14 Effective Voice Search Optimization Strategies

How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search

Over 40% of people who have a smart speaker device say that performing a voice search feels like they are talking to another person or even a friend. While people engage with their voice-activated devices in a way that is similar to the way they would engage with another person, this statistic shows the potential for the growth of voice search and naturally, voice search optimization for local businesses. It also gives you an inkling as to why voice search optimization is key for the future.

What Is Voice Search Optimization?

Voice search happens when a user issues a verbal command to voice search devices like a smartphone, tablet, or smart speaker. The user asks questions or give commands to the device while it “listens” with a digital voice assistant and then completes the search and retrieves information.

The Rise of Voice Search

The voice search revolution is here — and it’s here to stay.

Why Is Voice Search Growing so Rapidly?

What has contributed to the rise in voice search? And why is it growing at such a quick rate?

Fast and Easy

First, voice search is easier and faster than traditional search. Most people average typing about 40 words per minute. When using voice search, this increases 3.7 times to a maximum of 150 words per minute.

Very Convenient

Most people don’t enjoy typing on the tiny keyboards of a mobile phone, and sometimes, it can be awkward on a tablet too.

Voice Search is Perfect for Mobile

Mobile search volume accounts for nearly 60% of all online searches. Voice searches are on the cusp of being the primary user interface for mobile search and this makes perfect sense as voice search feels like it was designed for mobile devices.

Voice Search vs Traditional Search

There is one key way in which both types of searches are the same. They rely on great content because content is still king. However, voice search is different from traditional search in some ways:

Speaking Natural Language vs Typing

How keywords are used by the user differs quite a lot when you compare traditional search with voice search queries. For typed search queries, it’s common for people to use short keywords. For example traditional typed searches may look like “gym near me” and “large dog breed advantages.”

Questions

It’s evident that people use questions as they naturally would in real life when performing voice searches. A common question they’d ask would be how to get to X or how far away is Y. Others would be about the operating hours of a store or specifics about a product and how it compares with another.

Local SEO

A research report by BrightLocal found that nearly 60% of the respondents used voice search on their mobile devices to get information about a local business listing. Nearly 50% of respondents used a voice search device for the same purpose at least once a day, with 28% of them doing so weekly. The most popular types of businesses the respondents want information about are restaurants or cafes, grocery stores, food delivery, clothing stores, hotels or B&Bs, and doctors.

Single Answers From Google SERPs

With traditional search, for any search query, there are pages and pages of search results. And, as the saying goes, if you want to hide a body — or your website — then rank on page two of search engines.

Long-tail Keywords

Another big difference between traditional search and voice search is how long your keywords are. For traditional search queries, most keywords are three to five words long. Examples would include “best plant for my balcony,” “best smartphone this year,” or “cheapest city to live in Canada.”

How to Implement Voice Search Optimization

Voice search optimization is the strategies and techniques you use to optimize your website for voice search queries. You’ll need to optimize the content on your site, your products and services, company information, and your business location. This will help you improve your SEO ranking and make it more likely that your information or answer will match the voice search query, but still provide search engines with the traditional keyword-based search they need.

Why Do You Need to Optimize for Voice Search?

There are three important reasons you should optimize your website for voice search. They are:

1. Stay Relevant

To stay relevant, you have to follow and keep up with the latest trends. Voice search is becoming a very popular way that people search for information and it’s not slowing down.

2. Better SEO

To improve your website’s SEO, you need to implement voice search optimization strategies within your content. As statistics have proven, people prefer speaking and asking questions rather than typing out a search query. Why? Because they can be more specific with their voice search queries and speak more naturally than they can when trying to find the best keywords for a text-based search.

3. Improve Your Customer Experience

The customer journey on your website is crucial in boosting your conversion optimization rate. You can offer your customers a better website experience by enabling voice search and creating new customer commitment opportunities.

