You might already be implementing some stellar SEO tactics on your website, but are you making sure to focus on SEO optimisation for voice search too? The way that people use the internet is changing at an incredible rate, and voice search is only going to get bigger. I remember that even a year ago I was staunchly set against talking to my phone to do anything, but now it’s second nature and with the rise of tools like Alexa and Google Home, it has become even more important for brands. 

How Is Voice Search Different?

SEO Optimisation for voice search is about much more than just keeping up with the trends and a lot more goes into it than you might think. People are getting more used to searching the internet via useful tools like Siri, Alexa and Google Home, and the way that they are searching is changing too. Just as people search in subtly different ways on their desktop vs their mobile phone, people use different search terms when using voice search.

For example, say the user in question wants to find the opening hours for a local restaurant…say Five Guys. On their desktop or mobile, they’re likely to search something along the lines of ‘Five Guys Opening Hours’, right?

However, if they’re asking their Google Home or Alexa they’re more likely to use conversational terms like ‘What time does Five Guys near me shut’. These subtle changes make a big difference to how and if your business shows up in their search. If you’re not optimised for conversational terms then you’re less likely to show up than someone who is.

The long and short of it is that users use shorter more specific search terms on desktop or mobile search, but more elaborative and less confined searches when using voice search. Software for voice search is constantly changing and learning, using intonation and voice patterns and past behaviour to influence search results and so digital marketers need to move at the same pace or risk losing their voice entirely!

Who Uses Voice Search?

The short answer is, sooner or later, everyone will be using voice search. Comscore predicts that 50% of searches will be done using voice search by 2020 and Mediapos predict that by the same time 20% of searches will be done without a screen. These are important numbers to take note of because they totally change the way we need our businesses to show up in search.

It is currently (Jan 2018) estimated that there are over a billion voice searches on Google every single month and that 40% of adults use voice search at least once per day. This growing industry (60% of people only started using voice search in the last year) is already having a huge impact on businesses around the world. Most noticeably, ‘Voice Commerce’ was worth $1.8 billion in the U.S. in 2017 and $200 million in the U.K, and I can only see that number getting bigger. Although 90% of the money spent on voice shopping in 2017 was on Amazon, it is a fact that as more brands cotton on to the importance of voice search that 10% is going to grow significantly.

SEO Optimisation for Voice Search

It might seem like a crazy new world, but don’t panic yet. There are some easy ways that you can fine-tune your SEO optimisation for voice search.

1. Optimise for Conversational Keywords

As I’ve mentioned above, the way people search using voice search is different to the way they search in a text-based search. Therefore SEO optimisation for voice search needs to focus on including keywords for these likely search terms. Just as you optimise your site for ‘normal’ SEO, it’s time to start doing the necessary keyword research and finding out what your customer asks for when searching online.

You can build these into your strategy in a number of ways, but the simplest methods would be to:

  • FAQ pages, which directly answer conversational phrases
  • Blog posts that answer user questions directly, including those questions in the titles and as the keyword
2. Make sure that your site is secure

It has been confirmed that an SSL certificate is a massive ranking factor when it comes to voice search, much more so than some of the traditional ranking factors like page authority. If your website doesn’t have ‘HTTPS’ at the beginning of its URL, it is not secure and you don’t have an SSL installed. So talk to your web host and get one organised today.

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3. Make sure your site has a featured snippet

When a voice search is made, the device it’s made on usually reads out the featured snippet of the top website in the search in answer to the question. It is therefore much more likely that your website will feature top in a search if you’ve got one too.

4. Have an authoritative domain

Whilst page authority has been shown to be of lower importance, domain authority is still a key ranking factor for voice search. Building domain authority can feel like a long process but it is totally worth it.

5. Optimise for local search

Make sure that your webiste has references to local searches and phrases such as ‘near me’, particularly if you are servicing a local community or specific area. People use phrases like this much more on voice search, which goes back to those conversational keywords we’ve discussed already! Make sure you claim your business on Google too, it goes a long way in all types of searches.

6. Make your content easy to understand and even easier to read

Readable content is very important for normal SEO too, but it has become even more key when focusing on SEO optimisation for voice search.

7. Create Actions on Google

It’s not surprising that to cater to the huge demand from advertisers for voice searchability, Actions on Google was launched. It enables you to build apps for the Google Assistant in order to reach users of Google’s smart speakers.
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8. Highly engaged content does best

Long-form content encourages more shares and link backs, so get writing. It’s very important for all types of search, but more so than ever for voice search optimisation.

9. Share Share Share on social media

Don’t discount social media’s impact on SEO ranking. Search engines like to see lots of click-throughs to your site from social media as it lets them know that people find your content informative and authoritative.

10. Improve Your Site Speed

Site speed is one of the top ranking factors for voice search, so makes sure your images, video and content are properly uploaded to ensure the best possible speed for your website. SEO optimisation for voice search relies on fine-tuning your SEO tactics, and this is one you can’t ignore.

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It goes without saying that almost all of these SEO optimisation for voice search tactics are also incredibly beneficial for your text based SEO rank too, so focusing on them does not by any means take away from your strategy there.