Over the past few years, voice search has been on the rise and it’s definitely here to stay. You may find yourself utilizing this feature more than you think. In a world so time conscious, the convenience just can’t be beat! Siri hit the scene back in 2011 and things have never been the same. I don’t know about you, but I ask Siri what the weather is going to be like, what restaurants are open near me and where I can find the cheapest gas. According to PwC, 65% of 25-49 year olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once per day.
In this new(er) era of voice search, it’s important to understand that optimizing for SEO differs a bit when you throw voice search into the mix. One of the major differences being the way search queries are phrased. Voice searches tend to be more conversational and most of the time will be phrased as questions. When we search on mobile, our queries are usually short because we don’t want to put forth much physical effort toward typing and we want the answers fast seeing we’re usually on the move. This longing for fast and immediate information is one of the main reasons voice search is climbing the SEO ranks. Since a majority of these voice searches take place on mobile, it’s important to understand that your mobile presence is KEY to the success of voice search optimization.
Here’s a great tool that generates questions from keywords that will help you start your voice search research: Answer the Public
Now, let’s look at a few ways you can get started on the road to voice search optimization for your SEO strategy:
Utilize structured data (schema markup)
So, you’re already populating your site with all sorts of brilliant SEO friendly content, right? Good! Now let’s take things a little further by implementing some structured data markups into your website’s metadata. This tactic is also called “schema markup” and it helps Google better digest your content to rank your site based on relevance. When users search for your business they’re often looking for operational hours, contact info and things along those lines. So, if your data is structured accordingly, Google can pull those queries with ease.
Here’s an example of schema markup (via Search Engine Journal):
Don’t worry, structured data is not as complicated as if may seem at first glance. Google even has a tool to help you structure your content.
Google’s Structured Data Helper: https://www.google.com/webmasters/markup-helper/u/0/
Claim your Google My Business Listing
As I mentioned earlier, voice search is huge for local queries as people are often looking for establishments near them in a timely manner. This is where Google My Business comes into play! Google My Business is a FREE and easy to use tool that allows business owners to maintain their online presence across Google. Did we mention it’s FREE?! Getting your business up on the platform allows you to manage the information that Google users see when they search for your business. Accordingly, businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers. If you haven’t done so already, head over to https://www.google.com/business/ and get started!!
Now that we’ve covered the GMB basics, where does SEO and voice search come into play? Well, there are two ways a user might search for a local business
- “Dinner spots Buffalo” – If you’re a local restaurant and are on top of your local keyword optimization then your chances of appearing in the search are high.
- “Dinner spots near me” – For this type of query, Google relies on the user’s location and then looks to Google My Business Listings to display accurate results.
Google is the #1 search platform in the world so we can’t stress enough how important it is for you to make sure your visibility across Google is high.
Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
Since voice searches mainly take place on mobile devices, it’s no surprise that your site should have a responsive design to ensure your mobile presence is functional and easy to navigate. Platforms like WordPress have tons of themes that are responsive which makes things a lot easier for website creators.
Not sure if your site is mobile-friendly? Google has this awesome test tool: Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.
Google not only takes responsive design into consideration when ranking your website. Other than design, site load speed is also very important! Let’s face it, our attention spans are very short and if a site isn’t loading fast enough we’re already hopping over to the next one.
Thankfully, Google has another tool for this! https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite
Simply plug in your site and Google will do all the heavy lifting to give you results that you can act on to improve the health of your mobile site.
We hope these tips help you get a jump start on optimizing your SEO strategy for voice search. If you’re interested in learning about our SEO services, leave us a message below!