How Should I Optimize My Website for Voice Search in 2020?

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Written by: Guest | Best Company Editorial Team

Last Updated: February 24th, 2020

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Guest Post by Vishal Vivek

We are all set to enter the voice-first world in 2020.

The primary reason for this is because consumers are using voice instead of typing to search for queries, make purchase decisions, find local businesses and so much more.

Users are increasingly shifting towards voice search through tablets, phones and voice assistants like Google Home. Apple users depend on Siri, Google voice search is popular for Android users and Cortana assists users navigate desktops, smartphones, xbox and other devices.

Hence, not gearing up for this revolution can adversely affect your websites SERP rankings.

  • What is voice search?
  • Use long tail keywords
  • Create long form content
  • Improve your website's speed
  • Pay attention to featured snippets
  • Add voice search FAQ pages
  • Refer to the official user guidebooks
  • Include ranking videos in your SEO strategy

What is voice search?

In simple terms, voice search allows users to search queries online through spoken voice commands rather than typing. Although, voice searches can be conducted both on desktop as well as mobile phones, it is more prevalent in the latter.

This technology has been around for quite sometime now; however, it has tremendously increased recently.

Here are some statistics to back our claim:

  • Google has reported that 20% of queries on its mobile app and Android devices are voice searches.
  • According to Comscore, 50% of all online searches will be voice based by 2020.
  • Search Engine Watch has reported that mobile voice related searches are three times more likely to be local rather than generic or global queries.
  • As per Activate, there will be around 21.4 million smart speakers in the United States by 2020.

Therefore, not optimizing your website’s voice search can make it disappear from top search results leading to decline in traffic.

Here are a few easy and insightful ways to optimize your website for voice search in 2020.

Use long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords prove to be very effective when you are optimizing your website’s voice search.

As the name suggests, long-tail keywords are search queries that are longer than normal search words/phrases. Such keywords are usually precise, and many websites ignore them for shorter and more competitive queries.

Interestingly, long-tail keywords are responsible for approximately 69 percent of all search queries. This means that although they are less competitive, they are still quite important.

Another reason why optimizing your voice search with long-tail keywords is important is because voice searches are conversational in nature.

When you target long-tail, conversational keywords, you are answering questions from your target customers. Then you stand a much better chance of ranking for those queries and appearing prominently in search results.

Often, long-tail keywords are cheaper but enjoy better click-through rates than shorter keywords.

According to seoClarity, a set of 25 keywords trigger 20 percent of all voice searches. Therefore, if your keywords include question words such as how, what, or adjectives such as best or easy, you can expect better search engine results for your website.

Keywords Table

Source: seoClarity

Create long form content

The success of your website is not only dependent on the SEO, but also on the quality of your content. Your website requires high-quality articles that are valuable for your target consumers. The content must provide answers to their queries and direct them to you. The higher the quality and relevance of the content, the more likely search engines to rank it better and draw higher traffic to your website.

Search engines tend to source voice searches from long-form content. Therefore, to appear on the top, word count of all your webpages much be above the stipulated numbers (generally 1,900 words).

Here is how you can create the perfect long-form content piece:

  • Create an in-depth, well-researched article or blog. Search engines prefer articles which have all the information users are looking for in one place.
  • Add LSI keywords. Such keywords are related words and not exact synonyms. However, they can dramatically improve your chances of appearing in search queries.
  • Add target keywords to subheadings to again improve your chances of ranking high on search queries.
  • The content has to be in-depth, but also concise. Long-form content must not be fluff-filled. A typical voice search answer comprises of only 29 words, therefore, being precise is important too.

Improve your website’s speed

This step may not be related to voice search; however, it is quite important. This is because the search engines prefer websites that load quickly.

For instance, there are two similar websites, the one that loads faster get to be first on the search results list. Therefore, irrespective of the type of search speed is important.

Optimizing website loading speed is very important because mobile voice search users are looking for quick results on the go.

And if your website isn’t ranking well on mobile search due to speed issues, then it is likely to affect your voice search opportunities.

