The world of digital marketing is constantly evolving, with new trends like voice search becoming mainstream. Unlike text-based searches, voice search is 3.7x faster. The convenience and ease of voice search are second to none and it is becoming a core part of the typical customer journey.
The implication is that more people will shift from text-based searches to voice searches and this might greatly affect the way pages are ranked in search results.
Smart brands like yours are already optimizing their businesses for voice-based searches and you absolutely should do the same!
By 2020, if your business is not optimized for voice search, you will be missing out on 50% of the searches carried out online. Bearing this in mind, optimizing your business for voice searches becomes vital, to ensure continued visibility in search and high ranking for your target keywords.
In this article, we’ll explain how search engines rank pages for voice vs. text-based queries and outline 5 simple ways to optimize your business for voice search.
But first, let’s answer the most important question.
What is Voice Search?
Voice search or voice-enabled search is an advanced dialogue system that uses speech recognition technology, which enables a user to search the Internet using a voice command instead of typing their query into a search field.
Voice searches are performed with the help of digital assistants like Siri, Google Voice Search, Amazon Echo, Microsoft Cortana, and Alexa. Voice searches are often interactive, requiring a series of conversations between the user and the system for clarification, so the system can generate accurate query results, which it delivers orally to the user.
Voice Search vs. Text-Based Search
- Query Format
People converse with their digital assistants the same way they would converse with a human, which is different from the way they type in search queries. Therefore, complete sentences or questions usually make up voice searches, while short phrases containing top keywords make up text-based searches. Optimizing your keywords for both query formats is crucial.
- Search Results
SEO stakes are higher with voice search because only the best answers get read by digital assistants. With text-based searches, however, the searcher can choose from a list of search results.
Some Interesting Voice Search Statistics
- 41% of adults (and 55% of teens) use voice search daily (Google).
- 20% of all Google mobile queries are voice searches (Google).
- Voice search has grown 35x since 2008 (KPCB).
- 25% of all Windows 10 desktop searches are done via voice (Branded3).
- By 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches (Comscore).
- Mobile voice search on Google is now translated in over 60 languages (Wikipedia)
- 56% of all voice searches are made on a smartphone (BrightLocal)
5 Simple Ways to Optimize Your Small Business for Voice Search in 2020
1. Create FAQ Pages with Short and Concise Answers
Question keywords are on the rise as more people search for straightforward answers to their most burning questions. Many of these questions are asked via voice searches. Creating FAQ pages that answer these questions in 29 words or less is a great strategy for voice search. A recent study of voice search ranking factors by Baclinko, found that Google tends to answer voice search queries with short 29-word results.
The most important thing, though, is to keep the search or user intent in mind when answering these questions. Searches may have informational, commercial, transactional or navigational in nature.
As a business owner, providing concise answers to high commercial intent questions is your ticket to converting searches to sales. Also, when you optimize for questions, make sure to include “filler words” like “a”, “me”, and “for”. This will help you rank higher and become visible in voice search queries that include such words.
2. Write Content in a Conversational Tone
Voice searches are generally more conversational than text-based searches. With this in mind, creating content with conversational-type keywords will help boost your search rankings for voice search.
Also, using long-tail keywords in a natural, conversational way makes content easy to read and understand. This will help your pages rank for different voice queries.
3. Optimize for Featured Snippets
A featured snippet is a summary of the answer to a user’s query that is displayed on top of search results.
Featured snippet for the query ‘what is search intent’
A 2018 study by Backlinko found that 40.7% of voice search answers come from featured snippets. It’s easy to see why.
Digital assistants, such as Alexa and Siri, read only the best answer to a query. These answers are usually short–about 29 words or less. Therefore, featured snippets, which are really short summary answers, stand a higher chance of being read.
This takeaway here is to optimize your posts for the featured snippet function. To do this, always write a summary of your content in 29 words or less.
4. Optimize for “Near Me” Searches
With an explosion in the number of “near me” search queries and 22% of voice search queries looking for location-based content, it becomes necessary to optimize your local business around terms that voice searchers use regularly such as “blank near me” searches.
Update your Google My Business listing and e-commerce store information. This will help your business rank higher and boost its visibility for specific local voice searches.
5. Improve Your Website’s Speed
The loading speed of a voice search result is 52% faster than the speed of an average website. This implies that website speed plays a major role in voice search SEO and search rankings.
Similar to text-based ranking, search engines favor websites that load quickly for voice searches. Therefore having a mobile-friendly fast loading site is crucial. Optimize your images, leverage caching as much as possible and get rid of plugins or other elements that slow down your site.
● Build Up Your Domain Authority
Another key feature from voice search studies is that featured websites have high domain authority. Google, for instance, favors authoritative websites in voice search results. The average Ahrefs Domain Rating of a Google Home result is 76.8.
If you want to rank in voice search, focus on increasing your domain authority by building ethical backlinks from relevant sites. This can be achieved through guest posting. The higher your domain authority score, the more authoritative Google perceives your site to be and the better your performance in voice search.
With the shift in users search behavior online, optimizing your business for voice search becomes a necessity and not an option. Use the simple ways above to optimize your small business for voice search in 2020 to avoid losing your search visibility and rankings to businesses that are already capitalizing on voice search.