The increasingly significant adoption of smart assistants is changing the world of SEO. The majority of American households have incorporated them into the routine of their homes. Even those who do not have an Amazon Echo or a Google Home almost certainly have a smartphone, from which at least half of all search engine traffic comes. Voice search technology continues to improve on a daily basis, and search capabilities by voice are incorporated into all new smart devices, accounting for 55% of search queries.
The Importance of Voice Search
If voice search is so essential to the fabric of gathering information, your website needs to be accessible by that route if you want your business to be considered. Optimizing for voice search will impact your SEO plan in only positive ways. Voice SEO, the optimization of keywords and phrases for searches using voice assistants, is still a relatively new science, but there are some key components that we know to be essential.
Are voice search SEO and traditional website SEO different? In a word, yes. People use language differently between speaking and typing in an internet search. Typed searches tend to be keyword-heavy, while spoken queries follow a much more conversational pattern. While some argue that voice SEO is irrelevant because voice searches are converted into text during the search process, but it is important to note that the nuances of the two search styles are different, and accounting for both can only help businesses better cater to search engines and their own customers.
Strategies to Update Your Voice SEO
Optimizing your SEO strategy to include voice search accessibility does not have to mean uprooting and starting over. Consider the following and the little updates you can make to cater to voice search.
Keep It Phone-Friendly
If you want to take advantage of the majority of voice searches, make your website mobile-friendly. Avoid clunky designs that do not translate well to hand-held devices, and make sure the most important and eye-catching information is available upon first glance. If your site is difficult to navigate on a portable device, or if it takes too long to load because it is bogged down with images and large files, people will leave before you have a chance to impress them.
Some of the most common spoken searches are about navigation, and most of those are specifically for local information. As a matter of fact, voice searches are three times more likely to be local searches than text-based ones: “Hey Google, what patisseries are nearby?” or “Alexa, how close is the nearest dentist?”
Local searches tend to be very engaged. While someone might casually ask their smart assistance where the Volga River is to inform conversation at a party, queries about local pizza places aren’t likely to be so pedantic. It’s a safe bet that that search will lead to one person from that party either running out for a box of meat-lovers or calling for delivery.
To take advantage of that engagement, deliberately include content that is specific to your area. This informs your viewers (and Google) that you are in fact a local business. Craft your keywords with this strategy in mind. Use phrases common to your location, including local landmarks and institutions. Using “near me” in your meta description and internal links can drive local traffic to your site.
Keep Your Google My Business Listing Current
A Google My Business listing is an important part of making sure the snapshot details of your business (hours, location, contact information) are easily accessible when people search for them through voice search. It is a free tool that allows you to manage your presence on Google Search and Maps. Register your business through Google My Business, and keep the information current.
Keep Content Conversational and Concise
Searches through voice assistants tend to mimic real-life conversations. Keep this mind as you craft your site’s keywords. While typed searches generally only include the most fundamental aspects of a question—”libraries Buffalo”—voice searches usually use full-sentence terms: “how many libraries are in Buffalo, NY?”
In your site’s content, use language naturally—do not cram keywords in for the sake of including keywords. Not only does that make your content difficult to read, it also makes it difficult to find based on voice search. As an extra incentive, this kind of keyword cramming is known as black hat strategies and can get your site blacklisted by search engines.
Know Your Audience
What questions about your business do you get asked most frequently? The answer to these should be quickly available, as those same questions are likely the ones being asked over voice search. If you need help identifying how you can cater your SEO strategy to be voice search-accessible, give us a call at PDM today to get started.