Few steps to ensure your website speed is optimized:

  • Compress images
  • Enable caching
  • Avoid multiple page redirects
  • Reduce JavaScript implementation time
  • Defer unused CSS
  • Pre-load key requests
  • Enable text compression

You can run this quick test and analyze your website speed.

Pay attention to Featured Snippets

A study by Brian Dean has established that at least 40 percent of voice searches come from featured snippets. This is enough reason to optimize your website for voice searches with featured snippets.

Here is how you can optimize for featured snippets:

  • Depending on the content type, leverage structured data by using schema mark-up. For instance, if you’re answering “how to swim” you must use “HowToSection” mark-up in your page’s code to help Google crawl through the content and recognize the data.
  • Also, ensure that the content is structured well using headings, sub-headings, and bulleted lists. This will make it easier for search engines to recognize and pull out relevant answers to search queries from your content.

The most important benefit of optimizing your website for featured snippet is that, if a user using voice search is expecting a verbal reply, the result will be read out from a website having featured snippets. 

Featured Snippet

There are several techniques to get your webpage content to get displayed as a featured snippet. It is important to know that it lies in the content of your webpage. Many case studies have been created around how several websites achieved this feat without being as popular as Wikipedia or any other high-domain authority website.

It has been established that following these tips can help your web page appear as a featured snippet on SERPs:

  • Brainstorming common questions asked by users in your niche domain
  • Answers must be clear, to-the-point, and crisp
  • Optimizing website to make it easier to search for search engines as well as users
  • Updating content regularly as Google pulls out latest information

Add voice search FAQ pages

FAQ pages are a must when you are optimizing your website for voice search. FAQs check two boxes to help your website appear in voice searches:

  • Google gives voice search answers in approximately 30 words so do FAQs
  • FAQ answers questions and question keywords are on the rise.

That is probably why a FAQ page has 1.7x more chances of coming up for voice search results.

Also, try grouping common question on the same page. The FAQ answers must be conversational and have a very natural tone. You can rank FAQ pages for several different voice searches too.  

Refer to the official user guidebooks

Even if you do not like taking instructions, it is highly recommended to read the official voice search user manual for each platform.

Approach the manuals as if you’ve just bought your first Windows, Android or iOS smartphone, and read the guides to find out how you can best optimize your experience.

The information might seem basic, however there are many users who will be experiencing voice search for the first time.

For instance, Apple has a comprehensive guide on how users can use Siri to find information on their phone. Similarly, Google and Cortana too have similar guides.

Certain third parties like CNET too provide excellent information on Siri commands and Ok Google commands.

It is recommended that you save these references and to remember phrases and questions, which users typically use when conducting a voice search.

Another great resource that you can use as a reference to optimize your voice search is Google's newly-published Voice Search Quality Guidelines.

Include ranking videos in your SEO strategy

When answering voice queries, videos seem to play a big part in Google’s strategy. Videos tend to show up more often for natural language keywords.

For instance, when a standard search is conducted for “cut papaya,” Google understands that the query means the user wants to know “how to cut a papaya”.

Google displays videos as the third featured result just below the featured snippet and the related questions people may ask.

 

How to cut a papaya

 

And when natural language keywords are searched for – how do I cut a papaya, then a video snippet is displayed as the top results.

 

Papaya video search

Therefore, it is important that you try ranking your videos by optimizing them for SEO. This will include optimizing the video titles, description using long tail/conversational voice search keywords. 

Wrapping up

Voice search is the next big thing and is here to stay. Marketers must follow the trend and optimize their websites accordingly or be left behind creating the same old format of content.

It is time businesses modify their SEO Strategy and incorporate voice search optimization to gain an edge over their competitors. It may be a lot of hard work, but it’s all worth it.

Vishal Vivek is an eminent Indian serial entrepreneur. Despite having to shoulder huge family responsibilities at a tender age, lack of proper training, and a dearth of resources and funding, he started SEO Corporation and scaled it up to a well-known SEO company with sheer will power and integrity of character. In the uncertain world of search engine optimization, he is one of the few experts who gives guarantees and honors them. The Times Group recognized him as a legendary entrepreneur and published his biography in the book I Did IT (Vol 2) when he was just 30.Reach him here.

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