How to optimise your site to rank for voice search

Digital Marketing & SEO
October 18, 2020

If you've ever asked, “Hey Siri” (or Google, or even Alexa!) then you'll know all about the power of voice search. It's no secret that hands-free voice search can be a lifesaver when you're driving or cooking, so we're not surprised at just how popular it's become recently.

Recently, it's been found that more than 60% of smartphone users have used voice search in the past 12 months and a growing amount of teenagers use voice search every single day! Queries differ between generations, but the common ones that run true to all are asking for directions or to find out specifics about a business.

The question is though, as a digital business, how do you boost your site so it's a voice assistant's go-to for a voice search result? There's far more to voice search than first meets the eye and in fact, there's a few differences from traditional SEO. Take a look at the top things to think about when optimising your digital platform for voice search.

1. Optimise for Intent

Think about exactly what your users could be using voice search to find. From looking into popular queries, we know that most often users will be searching for opening hours, locations, or specifics of a product like the price. So it's best to preemptively answer these questions within your written content and to make it easily findable.

When users type a search query, they might just search for keywords like “voice search”,

But, when using voice search the intent changes and users might say, “Hey Siri, how do I optimise for voice search?”.

Taking this into consideration should slightly change your content to include the relevant words, phrases and keywords.

2. keep Your Answers Short and Sharp

While the average voice search query may be slightly longer, the answers need to be short and sharp to be readable by a voice assistant. Did you know the average result that's returned in a voice search is just 29 words? Adapting your sentences to get straight to the point is essential in your content and when formulating your H3s.

While it's impossible to optimise your content separately for traditional search and voice search, it's important to keep best practice in mind and to aim for the best of both worlds.

3. Check out The Top Keywords!

As we've mentioned, due to the nature of voice search the keywords used in queries do differ slightly from traditional SEO and it's important to keep in mind colloquial language and popular keywords like these:

  • How - How do I improve my SEO?
  • What - What time does the All Blacks game start?
  • When - When is a good time to post on Instagram?
  • Best - What is the best solution for an eCommerce site?
  • The - What is the name of the Chinese restaurant in Teed Street?
  • Is - Is the earth flat?

4. Don't Hide Content in Images

We love graphics, but a search engine can't read an image! Make sure all the content that you want Google to find is set as alternative text for images through the use of alt tags which will help with your SEO and voice search. If you include detailed imagery like infographics, make sure you accompany these with the copy as there will be too much information for an alt tag.

5. Check Your Page Speed

Page speed and load time is essential to be picked up by a voice assistant. Think about it, if your site takes even half a second longer to load then another site, voice assistants will opt for the faster option meaning you could lose valuable eyes (and ears!).

There are a few things you can do to improve the load speed of your site like compressing images and videos, or if you do need a hand with the more technical stuff, reach out to us.

6. Make the Most of Mobile!

Since last month, Google has changed their algorithm and now indexes sites based on their mobile responsiveness and experience to keep up with our mobile-driven world. This is even more important for voice search as the majority of queries occur from a mobile device. What this means for you is that if your site isn't optimised for mobile, you won't be a voice assistants first choice as a result. Find out what you can do to optimise for mobile.

7. Keep up With Google My Business

If you're a business that users might do a 'near me' search for, then creating a Google My Business listing and keeping it up to date is a great way to improve your results straight away. You can also add deals and news to your listing too!

Need a hand improving your SEO or optimising for voice search? Let’s chat!‍

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