Speak your audience’s language and improve your search rankings by adding voice engine optimization to your content marketing and SEO strategy.
By 2020, nearly 50 percent of online searches will be conducted using voice search. With the help of voice-friendly devices, voice search has drastically changed the way people search, where they search, and how they get search results. Today’s consumers want answers to their questions as fast and as close as possible to wherever they are. If you want to successfully compete in the digital space, you need to enhance your content and SEO for voice search. Here are our top voice engine optimization tips to help you bring in new voice search traffic and increase conversion rates:
Speed Up Your Site
Searching with your voice is 3.7 times faster than typing. Faster searches mean faster answers, so your page speed needs to be maximized in order to rank in the top voice results. According to Backlinko, the typical voice search results page loads in 4.6 seconds – 52 percent faster than an average webpage. We recommend tracking your mobile site speed using Google’s Page Speed Insights or Test My Site tools to improve your optimization.
Update Your Business Listings for Local Searches
Most of the same SEO best practices still apply when it comes to voice engine optimization. One of the most important differences is the emphasis on location. According to a recent study, 46 percent of voice search users look for local businesses on a daily basis, and 76 percent of smart speaker users perform local searches at least weekly.
Clean up your business listings to make sure your information is accurate and consistent across the board. It is important to eliminate any incorrect information about your business before Siri, Cortana, or Google Assistant can find it. Start by claiming your Google My Business and updating your profile with relevant information including your business name, address, phone number, and hours. We recommend using Yext to manage your listings and optimize for local searches.
Introduce Questions into Your Keywords and Content
How do people use voice search? They simply ask questions. Improve your website’s SEO by researching commonly asked questions related to your business and utilizing them as long-tail keywords throughout your content. As a result, Google will be able to easily identify these keywords as a match to a consumer’s voice search query, ranking your content higher on search engine results pages.
We also recommend focusing on conversational keywords and phrases in your content to help you better answer natural language questions on voice search. Use Answer the Public’s keyword tool to determine specific questions consumers are asking via voice search and implement them into your long-tail keywords and content.
Publishing content that directly answers your consumers’ questions significantly increases your chances of ranking higher in voice search results. Since question-and-answer-based content is on the rise, FAQ pages are ideal for voice engine optimization. In fact, voice search results are 1.7 times likely to come from a FAQ page compared to desktop results. Adding these types of pages to your website can help you rank for multiple voice search queries. We also recommend creating specific blog posts based on your customers’ questions and using them as cornerstone content on your website.
Optimizing your website content for a featured snippet is another way to boost your voice search rankings. Featured snippets account for 41.7 percent of all voice search answers. They also play a significant role in Google Home and Amazon Alexa search results because these devices only provide one answer for each voice search query. So if you don’t appear in a featured snippet, your content is most likely going to be invisible to voice searchers.
Include a concise summary of your content with less than 29 words, above the fold, which is the average voice search result word count. We recommend breaking down your content into snippets with more lists, paragraphs, and bullets to increase your chances of earning a spot in a featured snippet on Google. Voice assistants often try to match search questions and answers directly, so it’s a good idea to keep your content as simple as possible.
Test Your Voice SEO on Multiple Devices
When it comes to voice search, you may want to consider optimizing for different voice-activated devices. For local searches, Amazon Alexa partners with Yelp, Google Home is driven by Google Maps, Apple’s Siri gets information from Apple Maps, and Microsoft’s Cortana is powered by Bing. We recommend testing your voice engine optimization on multiple smart speakers and digital assistants to see how your site’s content matches up.