Are you optimising your website for voice search?

Now that one fifth of all searches are using voice search, it’s probably time you did.

People are talking to Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.

Voice search is used on the go, with friends and even in the bathroom!

Amazon echo voice search

The Amazon Echo has been one of the best selling products over the last few years, and in fact in 2016 it was Amazon’s single most best selling product.

If you don’t know what the Echo is, it’s basically a listening robot you can ask questions whenever you want.

I have an Echo although I know that my children shouting song requests to it isn’t really using it to its full potential. It can do all sorts like turn your lights on and off an order your shopping.

But, I am a heavy user of voice search on my mobile. I rarely type a search into my mobile and instead click on the microphone to use ask Google all sorts of things.

Let’s set the scene and describe a typical scenario where voice search is used…

Greace pink ladies

You’re voice searching for ‘an accountant in Brighton’ or ‘where can I buy a pink lady jacket for a movie star fancy dress party’ (yes, I did this search just last night) and hey presto, Google has the answer.

There are two attributes which are typical of voice search. One, you’re looking for a local business and two, you have an immediate need for something and have a very high intent to purchase.

See why you shouldn’t be ignoring voice search?

If you’re looking for local web traffic and provide a service often searched by users with a ‘near me’ phrase, chances are you’re customers are using voice search.

The Internet Trends Report 2016 found that 22% of people use voice search for finding local information.

 

But how does the search engine narrow down all the relevant search results into just one answer?

More importantly, how on earth could your website be selected and given to the searcher by Google or Alexa as the answer when asking a question?

 

Let’s think about non-voice search for a moment and how it works.

You type in your search query and Google, Bing or Yahoo gives you pages of web results. Those websites on page one and even more so, in the top few positions have gained their positions over time with SEO (keyword targeting, link-building, blogging etc).

With voice search, you have only one opportunity to be presented to the user.

It’s kind of scary to think how much harder it will be to have visibility with voice search.

But, it’s OK, as long as you accept there is a need to optimise for voice search (rather than burying your head in the sand, thinking it will never catch on) and commit to adding voice search SEO to your marketing strategy.

How to optimise for voice search

Essentially you need a website that deserves to be shared by the search engine with it’s users.

Nothing new here if you want your company website to be ranked in the search results.

But, there are a few extra SEO techniques that can be employed to get your website in a prime position for voice search.

1. Make sure your website is HTTPS

At this point, in 2019, there’s really no reason not to be using encryption on your website. HTTPS is practically mandatory, with most major browsers actively marking HTTP websites as “Not Secure.”

My browser won’t even let me lick onto website that aren’t SSL anymore!

2. Mobile-friendly website

If your website still isn’t mobile-friendly, where have you been hiding these last few years?

Want to test if your website is mobile-friendly? You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.

Website not mobile-friendly? Talk to us about responsive web design.

3. Fast page-loading speed

Like the aforementioned points above, this requirement is nothing new.

Not only does Google want sites to be quick to load, but your users do too.

Google research found out that the average website load time is a snail’s pace 22 seconds! But studies show that just over 50% of website visitors leave a site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds. So it’s safe to say that under 3 seconds is the best.

Check out your website page loading speed on a mobile with Think With Google.

4. Build website authority

Build your website authority with great content, social shares, good user experience and links.

This is SEO. Again, nothing new here.  But, I think the message is that this stuff can no longer be overlooked If you are serious about having an online presence.

If you’re a business (and they do exist) that doesn’t really need to found online, then fair enough, don’t worry about any of this, otherwise, it’s time to wise up and take action.

5. Adding ‘natural language’ content

Understand ‘the natural language’ your audience uses when speaking about your product or service and build your content around that.

Voice queries contain conversational words and are longer. When we use a computer, we use short phrases to find information because it saves physical effort, whilst on mobile, when using voice search, the searches are a conversation with a virtual assistant, so our questions are longer.

Well-written blogs and FAQs that have long been a feature of many websites are now really key to voice search optimisation. But, we’re talking about actual questions asked in natural language, rather than marketing messaging given in another form.

6. Featured Snippets

At Jelly Digital Marketing, we have been using a featured snippet strategy for some of our clients for a while now.  This means that we proactively look for opportunities for your business to rank as a featured snippet and build appropriate content for it.

Example of a featured snippet on google

A featured snippet is where your content appears above the fold, above organic and paid ads – it’s the ultimate position to have on Google and known as position zero.

7. Google My Business listing

There are two ways that users search for a local business.

“Thai restaurant in Worthing”
“Thai restaurant near me”

For the ‘near me’ searches, Google uses the Google My Business (businesses on Google maps) listings to pull its results.

Google My Business Reviews for builders in worthing

This is why it’s important to claim and use your Google My Business listing. It’s no longer enough to claim it, add your NAP (name, address, phone number) and then forget all about it.

To optimise your listing and therefore increase your chances of being shown in the local pack (3 businesses shown in a box above the organic results), there are many things you can do, as discussed in this video post.

Conclusion

The future of voice search is unpredictable, but with one in five using voice search now, it would be foolish to think it can be ignored.

Voice search optimisation makes your content closer to human language, so this can only be a good thing anyway, right? We all want businesses to be more human. It’s those businesses that talk our language that become brands we love.

Right now is the perfect time to jump on-board with Jelly Digital Marketing to take control of your SEO voyage and gain an edge over your competition.

Call us on 01273 241 021 or get in touch by email.

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