How Voice search works?
Picture this: a potential customer, let’s call him Joe, is driving and uses his voice assistant to find the nearest coffee shop.
He says, “Find the best coffee shop near me.”
If your business is that coffee shop, and your website is optimised for voice search, Joe is already on his way to you.
According to a report by PwC, 71% of respondents prefer to use their voice assistant to search for something rather than physically typing their queries; it’s indicative of a fundamental shift in user behaviour.
Why does this matter for your business?
The way people search affects how they find your products or services. Imagine someone asking their smart device,
People using voice search are often seeking quick, accurate answers while on the go. Your website and its content need to be streamlined to meet these needs.
In summary, understanding voice search is about recognising the changing landscape of digital interaction. It’s adapting to how your potential customers are asking questions and making sure your business is the answer they receive.
- 1. Understanding Voice Search Optimisation
- 2. Structuring Your Landing Page for Voice Search
- 3. Leveraging Local SEO for Voice Search
- 4. Optimising for Featured Snippets and Direct Answers
- 5. Mobile Optimisation: A Critical Factor
- 6. Measuring and Adapting to Voice Search Trends
1. Understanding Voice Search Optimisation
Voice search optimisation may seem like a new frontier, but it’s more an evolution of traditional SEO. The key difference? It’s all about conversational language.
When people use voice search, they’re likely to phrase things as questions – “Where can I find a vegetarian restaurant nearby?” rather than typing “vegetarian restaurant near me.”
This shift means your SEO strategy needs to adapt to a more natural, conversational style.
Understanding natural language processing (NLP) is crucial here. NLP is the technology behind voice search, allowing devices to understand human speech as it is naturally spoken.
The sophistication of NLP means voice search queries not only pick up on specific keywords but also the intent and context behind the words. This technology is constantly evolving, so keeping abreast of these changes is vital.
So, how do you optimise your content for voice search?
Start by integrating question-based phrases into your website’s content.
Think about the potential questions a customer might ask that relate to your business and use these as natural, long-tail keywords.
For example, if you’re a locksmith in Bristol, consider content that answers, “How do I change a lock?” or “Emergency locksmith in Bristol.”
Moreover, maintaining a conversational tone is more important than ever. Content that reads like a natural dialogue not only resonates more with your audience but also aligns closely with voice search queries.
In essence, voice search optimisation is about understanding and applying the principles of human conversation to your digital presence. While making content accessible and engaging.
It’s about ensuring your content answers questions in a natural and helpful way, which in turn, makes your website more visible in voice search results.
2. Structuring Your Landing Page for Voice Search
To make your landing pages voice search-friendly, start by focusing on clear, concise content that directly answers potential questions your customers might ask.
Use Schema Markup and Structured Data
The use of schema markup and structured data is a game-changer here.
Schema markup is a type of microdata added to your website’s HTML to help search engines understand your page better, hence improving your results in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
By implementing schema, you’re essentially giving search engines a roadmap of your site’s content, making it easier for them to understand the context of your information.
This is particularly important for voice search, as it relies on this clarity to provide accurate results.
For instance, if you run a local bakery, using local business schema markup can help voice search devices understand and convey your business hours, location, and even menu items.
The 5 Ws and How
When creating content for your landing page, focus on aligning with common voice search queries. These often include the 5 Ws and How (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How).
For example, if you provide financial consulting services, your content should answer specific questions like, “How can I improve my credit score?” or “What is the best way to start investing?”
Also, remember to keep your language natural and conversational. Voice search queries are typically more relaxed and informal than typed searches, so your content should reflect this tone.
Structuring your landing page for voice search means prioritising clear, structured content, utilising schema markup for better clarity, and aligning your content with common conversational queries.
3. Leveraging Local SEO for Voice Search
Local SEO plays a pivotal role in voice search optimisation, especially for SMEs. With a significant portion of voice searches being local in nature, such as “Where’s the nearest car repair shop?”, ensuring your business ranks high in these searches is crucial.
The integration of local SEO with voice search is about making sure your business is the first thing people find when they make localised voice queries.
Firstly, optimising local elements on your landing page is essential. Ensure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) details are current, consistent, and prominently displayed on your website.
Also, include locally relevant keywords in your website’s content and meta tags. For example, if you own a boutique in Leeds, phrases like “fashion boutique in Leeds” or “Leeds clothing store” should naturally appear in your content.
A well-optimised GMB profile can significantly increase your chances of appearing in Google’s ‘Local Pack’, the block of local business listings that appear at the top of Google’s search results.
Make sure your GMB profile is complete, accurate, and updated regularly with information like operating hours, services offered, and recent photos.
Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your GMB profile, as positive reviews can improve your visibility in voice searches.
Additionally, creating local content can also enhance your voice search optimisation. This could be blog posts about local events, community activities, or even guides relevant to your location and industry.
Such content not only resonates with your local audience but also signals to search engines that your business is an active participant in your local area, further boosting your local SEO efforts.
In summary, leveraging local SEO for voice search involves focusing on accurate and comprehensive local information, utilising tools like Google My Business effectively, and creating content that resonates with a local audience.
