“Ok Google, how do I optimise my website for voice search?”

What does the future hold for voice search, and how do we make sure our websites are ready for it?

What is voice search?

Mobile devices, smartphone, smartwatches, and smart home devices featuring digital voice search assistants such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant are invading our lives.

The marketing analytics company comScore estimates that by 2020, 50% of all internet searches will be done by voice.

These advances mean the way people search online is changing, and increasingly people are using voice search on their smartphones, voice assistants, and even desktops.

So, how can you make sure that your website is fully optimised for voice search?

Page speed

One of the main reasons thought to be causing the increase in the use of voice search is the speed at which you can get an answer.

People no longer have to lift a finger in order to find out what the weather is like outside, and ultimately, for most people, asking a question verbally is quicker than having to type it. When you ask Google Assistant a question, you don’t want to stand around waiting for the device to spit out an answer. You want your answer ASAP.

So of course, for this reason, page speed is even more important when it comes to voice search.

Page speed should always be important, but it has been found that the typical loading speed of voice search results is more than 50% faster than most webpages.

FAQ Page

Think about it. Most of the time we use voice search, it’s to ask a question. By answering these questions on an FAQ page you’re more likely to rank in the results for them.

One difference here, compared to normal search, is that you should aim for natural-sounding questions and phrases instead of the SEO-keyword phrases you’re used to using.

And to add another complication into the mix, consider answering more specific questions. Instead of “How to fix my roof”, try offering quick succinct answers to “should I repair my thatched roof or replace it with tiles?”.

Short form content

FAQ pages quite often become featured snippets. For this reason having strong short-form answers is really important. Google prefers short, concise answers for voice search queries. The typical voice search result is only 29 words in length. So, if you’re optimizing your content to rank in these results, make your answer as short as possible to increase the chances of it becoming a featured snippet (featured snippets make up more than 40% of all voice search results).

But this doesn’t mean that the whole page has to be short-form. The more words on your page, the more opportunities there are to “match” as a voice search result. For that reason, longer content will give you more chances to rank for voice searches.

Natural language

People search differently using voice search. Instead of asking for “shoe shops near me” they’re more likely to say “where’s the nearest shoe shop?”.

Because of this, in order to increase your chances of ranking for voice search, you want to ensure that the language you’re using is as natural as possible, without seeming completely informal.

You want the page to match with the questions asked, without seeming strange or overly casual when read as text.

Attract local searches

22% of voice search queries are looking for local content. If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business (GMB) Listing yet, do it now!

GMB is a great way for Google to find out more information about your business, like the category of business you’re in, your address, phone number, business hours, and more. Having your GMB listing claimed and up to date can help increase your chances of showing up when a voice search is done relating to your local business, location, or business category.

On top of this, if you regularly update your website with relevant local information, you’re much more likely to rank when someone nearby searches for your services.

Voice Search is here to stay

Competing for the top spots in voice search results is only going to get harder.

Ultimately, if you or your local business have been shrugging off voice search as a fad, it’s time to start taking it seriously.

If you need a hand optimising your website for voice search, get in touch with Dentons Digital today.

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About The Author

Tony Heywood

Tony Heywood

Tony manages the Search Marketing Team at Dentons Digital. He has over 15 years’ experience in SEO and is passionate about helping businesses grow online.  Tony is Google Analytics Qualified and loves website data, behavioural economics and UX. He is also part time football coach and local community radio DJ.

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