The voice-search enabled digital assistants of the world such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant are quickly becoming the go-to search mode for consumers everywhere. ComScore says that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches and Gartner predicts that 30% of web-browsing sessions will be done without a screen by 2020.
Indeed, digital assistants are now going beyond voice input, and are evolving to understand user intent and behaviours through available data and information to help consumers take actions. Voice Search is also very mobile – and part of your everyday life.
With this recent rapid adoption of in voice-activated search and assistance, it is now becoming increasingly important to optimise your website pages for audio search.
It’s all about the conversation
When someone makes a voice inquiry, they are more likely to speak like they are speaking to someone else with a conversational inquiry, not just the few words they would have typed into a search bar. They are also more likely to ask questions and these common question words (namely who, what, how, when where, why) will help indicate the searcher’s intent.
For example, if someone asks, ‘What is the difference between a stand mixer and a food processor?’ they are likely just researching. However if they ask, ‘How much is a KitchenAid?’ or ‘Where can I buy a Cuisinart mixer?’ they are much closer to making a purchase.
And remember, not all queries that start with a term are created equal. “How much is” shows more intent than “What is” and is far further down the purchase path. Understanding the nuances between conversational search queries can help you discern consumer intent and ensures that your website contains the right content to adapt to voice search and match the right level of user intent.
So whilst you still need to maintain your SEO techniques you have built up through your own data and research, you also need to adapt your strategy and create content that the voice searcher wants.
Tapping into voice search
Here are 3 top tips to improve your site for voice searches
Optimise for load speed
Google uses speed as a rank for all sites, but especially for voice searches as people who use voice search often are mobile-based, not necessarily connected to a broadband networks and therefore want websites to load fast and deliver results right away. Make sure you check your site’s load times and implement suggestions on how to improve and optimise.
Focus on content
Write content in a natural, conversational voice that answers the questions your consumers are asking – website content in the era of voice search isn’t simply about keywords; it’s about semantic search and building the context related to answering a question. Since people more often ask questions in voice search, they seek content that delivers efficient, intelligible, and comprehensive answers. Also, don’t write-off using longer content either – longer articles are more likely to be visible in rankings because they contain a high concentration of diverse keywords and outbound links that may trigger responses for several searches.
You could also consider incorporating an audio version of your text-based content such as a podcast – a mobile searcher may have time on the move to listen to an audio file rather than reading an article.
FAQ pages are also a great addition when optimising for voice search. Use the most important questions related to your business or product and develop answers to include longer tail keyword phrases to reach users at each stage of intent.
Optimise for mobile
As voice assistants are primarily used on mobile devices, it’s very important to optimise your pages for mobile. Your website should be a responsive design and remember to check your site’s content to see how it displays on several types of mobile devices with different resolutions. Also, if needed, adjust your typography for better readability.
By applying these steps, keeping voice searches in mind when creating content, and remembering not to solely focus on audio SEO to the detriment of non-audio SEO, your website should be in good shape to move forward as the audio-search revolution rolls on.