The year is 2021, and voice search is here to stay. If you’re not optimizing your website for voice searches, you may be missing out on traffic and sales.
Google has reported that over 27% of the online global population is using voice search on mobile.
Voice search is used on mobile phones, laptops, desktops, smart speakers, and devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home. No matter your feelings towards voice search, it’s essential to ensure that your business is in the best possible position to leverage voice search to help find customers online.
This article will explain the steps you can take to ensure that your website shows up in voice searches and gets the traffic that it deserves.
Here we go, voice search SEO
Can you optimize your website for voice search?
Unfortunately, optimizing for voice search isn’t black or white. But just like other search results, there are things that you can do to increase your chances of being seen in voice searches. But, just because you do these things doesn’t guarantee that you’ll hear your content coming out of Siri’s mouth.
The good news: The following action points that we give you in this article are the same basic local SEO techniques you need to utilize, so there’s no harm in learning them.
Now for the techniques.
How to Increase your chances of being found in Voice Searches
There are several ways to increase your chances of surfacing for voice search queries. What follows are some of the easiest ways to increase your chances of appearing in voice search.
Keep your business listing up-to-date and optimized.
As part of any local SEO strategy, you should be updating your local business listings, especially your Google My Business Listing (GMB). If you’re hoping to rank in voice search results, it’s now more important than ever to:
- Keep your listings active
- Keep your listings info up-to-date
- Promptly respond to reviews
- Create posts with localized content.
The more complete your local listings are, the more likely Google and other search engines are to rank it well.
Check your business’s local listings now with our free local SEO tool.
Write and publish relevant content.
Another easy way to show up at the top in voice search queries is to match your searcher’s intent. This is done by finding out what questions your target audience is already asking.
Whether the questions are about your business, your industry, or your competitors, knowing them allows you to write and publish relevant content that answers them.
Keep your content concise
Searching by voice makes it easy for users to search while they’re on the go. Because of these on-the-go searches, your website must give your visitors exactly what they’re looking for.
Whether they’re in the car or at the gym, users don’t have the luxury of time or the ability to scroll long web pages to find what they’re looking for. Whether it’s Siri or Alexa, these voice search assistants will be looking for the most accurate and discoverable solution, so make sure that your content is clear and concise.
Fact: Answers that are read aloud by voice search engines tend to hover around the 40-50 word mark, so try to keep your content short and sweet.
Research and make use of long-tail keywords
Most voice search queries are questions. Create content and optimize it for long-tail keywords so that you’ll be more positioned to answer these questions.
Research long-tail keywords that are commonly found in questions that your target audience may ask.
Pro tip: You can gain valuable insight by using Google’s autocomplete or “people also ask” functions. There are also third-party tools such as Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Answer the Public.
Armed with these long-tail keywords, you can make sure to insert them into your site’s content. Avoid keyword stuffing, and make sure that the phrases use natural language.
In other words, your content should read how people speak.
Make FAQ pages and mark them up with Schema.
If you don’t already have a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on your website, stop what you’re doing and make one right now.
Are you done yet?
Because voice search typically involves conversational language, mimic the phrases and tone on your FAQ page.
FAQs provide answers in a concise manner, which is precisely what voice search looks for.
Once you’ve created and optimized your FAQ page, you should implement FAQ Schema. Marking up your FAQ page can help you land rich results that rank for voice searches and dominate the search engine results pages (SERPS).
Try to land featured snippets.
Another way to rank for voice searches is by having your pages show up in featured snippets. When we’re talking about pages, we mean all of the pages that aren’t your FAQ page.
Now, the relevance of featured snippets remains a highly-debated topic since Google’s deduplication update. However, they still are helpful when it comes to Alexa, Siri, or Google Home reading out results.
According to Google, if you don’t have featured snippets, you won’t be able to rank for voice search queries at all.
Be discoverable across the internet.
Another tenet of voice search optimization is something that you should already be doing: ensuring a robust online presence.
Create a solid online presence by having accurate citations (online references) that include your business NAP:
- Phone Number
Ensure that these three things are consistent across the web, as voice assistants use these citations to provide answers to local searches and rely on them for brand searches.
If you don’t already have a plan of action for building citations for your website, you should consider coming up with one. Or, at the very least, check where your business appears and the accuracy of those listings.
Some of the most important directories where you should create, cite, update, and optimize your business information are:
- Google My Business (GMB)
- Apple Maps
If you’re just starting out with Local SEO, Google My Business is the best place to begin.
Claiming your business is the only way you’ll show up in Google’s Local Pack, Google Maps, and Local Finder.
Plus, it’s free!
By claiming your free business listing (which includes your company’s NAP, business hours, payment methods, etc.), you’ll have one more tool in your arsenal to grab your audience’s attention and be ranked higher by search engines.
If you want to take your GMB to the next level, learn how to boost your Google My Business profile.
Use Schema markup
We realize that we said this earlier, but it bears repeating. Here’s another way to say it:
If you’re not using Schema on your website is like trying to compete in the Indy 500 with four flat. Sure, you may finish the race, but you’ll be way behind the competition.
What is Schema markup?
Schema is an HTML markup that web admins can provide that tells search engines what the content of a webpage or page is. Schema markup plays a significant part in search engines and voice assistants providing results to searchers.
Why is Schema markup necessary?
Search engines continue to try different approaches on how they can display rich results. If you have Schema markup on your site’s pages, you have a greater chance of being featured in the coveted “Position Zero” on the SERPs.
Plus, Schema markup helps search engines better understand what a website is about and your company’s services.
If your site has structured data on it, it has a higher likelihood of showing up in voice queries.
When search engine bots (spiders, crawlers, etc.) index your website and find structured data on it, they have more information that they can use to understand its content.
Pro tip: Make sure to employ Local Business Schema on your homepage to reinforce your digital footprint and increase your relevance and geographic accuracy.
The tips mentioned above for optimizing your website and business listing for voice search should already be at the forefront of your marketing campaigns (if you’re serious about Local SEO).
Whether you agree with the importance of voice searches or think it’s just a fad, it’s already a vital part of the local search landscape, and your competitors are in a better position to serve your customers if you’re not prepared for it.
It’s safe to say that voice search is a significant part of the future at the rate it’s growing. With the number of people using voice search increasing daily, you should embrace it and prepare and you’ll reap the benefits before your competition does.
If you need help optimizing your website for voice search, or would rather hiring an SEO professional to do it for you, fill out the form below, call us at (225) 505-3834, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.