changing local search in many ways. Also, most of these searches are happening in places you least expect.  

People are more likely to use voice search in public places like restaurants, gyms, and bathrooms. For example, let’s say you are coming out of the gym and you realize it is cold outside. You need a sweater to keep you warm, right? You simply head to your phone and do a voice search – Where can I find a sweater near me?’

3. Voice Has Changed How People Are Getting Search Results

Voice search has also changed how people are getting search results on Google and other search engines. Google, for instance, is now transitioning from a search engine to an answer engine. It is now more focused on providing exact answers to users.

The number of organic clicks has now dropped by 37% with the emergence of Knowledge Graph and Featured snippets. This means you don’t have to visit a website to get the answer you are looking for. You will find the answer right on the search result.

For instance, if you do a voice search on “Which is the best Football Club in the world?” this is what appears on your screen.

Google Featured Snippet

With this information, you don’t have to look any further. The answer you need is right there on the screen.

It means if you want your website to appear at the top, and then focus on answering questions in the content you create. Have Meta descriptions and title tags on the content you create. Ideally, make it a rule to address and answer questions on the first line you write down in your blogs and landing pages.

Final Thoughts 

Voice search has changed a lot of things that every digital marketer should look forward to knowing. If you have a website or are running an online store, you need to learn some tips on optimizing your website for voice search.

Today, voice search is clearly on the rise as most people, especially the younger generation, feel more comfortable using voice search. Your customers are likely to use voice search when placing orders or to search your business on Google.

Therefore, as a business, you need to employ the tips shared in this article to optimize your site for voice search. This is probably not the time to hesitate on whether to implement voice search on your website or not because it is the future of search.

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