How to Optimize Website for Voice Search
20 Dec 2018
The popularity of voice search is growing dramatically. It’s not a wonder if you have a Google Home, Amazon Echo/Alexa, Apple home pot or chat with Siri, Crotona or Google Assistant on your devices, which are all voice-search enabled digital assistants. If by chance you have used one of the voice-enabled digital assistants to search for information then you may relate to this video by Screen Junkies
Video on YouTube.
Despite voice search not being perfect yet it has come it has come a long way. According to statistics, voice search is promising to be a key aspect of future digital technology. The statistics indicate that:-
- 40% of adults use voice search once per day (Source: Stephen Kenwright)
- Bing, the representative of Microsoft at Insider Summit in May 2016 stated that 25% of all Windows 10 Taskbar searches are by voice (Source: Search Engine Journal).
- 19% of people use Siri at least daily with 37% of people using Siri monthly, 23% using Microsoft Cortana monthly and 19% using Amazon’s Alexa monthly (Source: Hubspot)
- Nearly 10% of the online population or 325.8 million people used voice control (Source: Global Web Index)
- 51% of consumers use voice assistants in automobiles and 39% use voice assistants in their homes indicating an increased comfort level with voice search technology. (Source: WallStreet Journal)
The statistics also projects more future adoption of digital voice search assistant not only in devices with displays but also in devices without screens. According to the statistic by ComScore, by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice search and Gartner in October 2017 projected that 30% of all searches by 2020 (4 years later) will be done without a screen. The fact also that with every day passing people are seeking for more efficient ways of getting things done using as little time and energy possible or to multi-task is likely to fuel the use of digital voice assistants even further. People are seeking to reduce their workload as much as possible, and typing on the keyboard or on mobile phones is a cumbersome task requiring all the concentration. In pursuit of efficiency, people are opting for voice search as an easy way to get answers or get things done and as an addition allowing them to multitask. As a result, it is imperative for all businesses to optimize their website for voice search in line with the new wave and to improve their ranking on voice search results.
There are specific signals on a website that are analyzed by a search engine using artificial intelligence when a search is made by voice via voice personal assistant.
Backlinko released a study recently, on the impacts of voice search where they analyzed 10,000 Google home search results. The study made some key findings that include:
- HTTPs website dominates Google’s voice search results. 70.4% of Google SERP are sites secured with HTTPs
- A page’s speed plays a vital role in deciding its rank on the voice search result page. The average page loading speed is 4.6 seconds for average page search results, which is 52% faster than an average page load speed.
- The appearing of your page/site in a featured snippet may help in ranking it among the top in the voice search result. 40.7% of all voice search answers comes from the featured snippets.
- Simple, easy-to-read content is key in voice search optimization. The average top Google voice search result is written in a 9th-grade level language.
- Content that ranks highly in desktop search is also very likely to appear as a voice search answer. In fact, approximately 75% of all voice search results rank among the top 3 in the text query search result.
It is important to note that Google looks at multiple factors while deciding the results for a voice search. Hence, the websites SEO, loading speed, security, and other aspects should be splendid to succeed in voice search.
The main goal in SEO optimization is to appear in “Position 0” on Google search result page. That is the position above the organic search results in the form of a featured snippet.
Search result triggered by the query “Steps to submit robots.txt file”
When the same query is put via voice search the search engine gives a different result as shown as below:
Voice Search Result of the query “Steps to submit robots.txt file”
On SERP the featured snippets and answer boxes usually rank at ‘position 0’ but sometimes the Google Ads can also take the ‘position 0’. The top ranking and specifically the featured snippets ranking at position 0 are mostly what appears on voice search. So how do you get your content to be considered and to appear on a voice search result?
How to start ranking for Voice Search Results
There are multiple measures you can take to get your content to start ranking on voice search optimization other things to consider include
The wording is the building block of search engine optimization and thus you have to get it right. Unlike typed search queries which mostly uses short-tail keywords, the voice search uses long-tail keywords. When people speak they use more words than when they type and thus for voice search result you should target long-tail keywords.
On voice search, people also use specific words to phrase their queries in question form or quantify their query. These specific keywords are called ‘trigger words’ and include words such as how, what, where, when, who, why, best, top, new, can, is and recipe among others. When optimizing your content for voice search utilize the trigger words in the content such as in the headers, sub-title, meta descriptions etc.
A study by the seoClarity on trigger words that people use highlighted the main keywords which include
The main trigger words on voice search and their usage (Source: seoClarity)
In addition to ‘trigger words’, when it comes to keywords and content in voice search optimization other things to consider include:
- Use of interrogative/question words – voice queries are made in question form and use of interrogative words such as how, what, when, where and why may boost you voice ranking
- Using keywords in question form – use keywords in question form similarly or a close as you can ask a question verbally then create in-depth content
- Content clarity- write each specific topic containing keywords on its individual page for clarity and better voice search result ranking. Avoid mixing distinct topics on the same page.
- Answer based content - Think of questions people may ask about your products and services and then write content that answers those questions
- Content length- Use long content instead of short (Approx 1,500 to 2,000 words). Long contents are likely to be comprehensive in answering all aspects a consumer may phrase his/her query
Local Business and Voice Search
Locality is the other key aspect of Google search result ranking including voice search. Google voice search result algorithm gives ranking priority to sites local to the search query. Consequently, location-specific SEO content gets priority ranking in voice search. Create content based on local searches that customers or potential customers may ask for a better outcome. You can further boost your voice ranking if you own a local business by optimizing your Google business listing and in other high-quality directories.
Few SEO related Tips
- Write the content in an easy and simple language that a 10-year-old can also understand
- Use heading tags right from H1 to H6
- Optimize title tags for both searches and search engine
- Use trigger words in meta descriptions
- Optimize websites page loading speed. It should be less than 4 seconds
- HTTPs – Have a secure site. Install an SSL Certificate
- High Authority Site – Build up your website’s authority
- Use Schema Markup/Structured Data to make it easy for the search engines to know what each page is about
The number of web users opting for voice search in place of text query is growing every day, and with no doubt, it has become crucial for the websites to be optimized for voice queries. Despite voice query primarily being based on the same principles as text query search result optimization, there are a few things that need further tweaking. The above tricks consist of some of the best practices in content optimization for voice queries and can be of great help.