“The destiny of Google’s search engine is to be come that Star Trek computer, and that’s what we are building” – This is what Amit Singhal, head of Google’s search rankings team, said about the future of Google’s search technology at SXSW Interactive in 2013.
For many years, we have optimized websites according to what people are typing into that search bar. But with virtual assistants (such as Siri, Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Alexa) becoming more popular, people are becoming more conversational with mobile devices – it’s time we re-think our SEO strategy to target all those people who search using their voices.
Here are 4 things you can do to make your website more voice-search friendly:
1. Optimize your content for conversational search queries
There is a difference in the way we talk with that of writing, and this difference is even more obvious when it comes to search queries.
For example, a person may search “florist near me” in Google on a desktop computer, but they may voice-search for “Where is the nearest florist that delivers?”
Voice searches are typically long-tail keywords, which is actually not a bad thing considering long-tail keywords are generally less competitive and are more likely to convert. The longer and more natural your long-tail keywords the more chances your content will appear in top results for relevant voice search queries.
Also, in the case of voice search, search queries are also often questions. So, it’s beneficial to structure your website content in the question-and-answer format. To do that, you will first need to understand the kind of questions your users would to ask. Keep in mind that people tend not to ramble on when speaking to a digital assistant, so keep the questions specific.
Including a FAQ page on your website is probably the easiest way to incorporate questions-and-answers on your web pages. Another type of content you can use is YouTube videos. Simply title your video as a search question using natural/conversational language and end each video with a call-to-action that directs viewers to your website.
2. Optimize your website for local SEO
The majority of voice searches are “near me” inquiries, so you need to update your local listings with accurate data, including your phone number, directions to your locations and hours of operation. And perhaps, even your bestsellers or products you’re your business is famous for.
Another way to make it easier to be found on these “near me” queries is to earn as many online reviews as possible on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. Businesses which have more positive reviews typically have higher rankings in local searches.
3. Aim for even more mobile-friendliness
It is definitely a must to make your website mobile-friendly. Mobile phones are the primary devices that people use to perform voice searches, so it’s important that your website loads quickly on a mobile phone. Implementing accelerated mobile pages (AMP) is an added preference. If your website runs on WordPress, there are a number of plugins available: Automattic’s AMP plugin, AMP for WP and Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP, to name a few.
4. Know your search engine
When it comes to SEO, we are hard-wired to think of Google first. But that’s not usually the case when it comes to voice search. Yes, all Android devices are powered by Google, and Android undeniably has a much larger market share than the iOS. But, Window’s Cortana uses Bings by default (of course) and Bing is also Siri’s and Amazon Alexa’s primary go-to search engine for voice search.
When determining which search engine(s) you should optimize for, you can always turn to Google Analytics for more data and insights. In Google Analytics, you will find information about what devices are used to access your website most.