Speech recognition technology has come a long way since its first incarnations. Nowadays, voice search features on smartphones are commonplace and more people are beginning to use said features to perform their shopping inquiries.
This rise in the adoption of voice search means that modern business need to incorporate voice search in their SEO strategies less they miss out on a major marketing opportunity. In order to stay ahead, many businesses rely on the consultancy of a professional SEO agency that can perform optimization work on their behalf.
For SEO practitioners, this rise in voice search represents a major game-changer. Now, natural speech patterns need to be accounted for when researching relevant keywords, as people begin to speak to search engines as they would to a real person.
Naturally, Google has the most advanced voice search tool as it closely developed in conjunction with its world leading search engine. With an accuracy rate of up to 95% and a 4.9% error rate, Google Assistant is becoming a tool used more and more habitually by smartphone users.
The voice search battleground is far more competitive than traditional search as the amount of results served by a voice assistant will be significantly less than if the query had been typed out. This is because many voice assistants seek to provide an enhanced user experience by reading back top results or displaying a featured snippet.
Experts predict that by 2020 around 50% of all searches will be performed by voice. This makes it essential for businesses to start transitioning to a voice focused SEO strategy so that they can get ahead of their competition.
Let’s take a look at some general steps you can take to begin optimizing for voice search.
Improve the speed of your website
Since the majority of voice searches are being performed with mobile devices, voice search optimization also entails mobile friendly optimization. This is because people searching with voice are doing so because it’s faster than typing their query, so naturally they want the results they get to load quickly.
Failing to optimize pageload time invites visitors to leave as quickly as they arrive. The modern internet user is impatient and fickle at best, so you can’t expect them to tolerate a slow loading page just because your product or service is fantastic.
Keep your business listings consistent
Voice assistants are tailored to crawl business listings in order to serve the best result to users. Therefore it’s essential that your business’ listings are up to date and consistent across all platforms.
Focus on content that answers questions
Regarding the creation of an effective content strategy, you need to account for the conversational phrasing of the majority of voice search queries.
41% of voice search users report that they speak to their voice assistant as if they were speaking to a friend. They are not simply saying a pair of keywords in order to prompt the most authoritative result; they are asking sincere questions in a conversational way.
This means that your content development should focus on answering the kinds of questions people would ask their voice assistant about your business or industry.
When you optimize for rank #0 or ‘featured snippets’, you are also optimizing for voice search. Roughly 40.7% of the answers provided by voice search come in the form of featured snippets.
Try the following measures with your content strategy:
- Focus on answering popular questions (a FAQ page is a great example of how to do this)
- Make the content easy to read, without using too much over-sophisticated language
- Make sure the content is fresh and updated regularly with new information
- Make sure questions are marked in <h2> heading tags so that the search engine crawls them first
- If you have any questions in your Google My Business Q&A section, answer them
- Try and craft questions that will help influence the buying decision, think about providing answers that would convince someone to complete the transaction
If you need some inspiration on what audiences want to know about your business, take a look at any reviews you have. From here you can infer what factors the customer thought were most important to satisfy and make sure they are answered on your website.
Are you ready to optimize for voice search?
While the topic of how to optimize for voice search is still being debated and discussed, the above tips should set you on the right track with regards to your future SEO strategy.