Voice search is not going anywhere.
We all remember when Siri was launched, it was more of a gimmick than a useful tool. Well times have changed, and voice search is fast becoming the most convenient way for users to have their queries answered.
The exponential increase of voice assistants on smartphones, tablets, computers, watches and home devices, means that voice search is becoming the most convenient and fastest way for users to search the internet.
- In 2016, Google’s CEO said that voice searches made up one-fifth of total queries on Google.
- In 2017, there were over 33 million people using voice search devices.
- By 2018, 420 million voice assistants had been sold.
- Some are predicting 50% of search will be voice by 2020.
Voice search shows no sign of slowing down and every digital marketer needs to include Voice Search Optimisation as a part of their 2019 SEO strategy.
Here are four ways you can update your SEO strategy to target voice search results:
1. Get on Featured Snippets
Have you ever wondered why some voice search results are read out by the voice assistant, and some aren’t? Featured snippets are the answer.
Featured snippets are the search results that appear at the top on the page in the white box.
These are the results that Google has identified as the correct, succinct and useful answer to your query. It’s known by SEO professionals as “position zero” and if you can get your website listed as a featured snippet, you’ll see some great improvements for your SEO and voice search optimisation.
Google hasn’t clearly outlined how to get to that top spot but here are some tips to keep in mind when creating content.
Answer a Question
People are generally asking questions when using voice search. Use Answer the Public to find common questions and use the exact phrasing with a heading tag in your content.
The More Specific the Better
Try to target specific questions. There will be a lot of competition for broad topics but if you choose a specific question you can deliver a clear answer that Google will value.
Keep Your Answers Concise
Google is looking for a fast and correct answer that can be read out to the user. Avoid long-winded sentences and get to the point as quickly as you can. Use lists if possible.
Optimise the Whole Page
To get on featured snippets, your page already needs to be ranking on the first page of search results. You need to be ticking all the SEO boxes for content, meta tags, title tags and heading tags.
2. Target Your Local Area
Voice search trends show that 39% of voice search users are looking for nearby businesses. Google has introduced both Maps and Google My Business functions in search results to specifically feed this need.
Claim a Google My Business page for your business and add all your details, especially your location and operating hours. Use all the fields possible to give users information about your business.
3. Page Speed is King
Voice search and voice assistants are predominately used on mobile devices so your website needs to be optimised for mobile. This means decreasing your page load times and having a responsive site.
Mobile users are looking for fast, efficient experiences and loading time is a major factor in determining whether they will stay on your site or not. To test if your site is mobile friendly, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
4. Speak Their Language
Google is constantly updating how they interpret search queries in order to give users the best search results. This now includes understanding how people phrase their queries when using voice search as opposed to their keyboard.
Voice searches tend to be long-tail queries as a result of the conversational tone people use when speaking. Voice search is also leading to a wider variety of queries with lower search volume. Take this into consideration when writing your content and try to include multiple phrasings of the question throughout your writing.
Now that voice assistants are here to stay you can’t afford to ignore to influence that voice search will have on future search rankings. Start planning your voice search optimisation now or you may end up missing out on a lot of traffic in the next few years.