By doing this, you position your business to be the answer people get when they make those all-important local queries.
4. Optimising for Featured Snippets and Direct Answers
When it comes to voice search, featured snippets play a crucial role. These are the select bits of information that appear at the top of many search engine results pages, often referred to as “position zero”.
In voice search, assistants like Google Assistant or Siri often use these snippets to answer queries directly. This makes being featured in these snippets highly valuable for any business.
To optimise for featured snippets, your content needs to directly and concisely answer questions that your target audience is likely to ask. Here are some techniques to help you achieve this:
Identify Common Questions:
Start by understanding the common queries related to your business or industry. Tools like AnswerThePublic can provide insights into what people are asking online.
Structure Your Content Effectively:
Use clear headings (like H1, H2 tags) for each section of your content, especially when answering specific questions. This helps search engines understand the structure of your content and pick up the relevant parts for featured snippets.
Provide Clear, Concise Answers:
When writing content, aim to answer questions directly and succinctly, ideally in a paragraph or a bulleted list. The ideal length for a snippet is around 40-50 words.
For instance, if you’re a bakery, and a common question is “What is sourdough bread made of?”, provide a brief, direct answer like,
“Sourdough bread is made from flour, water and salt fermented using lactic acid bacteria and wild yeast. Sourdough bread is known in almost every country around the world. Each culture has a different name for it.”
Use Data and Lists:
Structuring information in a numbered or bulleted list can increase your chances of appearing in snippets, especially for queries that are looking for a step-by-step answer or a list, like “steps to change a car tyre”.
Optimise for “People Also Ask”:
This section in Google’s search results can also provide insight into related questions. Optimising your content to answer these questions can further boost your chances of being featured in snippets.
Remember, while it’s important to optimise for voice search and snippets, your primary focus should still be on providing valuable and relevant content for your audience. Featured snippets are just one part of a comprehensive voice search strategy, but they’re a part that can significantly enhance your online visibility.
5. Mobile Optimisation: A Critical Factor
The majority of voice searches are performed on mobile devices, making it imperative for your landing pages to be mobile-friendly. Here’s how to ensure your site caters effectively to mobile and voice search users:
Implement Responsive Design:
Your landing page should look good and function well on any device. Responsive design ensures that your site adapts to whatever screen size it’s being viewed on, providing a seamless user experience whether on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
Prioritise Page Speed:
Mobile users, especially those using voice search, are generally looking for quick answers. A slow-loading page can be a major turn-off. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights can help you analyse and improve your page’s loading time. Aim for a loading time of under three seconds.
Simplify Your Design:
Mobile screens have limited space. Keep your design simple and clutter-free. Large, easy-to-read fonts, clear and concise content, and easy-to-tap buttons are key.
Remember, what works on a desktop may not work as well on mobile.
Consider Touchscreen Navigation:
Users should be able to easily navigate your site using touch controls. Ensure that buttons and links are adequately spaced to prevent accidental clicks, and that interactive elements are easily accessible.
Optimise Local Elements:
As voice searches are often local, ensure that your local SEO elements like contact information and location are easily accessible and prominently displayed for mobile users.
6. Measuring and Adapting to Voice Search Trends
Measuring your voice search optimisation efforts is crucial to understand their effectiveness and to adapt your strategies accordingly. Here’s how you can stay on top of your voice search performance:
Utilise Analytics Tools:
Tools like Google Analytics provide invaluable insights into how users are interacting with your site. Pay attention to metrics like bounce rate, time on page, and pages per session, especially from mobile users. This data can give you clues about the effectiveness of your voice search optimisation.
Monitor Voice Search Queries:
While currently there are limitations in tracking voice search queries specifically, you can infer from search query reports. Look for longer, more conversational phrases that might indicate a voice search. Keeping track of these queries can help you refine your content strategy.
Stay Updated with Voice Search Trends:
The landscape of voice search is constantly evolving. Stay informed about the latest trends, updates in voice search algorithms, and shifts in consumer behaviour. Platforms like Google’s Webmaster Blog or Search Engine Journal can be great resources.
Regularly Test and Optimise:
Voice search optimisation isn’t a set-and-forget strategy. Regular testing and tweaking are essential. Conduct A/B tests on your landing page to see what resonates best with your audience. Test different formats of your content, the structure of your information, and even the tone of your writing.
Adapt to Feedback:
If you have the opportunity, gather direct feedback from your users. How do they interact with your site via voice search? Are there any obstacles they face? User feedback can provide direct insights into further optimisation.
Remember, the goal of tracking and adapting is not just to chase the latest trend but to ensure that your site continues to provide value to your users, regardless of how they’re accessing your information. By continually measuring, analysing, and adapting, you can ensure that your business stays ahead in the ever-changing landscape of voice search and digital marketing.
The key to successful voice search optimisation is to maintain the human element in your digital interactions. It’s about ensuring that when a potential customer asks a question, your business provides the answer in the most efficient and accessible way possible.