How to optimise your website for Voice Search?

23% of people in Briton (66.44 million people) have a smart device in their home, according to YouGov’s 2018 survey and I’m guessing that with the rate things have gone in the last 3 years that number is now woefully incorrect. But it still helps my point.

A ton of people have smart devices.

Even more have phones with features like Siri, Google Assistant and then some unfortunate souls like me with Samsung’s Bixby or Windows Cortana 🤮

But I’ve heard very little from developers and agencies about how much of an awesome opportunity this can be for your website.

Many marketers spend ages on SEO and making sure that your website appears high up search results pages (SERP’s) and then many developers work on boosting CTR with FAQ schema or other snazzy rich text snippets.

Rich text snippets are designed to make it easier and most importantly quicker for people to get information on search engines.

We use product schema to have reviews built into SERP

Schema Markup

We have stats like these:

Mobile Users Are 3 Times More Likely To Use Voice Search

31% of smartphone users worldwide use voice search at least once a week.

Voice Search Device Statistics Show That 55% of Teenagers Are Using Voice Search Daily

Stats from Review 42

So why aren’t we optimising websites for voice search and why aren’t we positioning our content differently to take advantage of voice search.

Google recognises that people use featured snippets and voice search to get direct, quick and easy answers and will reward websites that provide this information

Voice Search Keywords are Longer and more Conversational

Searches are no longer ‘cake recipe’
They may be “hey Siri, how can I make a cake at home”

You need to take a look at your keyword research and include more long-tail, conversational keywords that people are likely to ask over voice search.

If you provide local services or are a shop you need to work on local listings and make sure you’ve implemented localBusiness schema into your website.

Google Trends Near Me Volume

Data from Google Trends

Searches for ‘near me’ are constantly on the rise and with google maps integrating with google assistant more people than ever are using voice to search for places near them while driving.

Not to mention that searching for brick-and-mortar stores is the number 1 use case for smart assistants.

What keywords do you need to target for voice search?

Question keywords. As I said earlier, voice search queries contain a lot of question words like how, what, when, why, where. The next time you add keywords for voice search, it could be worth including these.

Long-tail keywords people aren’t as blunt over voice search mainly because it is quicker to do longer search queries over voice than it would be to type it out.

It’s also worth including filler words like “I, the, of the, on the, to, for,” etc in questions to make the query more conversational.

You need to take a look at what questions people are asking that relate to your business or industry that don’t require super in-depth answers.

For brick-and-mortar businesses, it could be questions about opening times.

How do you optimise for Voice Search?

A study on voice searches by SEMrush found that "70% of all answers returned from voice searches occupied a SERP feature (with 60% of those returning a Featured Snippet result)."

This means that for any of the above to work your site will need to rank well and be in or very close to the top position for the keywords you are trying to reach. But please don’t be disheartened you can still get your results to the top.

For example, if none of your competitors has targeted those more conversational long-tail keywords then you’re likely to surpass their SERP position and could well be at the top pretty easily.

It’s also worth including FAQ sections in your site whether it’s for voice search or rich text snippets because they are just great content to include and super helpful for mid-funnel users as they are great to find out more about the company and make comparisons from.

With the right use case in mind, you’ll have an understanding of the search intent of your audience, whether they’re reading your articles, shopping online or planning to visit your store.

The search intent of your customers (the reason behind why they’re searching) is what should direct all of your optimizations, especially when creating content for your website.

Outside of your website you also want to make sure you have a Google MyBusiness listing set up and kept up to date. The more reviews on there means that Google will know your company is trustworthy and will be more likely to promote it. Google MyBusiness listings also appear on Google Maps so when people search for places near them you’re more likely to show up.

Alexa Business/Alexa Skills

I’m sure we’ve heard of or maybe used Alexa Skills before.

In case you aren’t aware Alexa skills are like apps for your Alexa smart devices. Popular one’s include; “Alexa, guard” which turns your smart device into a kind of security device by notifying you of glass smashes or loud unusual noises.
Other Alexa skills include “Alexa, send a hug” which allows you to send a virtual hug to any of your Alexa contacts.

Anyway, back to the marketing use case.

LEGO in 2018 released an Alexa skill that offered 10 stories that could be read to kids focussed around the LEGO universe.

In 2017 the BBC launched its first Alexa skill which brought all the BBC radio stations to smart devices.

Uber in 2016 introduced an Alexa skill that allowed people to book an uber from their smart devices.

Purina developed “Ask Purina” which allowed people to ask questions about Purina’s range of products about looking after pets and about their future range of products.

The examples from other massive companies are endless but I think countless other smaller companies could implement a similar Interactive Content Strategy into their marketing plans.

Businesses that do tutoring for example could develop an Alexa skill that makes content around school subjects like English and could then read extracts, quotes, tips and tricks, advice to help people with exams.

Take a look at what content you already have and how it could be positioned differently to be effective voice results.

We all already know that content marketing drives more sales at a lot lower cost than outbound marketing campaigns. Alexa skill campaigns should complement your content marketing campaigns and should be an extension to the queries you are already trying to get in front of.

Alexa Skills for Ecommerce

For clients I’ve worked with that sell physical products I always recommend selling on Amazon despite Amazon’s questionable ethics.

With Amazon skills, it adds another way people can purchase your products from Amazon.

Just think…if you were running an Alexa skill teaching people how to use your product and then people could buy that product straight from their Alexa smart device how much of an awesome user experience that would be and how much time that would save for the user.

Ecommerce is also one of the top use cases for smart assistants.

Voice Search Use Data

Data from Statistica

Need help with Search Engine Optimisation? Or want to increase the chance of your website being used in voice search queries?

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