Optimizing Your Site for Voice Search

“Hey, Siri”

How many times have you said this? Or maybe you’ve uttered the phrase, “Hey, Alexa” instead. Voice search is becoming more popular, with 41 percent of adults and 55 percent of teens using voice search daily, according to Google, but small business websites could be doing more to optimize for searches from voice users.  

Claim your Google My Business listing

Your Google My Business listing is an essential part of local SEO and voice search. Because voice searches are often used to find out important details about your business, like phone number, address or hours of operation, Google must have accurate information on these details.

Your website and structured data go a long way in making sure Google has the right information about your business, but Google wants to be super accurate, and the way it does so is by looking at your Google My Business listing. If your information is accurate, when someone asks for it, Google will have an accurate and exact answer for that person’s voice query. 

Create conversational but concise content

Voice search changes how people search in two important ways:

  1. Searches are longer
  2. Searches are more conversational

Because of this, you need to start creating your SEO by thinking backward. If you were searching for your small business and you didn’t know anything about yourself, what would you ask in your own natural voice?

You wouldn’t use jargon-y language and keywords only other small business owners in your industry use; you would ask in the best way you know how. 

“Hey Google, where can I find a bike repair shop around Perryville?” or, “Siri, find good Chinese food near me,” sound like the types of queries you would get from a person not in the business but looking to find someone who is.

Be mobile-friendly

It’s no secret we are shifting to a mobile-first world where devices and people are mobile. As a result, it’s important to remember that mobile and local go hand in hand, especially where voice search is concerned. Mobile devices allow users to perform on-the-go queries, and in turn, voice searches enable users to ask hyper-local questions.

Make sure things like directions to brick-and-mortar locations and XML sitemaps are readable to visitors and search engines on your website. 

Also, ensure your mobile strategy is sound and focus on improving page speed and load times.

Use long-tail keywords

Most people avoid really long keywords because they think most people don’t search for them. But as more people search with their voice, “normal” keyword length is getting longer and longer. So don’t be afraid to optimize your website or content within your site using long-tail keywords with 5 or more words in them versus 1-2 words.

Think about what happens when you use voice search for your own personal searches. When you ask a question, the smart assistant that responds is designed to deliver an answer-like response. As a result, the use of long-tail SEO helps optimize your site for featured snippets, which sends your pages directly to the top of the search results. 

Create content answering your audience’s frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions, or FAQ, pages are perfect for voice search because they are already in the form of a question someone searching for your product or services might ask. In fact, voice search results are nearly twice as likely to come from an FAQ page compared to desktop results. 

If you’re ever wondering what people are searching for when they search for your small business or industry as a whole, go to Google to search for yourself. Start typing what you are curious about, and let Google auto generate the “people also ask” box. 

With a clear picture of the questions people are using to find you, you can start creating content that answers those questions. Answering their questions will solve their pain points and make their time spent on your site more enjoyable.

Voice search isn’t the future; it’s the present. If your website isn’t properly optimized, you could be missing out on search results you fit perfectly within. Our SEO specialists at Rooted Web dive deep into your site and make the changes needed to succeed. Let’s get started today!

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Emily Blattel

Emily brings more than 15 years of professional experience in public relations, advertising and marketing to Rooted Web, with a special emphasis on media relations, digital and social media strategy and implementation, content creation, internal communication, creative strategy and event planning.

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