Overview: Discover how voice search affects the SEO of websites and how they might be making a difference in your site’s traffic.
If you use Siri on your phone, or digital assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, you’ve probably experienced voice search. It’s so convenient to get information from a device by verbally asking a question instead of typing out your query. When you conduct a voice search, the device usually provides a direct answer or cites information found on a website. There are a lot of these devices in use now, so they’ve inevitably become entwined with the world of SEO. A decade ago, you would define SEO to a layperson as the way website owners use a combination of backlinks, search-friendly keywords, and text to drive traffic to their sites. Fast-forward to the present day: A considerable amount of web traffic and online business is driven by searches initiated by a voice prompt. But where does the device get the information, and how does the voice search process affect search engine optimization? We’re glad you asked!
How Does Voice Search Impact SEO?
Voice search optimization involves evaluating your website and streamlining content to increase your likelihood of appearing in voice searches. Since voice search works differently than the traditional search method, this process specifically allows your website to get discovered and read by voice search devices — such as Alexa, Google Home, and Siri — whenever someone is looking for information related to the products or services that you offer.
If you own a device that allows for it, you know that voice search is handy for those moments when you need an answer but your hands are occupied with household tasks. It’s a lot easier to shout out your question than it is to wait until you’ve put down your grocery bags or dried your hands! A survey by Search Engine Journal claims that over 40% of consumers use voice search features when searching for an online business, service, or other information. This is a huge number, and if you haven’t optimized your website accordingly, you’re missing your website traffic.
Voice search is helpful for location-based businesses: Creating content geared to be find-able and consumable via voice search is more important to some users than others. The rising popularity of voice search allows location-based businesses, especially, to become more accessible to potential customers. These types of companies or service providers have the upper hand in optimizing their online presence to be discoverable via an online search.
A user picks up their phone and asks Siri to find a nearby pizza shop, and Siri will immediately search in the user’s geographical vicinity. This is a great way for the pizza shop to get noticed quickly, especially when you consider the days when our only choice was to browse through dozens of Yelp listings — or the older days, when we had to flip through dozens of listings in the Yellow Pages! It’s convenient compared to those who might navigate Google Maps or Yelps and do a text search for pizza delivery.
Voice technology saves time: Mobile app developers prefer using voice technology as it’s fast and saves time. Companies hire iOS app developers who understand technological advancements and various factors that assist SEO ranking. Since speech recognition technology produces speedier results than typing on smartphones or computers, many people prefer using the voice search option.
Voice technology is a natural extension of human speech: No matter how tech-centered we become, the most operative, natural, and reliable method of human communication is the spoken word. While there are still some challenges associated with voice technology regarding hardware picking up accents, alternative pronunciations, and background noise, these systems are improving each year and adapting to users’ needs.
Tips for Voice Search Friendly Website:
Voice search will become even more pervasive in the future, according to Keval Baxi, the CEO of UX design firm Codal. To meet the increasing demand, Baxi further states, marketers and designers must focus on voice to ensure a smooth and natural experience for voice search users. When optimizing your website for voice search, you should ensure that your responses are conversational, actionable, and easy to understand. Baxi further stated the six things brands must do when optimizing their websites for voice search:
Use conversational keywords: We all know that short and vague keywords are the enemy of SEO. Long-tail keywords are much better as they’re specific, natural, and more likely to get hits from customer searches. The best way to optimize your website is to use whole phrases or questions that sound like they could be part of conversations between actual humans.
Transfer queries into questions: Instead of using the keyword “burger” for your fast food cafe, consider using a phrase instead — such as “Where can I find good burgers near me?” Put yourself in the position of the user and think about how they’re likely to phrase their questions.
Keep the flow natural: This is a good general SEO rule of thumb. The key to user-friendly content isn’t to write buzz words. Overstuffed content with excessive use of keywords kills the flow and makes your page harder to read. Don’t use your keyword in each sentence – instead, use it in a natural flow that doesn’t look odd to the user’s eyes.
Maintain a mobile-friendly website: This one is especially relevant for grabbing users who are doing voice searches on their phones. In 2019, 61% of Google searches took place on mobile devices. Does that mean that the websites that aren’t mobile-index optimized are losing a huge chunk of traffic? Probably. Google considers mobile users’ experiences an integral part of ranking your website. To land in search results for both voice search and text search, embrace responsive design and search for other ways to make your website mobile-friendly.
Prioritize local SEO: If your business is location-based, this is a must. Local SEO is when you improve search engine visibility for local businesses, such as brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants. To reach your potential clients in nearby areas, it’s important to incorporate local SEO. It’s one of the best techniques to drive traffic and to optimize your website for mobile search. Think about it: When someone conducts a voice search from their smartphones, chances are pretty good that they’re on the go and are looking for nearby options for shopping or food. That’s an opportunity to catch the attention of anyone who happens to be in the city or zip code where you’re located! While there are many ways to improve your local SEO, a valuable step is optimizing and maintaining a Google Business Profile. That will help your odds of showing up in a list of “________ near me” when someone does a Google search on their phone. The search results can let the user know how to find you, your hours, how to contact you, and other useful information.
Related Reading: A comprehensive guide for local SEO in 2022
Use schema markups: Schema markup is a technique that will benefit your website’s on-page SEO in general, not just the voice search. To put it concisely, schema markup is structured data that you add to your website’s HTML to help Google and other ranking engines track your business and increase its visibility in search results. These schema markups typically include key information about your business hours, address, contact info, pricing info, reviews, and much more.
It can quite intimidating trying to improve the SEO of your website, especially using newer technologies like voice search that you might not be familiar with. However, with the proper strategies and a bit of hard work, you’ll be able to make your business stand out from your competitors, and you’ll be getting shout-outs from Alexa, Siri, and Google in no time. Need some assistance? MyUnlimitedWP is here to help if you’re looking to create a website that’s user-friendly and easy to find via voice search. We take pride in setting our clients on the path to web traffic success. Visit our website for more details!