Voice search is becoming increasingly popular, with more people using voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and others to find information online. Voice search currently accounts for 20% of all searches on mobile devices. As more people adopt this technology, it’s crucial for businesses to optimize their websites for voice search to stay discoverable.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about optimizing for voice search. You’ll learn why voice search optimization is important, strategies to implement, and tips to make your website content voice search-friendly.
Follow these best practices, and you’ll give your business the best chance of appearing at the top of voice search results!
5 Key Takeaways for Optimizing Websites for Voice Search
- Use natural language and conversational wording in your content to match how people speak when searching by voice.
- Focus on optimizing for long-tail keyword phrases that are more likely to be used as voice search queries.
- Make sure your website is fast, mobile-friendly and uses structured data markup for better voice search visibility.
- Create FAQ schema markup to highlight questions and answers on your site.
- Optimize your local SEO to rank better for local voice searches.
How Voice Search Works and Why It’s Important
Voice search allows people to speak their search queries into a microphone rather than typing keywords into a search bar. Smart voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant then analyze the spoken words and return relevant results from the search engine.
Here are some key statistics that demonstrate the growing popularity of voice search:
- 55% of teenagers and 41% of adults use voice search daily.
- 72% of people who own a voice assistant say it is now their preferred search method.
- Global Web Index 2018 Insight Report estimates that 27% of the global online population uses voice search.
- Local searches are especially common by voice, with 58% of voice searchers looking for local businesses.
This shift in search behavior means businesses need to adapt their search engine optimization strategies. Traditional keyword research and content creation practices aren’t fully optimized for how people speak search queries.
To stay discoverable and rank highly in voice search results, you need to optimize your website specifically for voice search.
15 Strategies for Optimizing Websites for Voice Search [QUICKLY]
Here are 15 highly effective tactics to optimize your website for better visibility and engagement in voice search results:
1. Use Conversational Keywords and Natural Language
Since people speak naturally when doing voice searches, you need to match that conversational style in your content. Use words and phrases that people would actually say out loud when searching for your products or services.
For example, instead of using a keyword-heavy phrase like “zero sugar low calorie energy drink”, use a more natural phrase like “what diet sodas have no sugar”.
Analyze search trends to identify conversational long-tail keywords that are commonly used in voice searches. Optimize high-value pages and content around those words and phrases.
2. Focus on Long-Tail Keyword Targeting
Voice search queries tend to be longer natural language phrases rather than just 1-3 keywords. Optimizing for longer, more specific long-tail keywords will help your pages rank for the searches people are really using with voice assistants.
For example, target keywords like “healthy weeknight dinner recipes” rather than just “healthy recipes”. The more specific phrase is much more likely to be used in voice search.
3. Use Question and Answer Format
Voice searches are often phrased as questions, with users asking their voice assistant for answers on a topic. To optimize for this, structure some website content in a Q&A format.
For example, create an FAQ page with questions like “How do I contact your customer support team?” Then provide detailed answers below each question.
4. Implement FAQ Schema Markup
To highlight FAQ content on your site, use FAQPage schema markup. This special HTML code tells search engines you have an FAQ page.
The schema will enable your FAQ content to stand out more prominently in voice search results. The question and answer format fits well with the conversational nature of voice search.
5. Optimize for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets show a short summary of the answer directly in Google search results. Since voice search results on smart assistants pull from Google, optimizing for featured snippets can improve your performance.
Do keyword research to identify which questions your business could answer that would provide value for searchers. Then create optimized, detailed content targeting those featured snippet opportunities.
6. Use Lists and Comparisons
List-based content in the form of reviews, comparisons between products, or pros and cons fit well with voice search results. Voice assistants can easily read out bullet points from lists to users.
Make sure to use natural conversational language in any list content rather than keyword-heavy descriptions.
For example, “The 5 best yoga mats for bad knees” is more conversational than “yoga mats for joint pain”.
7. Create Compelling Headlines
Craft catchy, compelling headlines that encourage people to click your search result after it’s read aloud by their voice assistant. Avoid boring generic headlines like “About Us” – instead, be specific and use emotional keywords people connect with.
For example, “How We’re Helping 1 Million Seniors Make Friends” is more engaging than “About Our Senior Care Services”.
8. Optimize for Local Searches
58% of voice searches have local intent, where the searcher is looking for a business near them like a restaurant. To optimize for voice:
- Create a Google My Business listing with complete info like hours, location, photos.
- Include your business name, address and phone number on your website.
- Use local keywords like “pizza delivery near me” on your site.
- Get more local reviews, citations and backlinks to improve local SEO authority.
9. Improve Site Speed and Mobile Optimization
Since many voice searches happen on smartphones via apps, having a fast loading mobile site is critical. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify any page speed issues on mobile, and fix them with hosting upgrades, image optimization, efficient code and more.
Also make sure your website uses a responsive design so it displays properly on any device.
10. Structure Data Markup
Adding schema markup to your site can help search engines better understand your content in voice search results. Use FAQPage, HowTo schema for guide content, Review schema for product reviews, and more.
Ideally have a developer implement schema markup on key pages and for important content like reviews.
11. Include Brand Mentions
Brand name searches like ” Directions to the nearest Starbucks” are popular in voice search. Make sure to strategically include mentions of your brand name on relevant pages to optimize for branded searches.
But avoid excessive repetition as that can seem unnatural. Brand mentions should flow naturally in the content.
12. Use Instructional Phrases
“How to” style search queries work very well for voice search results, especially for voice assistants providing step-by-step instructions. Use natural instructional phrases like:
- “Learn how to lose weight fast”
- “Find out how to get wine stains out of carpet”
13. Produce Podcasts
Podcasts around your brand and relevant topics can help strengthen your expertise in voice search. Add full transcripts of each podcast to your site and promote the audio content. If your podcasts answer common voice search questions, they may be featured directly in search results.
14. Create Interactive Content
Some voice assistants allow for interactive content experiences. You can create things like quizzes, choose your own adventure stories, simple games and more using frameworks like Alexa Skills.
This interactive content can engage voice assistant users and promote brand awareness.
15. Optimize for Featured Snippet Videos
In addition to text featured snippets, Google also displays video featured snippets for some search results. Create videos that teach viewers how to solve problems or answer questions related to your business.
Optimize videos for target keywords around your industry and location to get them ranking in video featured snippets, which also appear in voice search.
Optimizing for voice search is key to staying discoverable as more people adopt voice technology. By focusing on long-tail conversational keywords, using natural language, optimizing for local searches, and creating voice search-friendly content formats like FAQs and lists, you can dramatically improve your performance in voice results.
Follow this comprehensive voice search optimization guide, and you’ll give your business a significant advantage in connecting with voice searchers and driving more traffic from voice queries. Just be sure to analyze search trends to identify high-value voice keywords, and stay on top of changes in voice assistant algorithms.
With the right strategy, voice search optimization can become a major competitive advantage for your business in the coming years as this emerging technology goes mainstream. Start optimizing for voice search success today!