It took a few years but voice search has finally matured, with Alexa, Siri and other voice-activated helpers now fast becoming the norm instead of a novelty. As a matter of fact, AdWeek reported that about 67 million voice-assisted devices are expected to be in use in the United States by 2019. The sheer volume means that companies have to change how they manage their digital content.
Voice search utilizes verbal input instead of typed information. However, search engine optimization for text inquiries doesn't automatically translate well to voice. Businesses will have to adjust their website to draw in voice users and improve their search results.
Here are 5 tips on how to optimize your website for effective voice search:
1. Use Language That Sounds Natural
People usually write a few keywords into the search box instead of typing the whole question. But the opposite happens in a voice search. The user will ask questions or say conversational phrases to get their query across. Make sure your website content sounds natural and that when phrases or questions are read aloud, they're clear and structured intelligently. Check that it sounds correct by saying the inquiry or phrase out loud.
2. Make Use of Structured Data
With the release of Google Assistant for cars and speakers, the company has shared some ideas on how businesses can make good use of this new feature. One suggestion made by Google Webmaster John Mueller was the use of structured data. This type of data is highly organized and can be easily searched using the algorithms used by search engines. These data packets provide clues as to what content the page has. Using structured data on your own web page will give Google extra context regarding your content.
3. Improve and Lengthen Targeted Search Phrases
You are likely already using long-tail keywords in your SEO strategies. Now it will play an even bigger role. Voiced questions and inquiries are longer than conventional keyword phrases. You'll have to integrate the less competitive and longer phrase options for a straightforward ranking.
4. Create a 'My Business' Listing on Google
People often use voice search to look up information or a business while they're driving or when their hands are otherwise occupied. You can improve your search engine ranking if you are listed on Google's My Business. This will ensure that your company's information is front and center during crucial search moments.
5. Don't Go Overboard With Optimization
Another tip that Google's Mueller suggested is for companies to not go overboard with their website optimization. While businesses will want to utilize as many voice search strategies as they can, this might cause more harm than good. For instance, web publishers might opt for a single paragraph page that solely targets voice search. This could lead to a doorway page where there are variations of questions and their short answers. A page like this would have really low value since it doesn't carry a lot of relevant information; they're just geared towards a specific voice query.
Numerous experts have weighed in on how companies can best use voice search. But regardless of the strategies you use, make sure they can easily be adjusted on your website to keep up with whatever the future holds for voice search.