We all knew that voice-activated virtual assistants would be popular, but did anyone expect they’d find a place in our homes? From Alexa to Siri and Google Home, these genius inventions are changing how people search for information.
Because voice search continues to grow in popularity, businesses must ensure their marketing strategy aligns with this trend.
In this guide, we’ll reveal everything you need to know about voice search, including how to optimise your website.
What is voice search optimisation?
Voice search optimisation ensures a website’s structure, metadata and content suit voice queries. How we speak is different from how we write, meaning traditional SEO often doesn’t align with voice search.
While people often use short-tail keywords to search for information, the way they speak is different and typically involves conversational sentences.
So, a strong knowledge of NLP (Natural Language Processing) is essential when optimising a website for voice queries.
Let’s take a look at why voice search optimisation is vital for any forward-thinking business.
Voice search continues to grow in popularity
Adults are utilising voice search in their daily lives, but – as we all know – younger generations define the future. When it comes to using voice search daily, 55% of teenagers currently do, and these figures are likely to rise (Review 42).
You’ll need it if you want to remain competitive
Websites everywhere had to change their marketing strategy when mobile searches grew in popularity, and voice search is becoming a critical factor in any campaign. If you don’t optimise your website for it and competitors do, they’ll achieve better results.
Boost your visibility
Think of voice search optimisation as covering all bases. When you power up your website for desktop, mobile and voice search, you prioritise user experience and ensure everyone can find you. The result? More visibility and a better chance of generating leads.
Understand your audience
Every business has the same goal: to understand and connect with their audience. If you can do that, it’s easier to turn prospects into leads. As people who use voice search have different needs, you can understand what they’re looking for and update your strategy.
Top tips to optimise your website for voice-activated assistants
As with all forms of SEO, optimising your website for voice-activated assistants does take time. However, your investment enables you to move the business forward instead of stagnating.
Whether you invest in an SEO agency or go it alone, these tips will help you succeed with the optimisation process.
Focus on long-tail keywords
While users are more likely to focus on short-tail keywords when using text-based searches, long-tail phrases are more popular for voice searches. These phrases are less popular but can also drive higher conversion rates, as there’s less competition.
For example, a local search might be typing “white trainers, London” into Google, but a long-tail search could be “Where can I find white trainers in London?” As you can see, these searches have the same intent, but different languages.
By isolating long-tail keywords, you can prepare your website for voice searches. There are plenty of tools to choose between, but Ahrefs is one of the top options for long-tail terms.
It’s all about questions
Conversational queries are popular with voice search and often involve the how’s, what’s, why’s and where’s. By isolating people’s questions, you can create content that caters to voice search queries.
For example, someone using voice search might ask specific questions, such as “Where can I find information on…” which lets you provide an answer that promotes user experience.
Ensure your answers are well structured and focus on the longer questions to remain competitive.
Be informative but concise
Nobody wants to ask a question and get a five-minute answer. Google and other search engines know this and will always prioritise content that aligns with user experience.
So, when optimising your website for voice-activated assistants, it’s essential to provide valuable answers but keep them concise.
Don’t use jargon or overcomplicate things; just keep it simple, and you will be rewarded.
Don’t forget featured snippets
Voice assistants love featured snippets because they’re quick to access and provide the best answer to a particular question. Snippets can be elusive to secure, but creating content that meets the criteria can help you attract more visitors.
Remember that user experience is always essential when writing for snippets. You should also structure your content with headings, lists and bullet points while writing concise and informative sections.
FAQs are valuable additions
FAQs will always have their place in SEO because they answer questions and give users what they’re looking for. Using them in your content can improve its ability to rank and become an answer for voice-activated assistants.
When creating FAQs, using a Structured Data Markup Helper is best because it ensures search engines can index the content.
Remember local SEO
If you’re a local business and aren’t optimising for voice search, it’s time you started. Many voice searchers are looking for local information, which means you can attract more people to your business by focusing on your Google Business Profile listing.
Using schema markup will also help search engines discover your local information, including website, contact information and opening hours.
Navigating voice search challenges
While it offers numerous benefits, voice search presents challenges—especially if you’re inexperienced. There are several challenges to navigate, and understanding them can help you update your strategy.
For voice search to work, systems must understand natural language, including accents, dialects and how people structure their sentences. The significant challenge lies in optimising a website for conversation.
Instead of using one or two keywords, users will ask questions in a more human way, which means your content must fulfil both text and voice-based search criteria.
Limited platform space
While traditional queries show users a list of relevant results, a voice search will provide the most relevant result, meaning there’s much more competition.
Seamless optimisation ensures voice assistants choose your query, but achieving these results is challenging.
Most keyword research tools are for text-based searches, so you’ll have to dive deep when finding suitable phrases for voice-activated assistants. The process requires an in-depth knowledge of consumer behaviour and advanced SEO skills.
Many businesses use SEO agency services because specialists can navigate research for voice-activated assistants.
SEO is constantly changing, and Google regularly updates its algorithms. What’s important today might not be important tomorrow, making it hard to stay informed about best practices. If you’re inexperienced with optimisation, navigating these changes can be an ongoing challenge.
Unfortunately, failing to update your strategy means search engines might not notice your content, which can limit your ability to appear in voice search queries.
The bottom line
Voice search continues to grow in popularity, and as more people invest in the technology, websites must adapt to align their strategy with voice-activated optimisation. By focusing on your strategy now, you can attract more people to your website and build brand awareness.
Yes, it’s an intensive process, but one that will set you on an upward trajectory where visibility and growth are inevitable.