Tips & Guides — 06 May 2019
How to Prepare
for Voice Search
Not a long time ago phrases like “Оkay, Google…” was something that only a few people would say. Nowadays it is no longer something rare. Voice search is becoming more and more embedded in everyday usage. It’s convenient and affordable on almost all devices. And the tendency to its usage is only growing up.
According to the search analysis by ComScore, the prediction is that half of all online search queries will be made through voice search by the year 2020. Search engines understand that the way users search information online won’t stay the same, thus at present, they focus a lot on optimizing their algorithms for voice search. These concerns are also shared by every online business. In order to continue showing products to customers, you need to rank your website in the way users can find what they are looking for within a few seconds.
Optimizing the search engine for voice requests doesn’t mean that traditional SEO is in the past. We see a particular environment and products where people tend to rely on voice search more, but the amount of traditional search will remain. Correspondingly owners of any online business, especially B2C, now need to think twice, and have their sites adjusted for both search listings and voice search.
However, the question that bothers all marketers the most is how voice search will influence driving traffic to websites. It remains a debatable question that is still to be answered when the voice-search gains further momentum, but for now, traffic neither directly advances nor declines.
Obviously, it increases brand awareness, as it reads out results from voice search listings and mentions the source of information in the “according to…” way. Further, not all voice searches end up in automatic voice replies. Some users still scroll through search results once they appear. In this way, they traditionally go to websites and increase organic traffic there.
Eventually, if specific actions are triggered, like online sale, app install, media play, web registration, then the main metrics are achieved. So you see, voice search is not the end of the world for online business. Although it does bring some changes when it comes to driving traffic. If you want to remain your position in search rankings and deliver your products or services to customers, you need to adjust your online presence to new rules.
The same as traditional SEO, online voice search opt for websites with fast loading speed. Ensure that everything on your website is optimized for speed up requirements. Organize your website in an XML sitemap, compress content to more website friendly size, enable browser caching, get rid of outdated and no longer used plugins, fix broken links and any other possible errors.
Though we believe that modern marketers already do their best in this direction, we can’t but underline it. Majority of time users resort to voice-search, they do it mainly on mobile devices. Thus here comes an obvious need to make sure that your website is responsive on mobile devices.
On CMS consider using themes and plugins that can shift your website design responsively on mobile. At large apply the basic rules for of mobile-friendly content optimization: leave enough white space, use subheadings, bullet points and other division marks, optimize all content, be concise.
Additionally what users who search locally would appreciate is accurate route planning, ensure this function is performed well on mobile devices.
Prepare comprehensive content that answers commonly asked questions starting with wh-words. Voice queries will be run by natural language, and natural language is characterised by longer requests and frequent usage of question words. As such leverage the usage of Where, What, Who, When, Why and How in your content. Let’s call it a W-rule. From now on they are must words in your content strategy.
One of the good practises that marketers seem to implement more often is a FAQ section. It’s a perfect way to present brief answers to all load of questions that customers usually have.
Majority of voice search requests are based on local queries; people either look for something close or something in a particular area. Therefore make sure you take good care of your SEO to provide competitive local search.
Here it is crucial to make sure that your business is claimed on Google My Business. When users make voice queries, voice search platforms in their devices recognize “near me/nearby” requests and use while processing the query they read out the physical location of the device and use this data to fetch the most accurate search results. For the most of these voice requests the search engine refers to Googlу My Business. So if you want local queries to turn into purchase from your business – go and “Google your Business”. With the Google your Business listing you ensure that web knows you, reads out your business’ information (categories, industry, NAP, hours, etc.). Thus when users search for something nearby, they get both addresses, directions and working hours.
When Google recognizes a question from a voice query, it programmatically detects pages with the most precise answers to the user’s question and displays it as a top result in a featured snippet. Bear in mind that Google doesn’t determine the most right answer. It just displays what matches the query the best. If over time another website provides a better reply, the search result will differ.
Important criteria here is the amount of words. Google tends to answer voice search queries with short, 29-word results. Now you might start questioning this recommendation, because nobody produces 29-word blog posts. That’s true. The easiest and quite popular solution to this problem is the FAQ section. They are short, they start with questions words, and because of the length, they are more likely to be featured in a snippet rather than desktop results.
So, start updating your website straight away and keep an eye on voice search development. Being up-to-date with its development tendencies, no matter what voice-search brings, you and your website are prepared.
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