Be honest: did you really anticipate that the search voice trend would turn into such a phenomenon? Statistics just come to confirm what we've been already suspecting for a while: already 40% of adults use voice interaction on a daily basis.
Are we witnessing the dusk of classic text-based search?
Can't forecast that, but what we can easily tell is that: the voice UI trend can't go anywhere else but UP! Face it, adapt to it or be left behind!
And once you've accepted this new reality shaping the digital landscape, it's time to take measures! To properly optimize your website for search voice.
How? Adopting these 5 key SEO tactics aimed at directing not just visitors using voice search, but qualified prospects to your own website.
Ready? Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Go for Natural, Conversational Language Instead
“Instead of” the typical language that you would have used for driving people using text-based search into your website.
Lose the “too” succinct, “too” precise type of language and admit that users don't write the same way as they talk. They're more inclined to type in “to-the-point”, brief search terms and to utter far more conversational search phrases.
See the difference? Try vizualizing these 2 scenarios:
A. You're at home, in the evening, getting cozy after a hard day at work. You surf online for a software/app that would help you better organize and prioritize your tasks at work, starting with the next day. Normally you would type in something like “best productivity apps”.
B. You're awfully late for work! You've already missed your first subway and you need to take your daughter to school first, then to stop by the dry cleaner, as well, before you head to the office. And, what's worse: you haven't even had the chance to have at least one sip of coffee this morning and you're stressed out about this deadline coming soon. There's a discouraging “pile” of tasks to be carried out, ASAP, awaiting for you at work.
In this case, normally you would utter, rapidly, something that sounds far more natural like “Get more things done in less time” or “Get more things done in a day”.
The trick is that: there's no surprise trick!
It's more than predictable if you come to think of it: if you want these users to land on your website instead of your competitors' once they've made their spoken search queries, you need to get content written in a conversational, “human” tone on your website!
2. Get Your Website Local Search-Friendly
Make sure your company website's listed on the right local listings!
Why bother? Well, because people using voice search aren't just looking for generic information to enrich their knowledge with or simply to fill in their free time with. They're looking for quick solutions to their pressing needs. And meeting their needs quickly, definitely means “meeting their needs locally”.
No user opting to make a voice search query would be interested to get his flat tire fixed in a different state or to find a good place to grab something to eat in another city. They won't utter “What's the best place to grab a pizza?”, but “What's the best place to grab a pizza in X city?”.
Now speaking of getting your site local search-friendly, here are our 3 optimization tips for you:
Properly handle your customer reviews. Meaning that you should kindly ask your happy customers to reward you with positive reviews and to promptly answer the negative feedback using the utmost diplomacy
Submit your website (only) to relevant local business listings (e.g. Google My Business). And make sure to constantly update your business' key details (e.g. phone number, opening hours, prices) as soon as you change any of them. Just go back to your older listings and make the right corrections...
Add schema markup to your website.The strategically structured data will help search engines quickly recognize the above-mentioned key information about your business (opening hours, address etc.) and to easily turn it into informative results for the users.
3. Go For Longer Keyword Phrases
And this is THE gold SEO tactic that you should put on top of your list when you start to optimize your site for voice search!
It's common sense if you think of it. Just try a little empathy and step into the shoes of these two generic users here:
A. User “X” uses the classic text-based search method. He's about to use his keyboard for typing in the search terms that would get him a list of auto repair shops.
Now you surely can imagine him/her, facing a “broken engine” situation, right as he was in a big rush to get to point B. He's impatient and engaged in other little activities simultaneously (searching for his map, trying to call his wife on the other phone, maybe even trying to ask another driver some key information etc), as well. As you must surely guess: he'll be typing in the fewest number of words that would get him the right solution to his problem quickly and effortlessly: “car repairs”.
B. User Y” is about to make make a voice request, so normally (imagine him all nervous and stressed out!), his search instinctively gets more wordy. He'll naturally add some more details to his request. He'd utter something like “Find me the auto repair shop nearest to... “ or “Where can I get my engine fixed for under xxx dollars and that it's open on Sunday evening at 22.00 p.m?”. Or at least something similar.
So, you do see what we're trying to point out here, don't you? As humans we all are a bit more concise when we write and a lot more wordy when we say our request/queries out loud.
To sum up: make sure to target longer-tail keywords on your site! Not only that you'll be driving in those customers using voice search, but you'll be driving precisely qualified prospects into your site! Users making voice requests are far more likely to convert into customers, they're facing with more pressing needs, than those using text-based searches.
4. Make Sure Your Content Answers Their Questions
Most likely the users will land on your website via searches with a question format rather than through brief search terms or phrases. So, what do you do? You adapt your content to this specific format! You craft it around those specific search questions.
“But how do I know what questions my potential website visitors will be uttering for making their searches?”, you might say.
Easy! You go to “life-saving” websites such as StoryBase or Answerthepublic and type in relevant keywords.
You'll then get your lists of possible questions your users might be using when they make their searches.The right prepositions here included!
“And what do I do next? Do I just “stuff” my website's content with questions, risking to make it sound fairly unnatural?”
Our answer is: make the most of your FAQ page! Turn it into a go-to page on your website, where your visitors will find all the questions they might be asking themselves, as well as their accurate and useful answers.
Now, speaking of questions, here are two other tips for you:
Direct the users asking “What's the difference between X and Y” type of questions to the informative pages on your website. These “researchers” aren't yet ready to commit, yet they need to be encouraged and convinced/assured by delivering them precisely the information they're searching for.
Direct the “What's the closest X in...?” or the “Where can I find the cheapest Y?” type of searchers right to your landing page.These are not just “qualified prospects”, they're the “ready to commit” type of visitors. So make sure you don't risk losing them by leaving them “astray” on your site, forced to make a whole detour before they can close the deal. Target these specific type of questions with your PPC ads!
5. Optimize It For Mobile, THEN Optimize Your Site for Voice Search
The balance between desktop users and mobile users making voice searches is tremendously disproportionate!
But we're quite sure that this is no surprise discovery for you!
So the right sequence of optimization processes is this: first you get your website mobile-friendly, you make sure that it looks and works well on mobile devices. And it's then that you start to optimize your site for voice search by applying all the above-mentioned SEO tactics!
And here are some mobile optimization tips and tricks from our team here, in our digital agency in Toronto, for you:
Aim high, really high when it comes to its performance! Even if you manage to welcome users on your website, they'll remain extremely exigent when it comes to page loading speed! You'll have no excuse for not carrying enough for their time by not getting your images properly compressed! Also, keep an eye on their number, as well, and avoid heavy weighting “clutter”!
Keep your content as succinct and as easy to “digest” as possible! Get it nicely portioned into smaller paragraphs and remember not to get excessively wordy, either! Invest your skills as a copywriter and digital marketer into the attention-grabbing heading, next keep your content brief, yet effectively informative.
Give your website a mobile usability scan! You can rely on a more-than-useful tools like Google's Mobile Friendly Tester for that. It will provide you with an “enlightening” screenshot of the mobile version of your website. Seeing how it looks on mobile devices and which are its weak points (e.g. small fonts, stretched out images or the use of Flash), you can... get to work and put together your list of improvements!
“LARGE”... everything! Go for large buttons, large links! You either make the content on your site highly visible for your digital visitors or you'll lose them!
Now, “armed” with this list of SEO best practices, get to work! Optimize your site for voice search and get the most out of this (not so) new source of traffic!