Guest post by Shane Barker.
Voice searches have shot up in popularity over the past few years. Currently, there are over 4.2 billion voice assistants in the world, and by 2023, this number is expected to double to 8.4 billion units.
What’s more, Google reports that 27% (which actually seems low) of the online population around the world is using voice search on their mobile devices.
Clearly, voice searches are going to become even more popular. But as a webmaster, this also means that you need to optimize for these searches to ensure that you rank well for them.
Here are half-a-dozen of the best voice search strategies you can leverage.
Voice Search Optimization Strategies
Here are six of the best strategies you can implement to optimize your website for the rise in voice searches.
1. Use Conversational Keywords
The way to do keyword research is drastically different for voice searches and regular searches.
Voice searches tend to be more conversational in nature, while text-based searches are usually short.
In fact, it was found that text searches are most commonly one to three words long. Voice-based searches, on the other hand, are often over seven words long.
When optimizing for voice searches, you need to concentrate on conversational keywords. For instance, instead of “learn digital marketing” your keyword phrase should be something like “where can I learn digital marketing?”
It’s also essential to figure out what questions your audience might ask. These are the terms that you need to incorporate into your content.
2. Leverage Schema Markup
If you haven’t implemented schema markup on your website, this may be the time that you start using it. By using schema, you can increase the chances of your website appearing as a rich result in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Schema helps search engines understand your content better, which means they may rank it higher as well.
If you manage to get your website into as a featured snippet, the chances are that any voice search related to that may quote your website.
In fact, schema is so important that a SEMrush study found that almost 70% of all the answers of voice searches come from featured snippet results.
Here’s an example of a featured snippet.
Further, Google has launched the beta version of the speakable schema.
It’s likely that in the future, you may be able to use this along with other schema types to mark up regions of your content that can be read out by voice assistants.
3. Optimize Your Content
The goal of voice searches is to get quick and succinct answers. For this reason, you need to structure your content such that it has questions and answers.
However, the typical voice search answer snippet is fairly short. In fact, research by Backlinko found that the average voice search snippet is only about 29 words long.
So, it’s essential that you structure your content in a way that the search engine can get such snippets from it.
One way of optimizing your content is by adding frequently asked questions (FAQs) to your site. These can be extremely helpful because they include both questions and answers.
Both of these factors are essential for voice searches, and the format in which FAQs are written makes it easy for the search engine to pull the data from your content.
4. Make Your Content Conversational
In addition to finding long-tail conversational keywords, you should try to write as much of your content as practical in a conversational manner.
Because voice searches are conversational, your chances of getting featured in one are diminished if you use robotic language (or just bad copywriting) in your content.
By using a natural conversational tone, you’ll not only be able to improve your chances of getting featured in voice searches but will also engage your audience more effectively.
To do this, you can leverage several tools for content writing. They can help you detect errors in your content and its flow too.
When you use a conversational tone in your content, you’ll also be able to incorporate the questions seamlessly into it.
5. Improve Your Page Loading Speed
Though your page doesn’t technically “load” when someone uses voice search, load speed nevertheless does affect the chances of your website appearing as the go-to result for the search.
The same study by Backlinko found that the average page loading time for a voice search result page is 4.6 seconds. This is almost 52% faster than the average page loading speed of all websites.
This makes it clear that page loading speed is a ranking parameter for voice searches as well.
Why? Because people want to get quick answers to their searches. If the page loads slowly, that won’t be possible.
So, you need to optimize your website for loading speed to improve your chances of getting featured in voice searches.
You can check your current page loading speed by using Google PageSpeed Insights. The tool also gives you detailed fixes that you can implement to improve it as well.
6. Go Local
Local searches make up a significant share of voice queries. In fact, about 58% of voice search users leverage it to search for local businesses.
Hence, optimizing for local search is crucial so that you don’t miss out on these queries.
You can use tools like BrightLocal and leverage Google My Business (GMB) to improve your chances of getting featured in voice searches.
By claiming and optimizing your GMB listing, your business may get featured in local search results. You don’t need to do anything more than getting your on-page optimization and local SEO right for this.
The popularity of voice searches is soaring, and if you haven’t optimized your website for them yet, this is a great time to do so.
You can start by finding conversational keyword phrases and then incorporating them into your content. It’s also critical that you make your content conversational, too.
By adding the right schema markup and optimizing your content’s format, you can further improve your chances of ranking for voice searches.
Finally, if you’ve got a local business, use tools and optimize your GMB listing for voice searches.
Do you have any questions about the methods mentioned above? If so, ask them in the comments.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant for 15 years with an emphasis on Influencer Marketing in the last 5 years. He is specialized in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.