What Can You Do to Optimise for Voice Search in 2019?

By 02/07/2019Blog, SEO

From Siri, Alexa to Google; voice search is becoming part of our daily lives. In fact, according to PWC, 71% of tech users would rather use their voice assistant to search for something rather than physically typing in text.

With this in mind, for any business, it’s critical that you consider the rise in voice search when looking to improve the visibility of your website.

While Google’s Hummingbird update was way back in 2013, the algorithm has become astonishingly more relevant, as it’s aimed to emphasize natural language processing, considering the users’ intent.

Since this update, voice searches have been found to be returning more relevant answers. This is obvious as with voice search, people typically ask long questions which they would normally speak.

You may be wondering why this is important to your website, and your business, but if your business is reliant on a healthy amount of organic traffic, you may want to consider how you can become dominant in the ever-growing voice search results.

Get Yourself ‘Featured’

You may already be aware of the ‘Featured Snippet’ on Google’s search listings, but this key feature is digital real estate that can generate some serious traffic.

In a nutshell, a featured snippet is a quick answer or a summary of an answer from a web page.

Nicknamed ‘Position Zero’, snippets appear just after paid ads, but before normal organic listings, pulling in the most relevant content.

At present 30% of 1.4 million queries in Google return a featured snippet, so if your website can gain a snippet for a relevant search query you’ll be skyrocketing your position in the SERP’s, and with it your traffic.

Know Your User Intent

There is an intention behind every search, and by understanding this it can tell us the key reasons for their query.

Sometimes this intent is obvious or expressed within the query, with words such as “how”, “buy”, “what”, “price”, etc. But there are other times when we cannot fully understand the intention.

The more we understand a users intent behind the search, the more we can create content that answers their query. So, the more we understand about our audience, the more we can ensure a website is serving the user.

The biggest question you need to ask yourself is; Do you know how people are finding your website?

Thankfully, Google can now provide us with some of the keywords people are using to find a website’s content with the use of Google Search Console.

This is a great starting point for understanding how people are finding you in the first place.

From this data, you can then begin to think about the users intent when you are creating content. The more relevant your pages to specific search queries, the more you’re going to start coming up in the voice SERPs. This is especially true if you’re looking to secure that featured snippet.

Be Conversational

Voice search is powered by artificial intelligence, which means in a very scary way, it becomes more intelligent with every conversation.

Compared to text queries, when we search by voice we use long sentences as we would in a conversation. Whereas before you may have been trying to target short-tail keywords with your content, the phrases you now need to target are much longer and less based around individual keywords.

With this in mind, it’s crucial to write in a way that you would naturally speak.

By adopting a long-tail keyword or phrase strategy, you not only help your traditional SEO, but it will begin to support your website in becoming optimised for voice search.

Enhance Your Speed

You should now be well aware that Page Speed impacts your position in Google SERPs, but this counts even more so when you look to enhance your website for voice search.

When we search by voice we want a quick answer, so if your website is taking too long to load, it’s not going to be selected for voice queries.

Simply put, Google wants to provide the user with an answer as quickly as possible. Which means a poor site speed is going to hold you back in being selected for voice search.

You can check your current site speed using Google’s Page Speed Test. This will then provide you with a detailed report on the issues you need to address.

Make It Local

In a report by BrightLocal, 58% of consumers use voice search to find local businesses.

This should come as no surprise, as how many times have you said the words “near me” when asking Siri or Alexa for a recommendation?

Whether you’re searching for a restaurant or a decorator. We’ve become acutely aware as users that we want to find things that are local to us or near us when we’re out and about. And Google is well aware of this.

In fact, Google has disclosed that “near me” searches have grown more than 130% year on year. If you haven’t already begun to make your website localised, now is the time to adopt a local SEO strategy.

You can start this by creating your Google Business Listing and ensuring your address and location is clearly detailed in your website footer. From there, you can then start looking at the type of localised content you can include on your website.

No matter how you look at it, voice search is going to only grow in the future, and that means it will also become ever more relevant in the way we build and optimise our websites for users. Start getting the basics right now, and you will capture new enquiries and new visitors as your business moves forward.

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Zak Jacobs

About Zak Jacobs

Zak Jacobs is the Director of UK Digital Agency Red Alien. An experienced digital marketing professional, passionate about online integrity, user experience, and performance marketing strategies.