How to Do Keyword Research for Voice Search

Voice search is different from traditional text-based search. As such, how you find conversational keywords is different too. There are three top keyword strategies for voice search you can implement.

Look for Really, Really Long Keywords

Most SEO strategies completely avoid insanely long keywords because very few people search for them using their keyboards. But, as the popularity of voice search grows, longer keywords are becoming more and more popular. So when optimizing for voice search devices, look for keywords made up of five words or more.

Find Natural Keywords

Since voice search utilizes natural conversational search queries, you want to stay away from robotic keywords. Rather than “keto,” “diet,” and “marathon event,” your keyword should look something like this “is the keto diet good for marathon event training?”

Focus on Question Keywords

Search Engine Watch found that there was a 61% increase in the use of question keywords that use “who,” “what,” “where,” “why,” “when,” and “how.”

Best Practices for Voice Search Optimization

Understanding how voice search works and using a few voice search optimization strategies, you can optimize your website in no time. A professional web design agency can also help you optimize for voice search.

1. Add FAQ Sections

You can easily optimize your content for voice search by adding a frequently asked section. This is super easy to do as there are questions (from your question keywords) as well as answers that a voice assistant can “read” to the voice searcher.

2. Don’t Be Afraid of Filler Words in Your Keywords

Not all the question keywords you’ll find on keyword research tools will flow as naturally as when someone is speaking. For example, question keywords could be “what are health benefits HIIT workouts?” or “why should eat healthy?”

3. Add Answers in Your Content

Optimize your content by including short, concise answers. Your answers to your question keywords should be between 28 and 30 words.

4. Write How You Speak

Since a voice search mimics real questions, the way your content is written should “sound” natural too. You want to use conversational language, which means using informal words, contractions, and not always writing in full sentences.

5. Optimize for Featured Snippets

The same Backlinko study found that more than 40% of voice search results come from Featured Snippets. We already know that these results can be found at the very top of a search engine results page.

6. Use Long-tail Keywords

You don’t want to optimize your content for only longer keywords. With voice search, you don’t need to worry as much about exact matches in the question and answer as you would with a traditional search.

7. Write for a Maximum Reading Level of Grade 9

People want to be able to easily read your content when using traditional search, and the same is true for voice search. No one really wants an academic answer or answers full of jargon and industry terms they might not understand.

8. Increase Your DA

Your domain authority (DA) is an important ranking factor for text-based and voice searches. After all, a site with a high DA is viewed as more reputable and authoritative. Sites with a high DA rating are usually the ones that rank first on search results pages.

9. Boost Your Website Speed

With traditional search, online visitors do not stick around if your site takes forever to load, even if “forever” is only a couple of seconds too long. Page speed is even more crucial with voice search.

10. Add to Your Content

In another study by Backlinko, after analyzing nearly 12 million search results, the average word count of the first result on Google is about 1,500 words. Voice search results, on the other hand, are much longer at just over 2,300 words.

11. Rank Videos

A newer trend on the search results has been Video Featured Snippets. It’s a video result for a search query. Google also doesn’t just link to a video on YouTube, for example, it pulls out a section of the video that is relevant for the query.

12. Optimize for “… Near Me”

Local SEO is very important if you want your business to rank for your local customers. Thus, optimize your website for those “near me” searches.

13. Analyze Your Consumers

Gaining insights into your consumers is vital to your voice search optimization strategy. You should learn how your visitors journey through your sales or conversion funnel and use voice search to optimize your content to rank in voice queries as well as traditional search results.

14. Ensure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

Most web traffic comes from mobile devices at 54.8 percent for the first quarter of 2021. So, having a website that is mobile-friendly is a must.

Key Takeaways

To stay current and reach the highest number of visitors, your website should be optimized for voice search. This doesn’t mean you need a completely new website. Most website owners only need to tweak a few elements to make their content voice-search ready.

Parachute Design Group Inc. is a boutique Toronto web design agency specializing in beautiful hand-made website design, custom logo design and branding.