SEO for Voice Search? Is this even Possible?
Does it Really Matter?
Smartphones and smart home devices that utilise “voice-first” digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant are becoming an integral part of our lives.
In 2015, 1.7 million voice-first devices were shipped. In 2016, that number increased to 6.5 million devices. VoiceLabs predicts that in 2017, 24.5 million voice-first devices will be shipped.
With over 60% of all search now coming from mobile devices and an estimated 1 in 5 searches already being voice searches, optimising for voice search is something you really need to consider.
Compounding the need to optimise for voice is the fact that voice search differs from traditional search. It is more question-driven rather than search term- or keyword-driven.
So, what are the key things that you can do to keep ahead of the competition and appear more often for voice search results?
- Claim or Update Your Google My Business Listing
Having a claimed, and up-to-date Google My Business listing is a great way to improve your chances of showing up for a voice search, especially for local voice search. Factors such as your location, business category, opening hours and phone number will all be factors in determining your relevancy to the query.
If you need help claiming or doing some basic optimisation on your Google MyBusiness listing(s) you can find a good basic intro that BrightLocal put together here.
- Optimise your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Pages
As voice searches are predominantly made in a question form, FAQ pages will become more critical for SEO.
FAQ pages are nothing new but the key to maximising their effectiveness for voice search is to use conversational language. Voice search queries are much more long tail in nature and specific.
You need to write your FAQ questions in a natural, conversational form and keep the answers short and specific. Using this technique you may need to create more questions (and answers) and group them together. Also, don’t feel you have to restrict yourself to a single page of FAQs.
Creating specific content based around answering questions people are asking can help you appear for voice searches and increase the opportunity for your site to feature in Google “Featured Snippets”.
- Use Structured Data Mark Up
Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users.
Applying the correct schema mark up on your site becomes more critical in letting search engines know detailed information about your content and site. It also helps the search engines understand the context of the content, something which is even more important with question-based voice searches.
A point to be clear on is that, while having structured markup on your website is essential for both Rich Snippets and Rich cards, having it does not guarantee it will be used in search results. That said, in most cases, it’s well worth the effort because if it is used your website can really stand out and get a lot more traffic.
Why Should You Care
Just as you will have seen increasing mobile visits to your site for traditional search (while the proportion of desktop visits are declining), voice search is on the rise. It will reduce the volume and impact of traditional search.
Half the mobile users who complete a local search visit a store within a day. And 18% of mobile visits result in a sale within 24 hours.
If you only rely on traditional mobile and desktop SEO strategies your share of market could be put at risk and you may find yourself missing out on an important part of the funnel — those people that are looking to spend now.
Have you got your head around everything you could be doing to ensure growth and maximise your digital budget?
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