Google Assistant can pause the movies you watch on Netflix. It tells jokes and knows on which Sunday the shops will be open. Moreover, it also supports Voice Search which is supposed to become the most popular searching method by 2025 (the sources of the data listed in the entry). So what to do to have your website displayed in Voice Search?
The London-based Quoracreative agency predicts that by 2020 half of all searches on the web will be made via voice input and in the case of ⅓ of them no screen will be needed at all. Teenagers are expected to constitute the biggest group using Voice Search as 55% of them already do it on a daily basis. On the other hand, WARC reports that by 2025, 72% of users will be browsing the Internet with their mobile devices (most of them using Voice Search). Well, it seems that Voice Search is the future of the web and SEO at the same time.
Why should you optimize your website for Voice Search?
Optimizing your website for Voice Search gives you such possibilities as:
- better visibility on mobile devices,
- better visibility of the website in local search results,
- the website being displayed as a direct answer,
- an increased number of long tail and natural phrases the site is displayed on,
- better access for the disabled (blind, visually impaired and handicapped people).
SEO vs. Voice Search – which optimizations are worth taking care of?
In one of the articles, Neil Patel mentioned 3 features of Voice Search:
- It contains very natural and long phrases (often in the form of questions),
- It concerns local search results,
- VS users expect to receive the results right away.
These 3 tips result in optimizations which are necessary if you want your website to be displayed in Voice Search. So what should you do?
1. Improve the loading time of the mobile version of your website
If Voice Search is done mainly with the use of mobile devices, there is no other alternative than to improve the loading time of your site. You’ll always benefit from such an improvement and it’s a real must when it comes to Voice Search. You can check the loading time of your website using tools like PageSpeed Insights, Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool or GTMetrix. If it turns out that you need to change something because your site loads too slowly, these tools will suggest you what should be done next.
2. Remember about mobile UX
If the mobile version of your website isn’t accessible (despite the fact that it seems to be responsive), users will probably leave it very quickly. This in turn, will increase your rejection rate and prevent your site from being displayed high for Voice Search queries. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test will enable you to check if your website is suitable for smartphones and tablets.
3. Optimize your content for featured snippets
Featured snippets are Google’s recommended responses that are displayed directly in the search results. It’s so called “position #0” which can be in a form of a direct answer. Although they don’t generate impressive traffic to the website, they can significantly increase brand recognition. Apart from that featured snippets are very helpful for users, especially when they’re browsing the net with mobile devices. If you want to find out more, go to our previous article on On-SERP SEO.
4. Take advantage of long tail phrases that sound natural
To put it simply, voice searches are about speech, therefore they sound natural. It also often happens that they’re in a form of long and colloquial sentences. So if you aim at optimizing your website for mobile search, make sure your content consists of long tail phrases, questions and more importantly, answers.
5. Arrange the structural data on the website
Schema, which is the structural data, helps to arrange the content on your website. This in turn, makes it easier for Google robots to analyze your texts and as a consequence, your website may be displayed in the search results as featured snippets. If you want to learn more about marking up your content items, go to Google’s guides for web developers.
6. Hone your Google My Business profile
A great part of mobile searches are the local ones. They can be constructed as “a bakery close to me” or “the best florist in Chicago”. If you want to be displayed in the search results for these queries, you need to optimize your Google My Business listing. It’s also a good idea to complement your contact tab with detailed information on the location of your company.
7. Introduce and improve the FAQ section on your website
Since voice searches can also be in the form of questions, maybe it’s worth introducing and improving the FAQ section on your website. Thanks to that, visitors of your site will be able to quickly and easily find all the information that is of interest to them. An effective FAQ page on the one hand will facilitate communication with the users and on the other, it’ll be a natural way to incorporate phrases structured like questions into your website.
8. Publish blog posts that are suitable for mobile devices
The fact that users on the Internet watch and browse through the content rather than read it has been known for a long time (it’s been analyzed by Nielsen Norman Group, among others). What does it mean? Well, you need to remember about infographics, checklists and summaries while writing your articles. The content must be structured in a way that immediately gives answers to questions asked in the title or the lead paragraph. Additionally:
- keep it simple,
- use headlines to keep the structure of your article clear,
- highlight the most important elements,
- use graphics to mark quotes.
You also need to accept that although very few people read the whole entry, you still need to work on it in order to make it as good as possible.
9. Include Call to Action in the meta description
Even if you aren’t displayed on the highest positions of Voice Search but you’re still in the top 10, you can attract users to your website. How? Just include attractive CTA, together with keywords, in your meta description. But what does it mean to be attractive in this context? Well, such Call to Action should show the users what can be found on the site and why it’s worth entering this particular post.
Voice Search – what will it change?
Voice Search affects primarily how the long tail phrases are constructed. But… the other way round…
Search queries structured as questions influence Voice Search and keywords chosen for a given website. We can assume that the more popular Google Assistant gets, the more the search language will resemble the natural speech used on a daily basis.
It’s possible that the word order in long tail phrases will also change. As a result, instead of “women’s heels with a round red upper” we’ll have “red women’s heels with a round upper”. And instead of “cheap breakfast New York” – “where to eat a cheap breakfast in New York”. At least that’s what linguists and editors dream about 🙂
Voice Search will also significantly increase the importance of “position #0”, direct answers and phrases matching local search.
To keep it brief – a website optimized for Voice Search has:
- quick loading time,
- a transparent mobile version,
- content optimized for direct answers in the SERPs,
- long key phrases that sound natural,
- implemented structural data (schema),
- an optimized Google My Business listing,
- the FAQ section,
- CTA in the meta description,
- blog posts tailored to browsing on mobile devices.