There have been some wild predictions made about the seemingly inevitable dominance of voice search within SEO. 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020, for example. Or, even more incredibly, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by the same year (ComScore).
Here at Woven, we’re not quite so sure that voice search will be quite as predominant by then (check out econsultancy’s excellent read on this), but we do think it’s an area that will continue to grow and, as such, needs to form part of your marketing strategy.
Let’s face it, if Google are right and 20% of mobile queries are voice searches, this voice search thing is here to stay. So, how do you make sure you’re well-placed to make the most of it?
1. Have a strong local SEO game
In 2017, 58% of consumers used voice search to find local business information, whilst 46% of voice search users look for a local business on a daily basis. That means it’s never been more important to have your business details up to date and accurate. So, get onto your Google My Business page and make sure your address, contact details and opening hours are present and correct.
Why are things like opening hours important? Well, just imagine the kinds of questions you might ask your Alexa or Google Hub. ‘What time does my local hairdresser close?’ maybe, or ‘Does the local butcher open on Sundays?’
Most voice searches take the form of fact-hunting questions, which typically prompt short, objective answers. So, when it comes to your business, you’ve got to have the basics covered – the simple things that people are going to want to know about you.
2. Make sure your website is up to speed
Voice searches typically happen whilst people are out and about – which means most voice searches happen are on mobile. As such, you need to make sure your website is optimised for mobile use. Remember, Google now ranks pages depending on their mobile performance (covered in our mobile-first blog), so this is best practice anyway. But with voice search becoming more and more popular, being mobile-first-optimised is crucial.
Want to know if your website is mobile-friendly? Then Google is your friend. Check out their mobile-friendly test here. And be sure to dig into their usability report, too, which has a wealth of useful information about how to make your site more mobile compatible.
Google also tends to favour fast-loading websites when it comes to their voice search results. According to Brian Dean over at Backlinko.com, the average voice search results page loads in 4.6 seconds – 52% faster than a standard page.
So, when it comes to SEO voice search, speed really is of the essence.
3. Make your content marketing clean, concise and – above all – useful
Voice assistants such as Google Home and Hub read out what are known as featured snippets – the search results that feature on top of Google’s organic search results. So it’s a good idea to aim for the highly prized position zero.
In aiming for position zero – and as general best voice search SEO practice – this means considering a couple of things.
First, get into the mindset of your potential visitors and customers. What questions are people asking that you can solve? To help with this, head over to Answer The Public to find common questions that people are asking on your related subjects and then create content that answers those questions. This can be via blogs, video marketing, website copy and so on – just ensure you’re being useful to your potential readership. After all, potential readers are potential customers.
Second, make sure your copy is concise and easy-to-read, as this will grab the attention of Google’s crawlers. Remember, voice search queries are usually simple and objective (i.e. what is the weather doing today?), so voice assistants will obviously favour simple copy.
But that doesn’t mean give up the long form content. Going back to Backlinko, they report that the average word count of a voice search result page contains 2,312 words. So, just as Google favours long form in standard SEO, it appears they also appreciate genuinely interesting and useful content when it comes to the voice search SEO, too.
If you need help optimising your voice search SEO or making your website mobile-first, get in touch and find out how we can help.