It’s time SMEs start optimizing their site for voice search
When you write on a computer, do you express yourself in the same way as when you speak?
Let’s say, for instance, that you want to find out the conversion rate between British pounds and US dollars. Would you do it differently when typing and when using the voice search?
For most people, the answer is generally yes. The use of smartphones and voice search assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Google’s Assistant, has meant that the world of SEO is changing (and it is becoming increasingly popular). Now, content has to be prepared to match more colloquial and ‘speaker-friendly’ questions. Back in 2014, half of the teens and 40% of adults were using voice search.
This is especially important for small and medium businesses (SMEs) who operate locally. Voice search is increasingly being used to find local services and products, meaning that ensuring your business shows up in that search, is a huge head start.
So, the big question becomes, how can you start to optimize your content for voice search users?
Match real speech
With Voice search, users are starting to ask the longer form of questions. This means that SMEs need to start looking to optimize your content towards long-tail speech content. I will recommend you to focus on long-tail keywords as well.
Just like the example in the opening, certain keywords are going to be changed. Before, a user might have said GBP or USD. Well, when they’re speaking into their phone, it’s much more likely that they’re going to say US dollars or British pounds.
Moreover, it’s not just the words themselves which will change; it’s the search query construction itself. Are you stuck trying to think how people might speak? Answer the public is a great resource for finding questions people might be asking. Type in a keyword, and you’ll be provided with a range of potential questions users might ask voice search assistants. These new ‘keyword phrases’ will help your SME engage users who are having ‘conversations’ with their phones.
Voice search queries tend to (on average) be longer than respective text searches. The text might only use one of two words, while speech searches will be closer to five or six. Make sure to check your content and make sure that it does not forget about real speech patterns.
Provide easily accessible Information (FAQs)
Frequently asked question sections are a great way to help boost your SME’s SEO in relation to voice search. Instead of direct, on-the-nail, keywords being used to highlight topics and searches, you’re now going to have to direct your answer section in a more natural manner.
Just as previously mentioned, queries are going to start becoming much longer, with less use of abbreviations and ‘computer syntax.’ You may have noticed that Google is now trying to provide direct answers to their search results. This provides a great opportunity for you to feature as an authoritative voice. Make sure that you FAQs are specific and related to that customers are going to want to know about.
If your business fills a niche, make sure to take as much advantage of that fact as possible. Find out what your market is looking for, and make sure to answer specific questions. Searches like “best digital camera” will start to disappear, and be replaced by more specific questions like “What’s the best digital camera for taking family photos.”
Google My Business
You want to make sure that there’s as much information about your SME out there as possible. Optimizing your Google My Business is a great way of doing this. The more information that search engines have related to your business, the more search queries it’s going to show up in.
This is especially important if you’re a local business. Directions and local services are one of the top searches made through the voice search functionality. It’s easy for people, while they’re on the move, to pull up their smartphones assistant and ask a quick question such as ‘where is the nearest garage,’ or ‘where is the nearest toy store for teddy bears.’ A combination of ensuring your business is registered on Google My Business, and ensuring your content is optimized for speech, will see a lot more potential customers seeing your business.
Having your address, phone number and opening hours listed online will mean that customers are easily directed to your store, and not another. You can also add simple directions and prices for your most popular products or services.
Make sure your site is optimized for mobile
This should go without saying. The vast majority of voice searches take place on mobile devices. What do you think a customer will do if they find that your website doesn’t load properly? Close it.
Ensuring proper optimization is easier than you think and can be checked with Google’s own tool: the mobile-friendly test. Make sure that the site doesn’t just have a responsive design, but make sure that it’s going to load quickly and efficiently. Slow loading websites can be a real turn-off for smartphone users, especially when they’ve just used voice search to try and speed things up.
If your website has problems loading on mobile devices, consider creating an alternative version, with less (or lower resolution) images, and a more accessible menu structure. We’ve found that websites with more optimized and easier to navigate menus, tend to be more friendly towards mobile users (and, of course, desktop users as well).
Make sure to use proper data markup
Data markup is a process whereby you mark the data on your website to make sure that it’s context is easily understood by web crawlers. Doing this requires following what are called Schemas, which will help associate your content with the right topic. Check out www.schema.org to find out more about these things. It can seem complicated, so it can help to try finding a digital marketing agency to help ensure that your content is properly optimized.