Voice search is on the rise today. It is a big trend that has not surprisingly won the hearts of millions of people: hands-free search is much more convenient than typing since all you need to do is to say your query out loud clearly and the voice assistant does the rest.
If you are wondering how to optimize your website for the voice search era, this article will come in handy.
Voice Search Technology: What It Is and How It Works
First and foremost, let’s define what voice search is. In simple terms, it’s a technology that allows users to perform different types of voice commands. Whether you are surfing the Internet or making a search on a website or an app, you are using speech rather than typing.
If we dig deeper into voice search history, we find out that Google launched this technology in 2009. Since its launch, the popularity of voice search has increased rapidly, and the number of various voice recognition devices keeps growing. Today, popular search engines like Google, Amazon, Apple, etc., compete for the most sophisticated voice search technology as users of different ages and locations are getting used to talking with their smartphones and making queries via voice assistants.
Voice search technology works as follows: when a person asks a question, the virtual assistant first transcribes the human speech into text. Then the text is analyzed for queries. After that, the virtual assistant searches for relevant information in external data sources and finally translates the data back to the user by either performing a specific command or speaking back to them.
The Importance of Voice Search Optimization
Voice search optimization is an integral part of an effective SEO strategy in 2022. Implementing this technology is critical for almost any successful business as it helps potential clients who perform diverse voice search commands find your website easier.
Below, we’ve gathered some fascinating facts and interesting statistics that support the above statement:
- As of 2021, nearly one-third of all US consumers own at least one smart speaker. (Statista, 2022)
- 33,2 million US consumers are expected to shop using a smart speaker in 2022. (Emarketer, 2020)
- 25% of people globally now use voice search on their mobiles. (ThriveMyWay, 2022)
- By 2023, nearly 8 billion devices will provide voice assistants (Statista, 2022)
- By 2028, the voice recognition market is expected to surpass $10 billion globally. (GMI, 2021)
As you can see, voice search matters a lot, and the sooner you implement this technology into your business, the better. So, let’s jump right to the most efficient voice search optimization tips.
4 Effective Ways to Prepare for the Voice Search Era
Invest in Content Optimization
As it was already mentioned, when looking for different services and products, some people prefer spoken search commands to typing their queries into a browser. Besides, when targeting strategic keywords and phrases you want to rank for on regular search, you must ensure that your website pages are able to rank in voice search results.
There is no denying this takes extra effort from SEOs and web marketers, as they need to create website content that can answer very specific user queries in order to be easily found via voice search. Let’s jump right to the most critical factors you need to consider when optimizing your content for voice search.
Make your content readable
When filling in your website with text and content, readability is key. We suggest using straightforward language that is easy to understand.
Since sentence length is one of the key factors that determine text readability, focus on
breaking up longer sentences into shorter ones — this will make reading smoother. This also applies to paragraphs—3-5-sentence paragraphs are ideal for readability.
Using headers and bullet points is also highly recommended as they help to organize your content and make it more structured. This helps the reader to grasp the bigger picture of what your content is about after just skimming your page.
An additional tip here is to incorporate conversational language while keeping your content easy to read. When creating content, think about phrases from everyday speech that your potential customers might use when they look for your products or services. Such conversational language can formally qualify as long-tail keywords in SEO terms.
Focus on long-tail keywords
Focusing on long-tail keywords is essential to optimize your website for voice search. Long-tail keywords contain three to five words and they are more specific than generic terms. They are also less competitive. Phrases such as: "How to become a web developer," "What is front end development," and "How to develop a web application" are some examples of long-tail keywords related to web development.
The fastest way to get a list of relevant long-term keywords is by using a dedicated tool. Since keyword research is a core part of website optimization, it’s a good idea to find SEO software that has this keyword feature. For instance, the keyword generator tool by SE Ranking makes finding the right keywords to target easier while providing you with useful data. SE Ranking’s keyword tool helps thoroughly analyze any keyword, find its long-tail variations, and check its competition and search volume.
To generate a list of long-tail keywords with SE Ranking, enter your basic search query, go to the Keyword Suggestions tab, and press on Filter. Next, define the word count starting with at least three words. Finally, you may include some question words for better results. After the filter is configured, press Apply filters and you will get the list of long-tail keywords for your topic along with the keyword difficulty and other metrics.
