Do You Even Voice Search? 2 Ways to Optimize Your Business Website for Voice
Whether you feel silly talking to your phone or not, the statistics indicate a growing number of people are getting rather comfortable with it. Moreover, the people asking search engines their questions out loud are more likely to be on the go – and ready to make a buying decision. If you’ve been skipping over this target audience, you may be missing out big.
Voice search and conversational search, are typically carried out on mobile devices. People are having conversations with their phones instead of typing in keywords. There are a few tweaks you can make to your SEO strategy to begin optimizing for this, and most of them will benefit your SEO across the board.
In this article we’ll reveal two ways you can optimize your business website for voice. If you’re ready to take on the hordes of people using voice search, let’s get to work!
- Voice search keywords can be formed by turning your long-tail keywords into natural spoken phrases or questions.
- Mobile and local search are closely related, and are important due to their high conversion rates.
- Without offering a strong mobile user experience, your site will likely suffer in terms of search engine rankings and bounce rates.
1. Target Spoken Long-Tail Keywords
People speak differently than they type. Typed search terms are typically shorter and don’t make sense as a sentence. For most people, typing takes longer than speaking words out loud, so they abbreviate what they want to say and just type the bare essentials.
Here is an example of what someone might type if they want to know how to cook pasta without heat:
By contrast, this is what they might say if they’re using voice search:
You’ll notice the voice search term is in the format of a complete question. “Cook pasta no heat” just doesn’t sound normal when you say it out loud.
Aside from dealing with different keywords, there are also various systems to consider. Depending on the platform searchers are using, there will be a different set of vocal command tricks. For example, Siri for Apple devices and Cortana for the Android platform each have their own intricacies.
The idea of targeting spoken words might seem overwhelming, but if you’ve been practicing long-tail keywords, you’re already headed in the right direction. When choosing new keywords to optimize for search, be sure to consider the following:
- Each system, like Siri or Cortana, has their own vocal command tricks.
- People tend to use complete questions rather than a few keywords when speaking aloud.
- Voice search keywords might have multiple variations.
A large part of coming up with voice search keywords will simply involve saying lots of questions out loud. Although it might seem odd at first, this strategy will help you build out your semantic keyword list for each of your long-tail keyword targets.
2. Focus on More Local Search Terms
As we alluded to earlier, mobile voice search tends to be locally driven. People often use voice search because of its hands-free element while they’re otherwise occupied. For example, if you’re driving and suddenly remember to pick up chlorine for the pool, you ask your phone “Where is the nearest pool supply store?” Since these searches have a high conversion rate, it’s worth investing more effort in targeting local search terms.
Explore what motivations and situations might be behind your keywords. Using these, you can branch out and think about what other questions people might ask if they’re out on the road looking for answers.
If you’re getting stuck on where to begin building your keyword list you can:
- Examine your business products and services. What questions might people ask about them?
- Check out your existing web analytics. What search terms do people already find your site with?
- Try looking at Google Trends to see if anything in your industry is a popular search term. How can you apply a local voice strategy to those same topics?
Before you know it, you’ll have a long list of local search terms ready to rock.
Bonus: Offer an Outstanding Mobile Experience
A major factor to consider when making changes to your website is overall user experience. As consumer technology changes, so does our presentation. In other words, you need to continue to provide the seamless user experience your customers have come to expect, no matter what device they are using.
Smartphone usage continues to increase rapidly, and both Apple and Android offer decent voice search options. Furthermore, mobile continues to become a stronger ranking factor for companies like Google. That means mobile-friendly design is a necessity if you’re serious about voice search optimization.
Without an excellent mobile experience, you will struggle to rank for mobile voice search in the first place. Moreover, even if visitors do find and click your link, you will find it hard to keep them on your site.
There are many factors that go into providing a great mobile experience. Here are a few tips:
- A simple way to make sure your website is mobile-friendly is to use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Make sure you have a fast-loading website and even consider stripping mobile pages to the bare essentials.
- Always format your content so it is easy to skim.
- Offer a design that provides easy and immediate access to the main content. Don’t use big splash screens or popups.
Following these guidelines is a great start, but there is always room for improvement. Don’t forget to keep learning about responsive design, projects like Google’s Advanced Mobile Pages (AMP), and tools to help you measure how well your site is performing.
If you’re not optimizing for voice search, you are missing out on a huge web traffic source. Thankfully, if you currently follow SEO best practices including optimizing for long-tail keywords, you’ve already begun the process. All you need is a few conversational tweaks!
In this article we’ve revealed three ways you can optimize for voice search. Let’s recap them quickly:
- Target spoken long-tail keywords.
- Focus on more local search terms.
- Offer an outstanding mobile experience.
What questions do you have about optimizing your site for voice search? Let us know in the comments section below!
Solomon Thimothy is the Co-founder of Clickx, a Chicago-based white label digital marketing platform. He has been in the agency space for over a decade and has helped 100s of entrepreneurs build 7 and 8 figure agencies. He helps agency owners on a 1:1 basis to scale sales and fulfillment. Follow him on twitter @sthimothy