Incorporate Structured Data
Incorporation of structured data into your website pages is another great way to help search engines know your content better and favor it in voice search. Up to 37% of voice search results come from pages that use schema markup structured data.
When a website has a structured data schema markup, it becomes easier for search engines to find the needed information, e.g. company name, address, phone number, price and availability of the product, preparation and cooking time for a specific recipe, movie rating, book review, etc. All this information is vital for users performing local voice search (e.g. looking for nearby dentistry) or those choosing a movie/book via voice search.
Finally, consider using speakable markup, which was explicitly designed for voice search answers. It enables users to identify those parts of content written well for audio playbacks, including text-to-speech (TTS). With the help of this markup, Google can quickly identify content to playback to the user that will sound natural.
Add an FAQ Section
An FAQ section increases the chances of your answer being the one provided to users who perform a voice search query around a given topic. Since most users browse the Internet using the five W’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why), the FAQ section helps search engines to pull answers for popular google voice searches in 2022.
Focus on creating FAQs that read and sound conversational rather than formal. By structuring it correctly on your website, there is a much better chance you will get featured snippets from Google.
To come up with the questions for this section, use the keyword research described earlier. To find more options, go to Google, enter your search query, and find the People also ask section. There will be questions related to your keyword (“web development” in our case).
Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
According to statistics, 85% of all voice-powered searches are made with smartphones. Google has also shifted to the mobile-first indexing approach in 2019. That is why it’s extremely important to keep an eye on how well a resource is optimized for mobile devices. We recommend making your website mobile-friendly by using responsive design and working on Core Web Vitals and site speed, including compressing media and script files.
The first step in making your website mobile-friendly is to implement responsive design. This is a design pattern that involves displaying an adjusted interface of your website based on the screen size of your users. You still have the same URL and code for both desktop and mobile versions. Also, make sure that your mobile users see all the content properly and can complete common tasks on a smartphone.
Use the “meta name="viewport" tag to adapt content dimensions and scaling depending on a device’s screen size. This way, data is served to users in a readable and easy-to-interact-with format.
In the last couple of years, using Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) framework was required for a website to enter the top results on mobile search. But now, other technologies have significantly moved forward and Google has revoked this requirement. Instead, the Core Web Vitals (CWV), which are calculated for a mobile device separately, have become a ranking factor.
CWV are a set of metrics designed to estimate a webpage’s user experience:
- loading (Largest Contentful Paint),
- interactivity (First Input Delay),
- and visual stability (Cumulative Layout Shift).
You can access the data about each of them through Google Search Console. Also, you can use tools like web.dev to check the CWV and speed index in real-time.
Another thing to keep in mind is compressing media files to improve the website’s speed on mobiles. For example, with special tools, image size can be reduced without any loss in its dimensions and quality. It makes it easier for browsers to load a page, especially when a visitor uses mobile internet where the connection quality may vary.
Optimize for Local Search Intent
Optimizing your website for local SEO is a must if you want to target local traffic. According to Bright Local, 76% of smart speaker owners use local voice search at least once a week. Most users performing a voice search based on their location are at the final stage of their research process.
For your website to appear in the voice search results when a user looks for a keyword with the phrase "Near Me," search engines must know your location and the services offered in that location. Ensure that your website content is localized and up to date, including consistent NAP information, accurate opening hours, and prices. Authentic customer reviews will help boost visibility and enhance your business reputation.
Also, focus on creating location-specific content for areas your business is targeting. That way, you’ll have more chances to appear at the top of voice-generated search results pages.
Optimizing your website for voice search is ideal for boosting your brand's visibility and making your website rank higher. Since this trend has continued to rise in the last decade, implementing voice search technology is perfect for ensuring your SEO strategy is thorough and competitive with others in your industry.
To sum up, investing in content optimization by simplifying your website content and making it more conversational might help. Also, don't forget about long-tail keywords — their usage pays off. Such tools as speakable markup, accelerated mobile pages, and the FAQ section are also beneficial.
Now that you're equipped with the most helpful voice search optimization tips, you can begin to use them to give your business the boost it needs.
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