In 2019 it was estimated that nearly 40 percent of internet users in the United States use voice search. This equates to around 111.8 million people. With the rising popularity of voice assistants such as Google, Siri, and Alexa, there is an expectation that this number will continue to grow. If you are a small business owner, it is vital to optimizing your website for voice search. You never know how your next customer will find you! Keep reading to find out why voice search optimization is essential for you and tips on optimizing.
What do people use voice search for? Most people have seen the funny videos of people asking Siri ridiculous questions that then get hysterical answers. However, beyond the funny, the utilization of voice search varies widely.
In a 2018 study, it was determined that about 58 percent of consumers looked for a local business using voice search. In addition, 46 percent of individuals who use voice search daily are searching for a local business. 51 percent of users who use voice search are looking for a local restaurant. 28 percent of users searching call the company they were looking for.
When looking at just smart speakers, 62 percent of users will purchase using their smart speakers in the next month. When people are completing a voice search using their smart speaker, the following is true:
- 70 percent are asking for music
- 64 percent are looking for a weather forecast
- 53 percent are asking fun questions
- 46 percent are looking for the news
- 34 percent are asking directions
In 2020, around 30 percent of internet browsing sessions were screenless. With these numbers, it is evident that voice search is making an impact, and it is essential for your business to optimize for voice search.
Who Uses Voice Search?
While teenagers most commonly use voice search, the prevalence of voice search use amongst adults is growing. Voice search options are three times more likely to be used on mobile than other devices. However, predictions are expecting more and more households to have smart speakers in the coming years. When you look at ages, people between the ages of 26 and 35 are the most likely to use voice search. Do not, however, exclude the older generations as they have begun to adopt this technology as well.
How Does Voice Search Work?
There are many things you can do using voice search. You can make phone calls, search restaurants, start apps, search local businesses, and more.
When completing a voice search, there are a few things that happen. First, the user asks their question, and the question gets processed and transcribed into text. Next, that text gets analyzed to detect commands and queries. Third, there is a connection to the external data engines or search engines to find information. Finally, the information obtained gets translated into a format where the user can use it for their intent. As a small business, you want to be on that page when the user sends the data.
Voice Search SEO
Voice search SEO optimizes your content, keywords, metadata, phrases, and more to help you rank higher when users complete a voice query. The difference between a traditional search and a voice search is that voice searches use more natural language. For example, if you are looking for information on voice search SEO and you were to type your search, you would likely type "voice search SEO." However, when using voice search, it is more likely you would say, "what is voice search SEO."
Voice Search SEO Tips
There are multiple steps you can take to optimize your content for voice search results. Some of these tips you may already be using in your content.
Schema markup is a code that can be added to your website. Other names for schema markup are structured data. Essentially schema markup allows a search engine to understand the content on your website by providing context.
While many search engines exist, Google is by far the most popular. Between Alexa devices being in many homes and Android phones coming equipped with Google as a voice assistant, using Google for voice search queries is increasingly popular. Due to this understanding, Google voice search SEO and how users get results are essential. However, if you pay attention, people do not even need to visit the website for their questions to be answered. Google will read them a short featured snippet that answers their question, or there will be a drop-down that readers can view right from their google page.
There are four basic types of featured snippets you will see on Google. The first type of featured snippet is the definition box. This box typically answers the question "what is." The second type is a table. In this type, Google pulls data from a page and shows it as a table. The third type is an ordered list. This is used when it is giving directions or ranking things such as the most popular Disney movies. The last type is an unordered list. It is creating a list, but the items are not in any particular order.
If you want your website to show up in one of these featured snippets, then you must also optimize your page to show up in these. You can use schema markup to have a better chance at showing up for these snippets as well!
Build FAQ Pages
When users do voice searches they are typically asking a question. Your FAQ page will answer questions commonly asked, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why.
Each question on your FAQ page should begin with one of those questions. When answering the question, be sure to do so conversationally. This helps appeal to the voice search. Schema markup is also recommended here.
Long-tail keywords are more specific keywords. These keywords are going to help direct a user who knows precisely what they want.
For example, if someone searches "Starbucks in Flagstaff," the result will be every Starbucks in Flagstaff. However, if you search "Starbucks in Flagstaff near Walnut Canyon National Monument," the results will be narrowed down further.
It was mentioned above that most voice queries use natural language. So when you are choosing long-tail keywords, make sure they are conversational.
Create a Mobile-Friendly Site
Many internet users are now using their phones to browse the internet. This includes doing voice searches on their mobile phones. Most voice searches are done from a mobile device.
Ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly will make the user experience better when people perform voice searches on their phones. If you are unsure if your website is mobile-friendly, you can use Google's test tool.
Update Your Google My Business Listing
Keeping your Google My Business listing up to date helps customers know your hours, how to contact you, and more. However, it also helps with making sure your business shows in the results when users google you.
Google determines local ranking using three factors. The first factor is relevance. So, how relevant is your business to the search performed? A complete profile can help Google find your local businesses.
The next factor is distance. How far is the user from your business?
The third factor is prominence. Prominence is about how well known the business is. Places such as famous landmarks or well-known stores are likely to be prominent in local search results. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands are also expected to be prominent in local search results. However, it can also be determined by the information that Google has about your business. This information can come from links, articles, and directories. Review Count and score both are factors in local search rankings as well.
Pay Attention to Site Speed
The speed of your site matters. Regular searches on a desktop are fast, but mobile searches are even faster. Making sure that you are optimizing your website speed is essential when it comes to SEO. You can use Google Page Speed Insights for ideas on how to optimize your website's speed.
Keep Up With Regular SEO
Regular SEO practices will also help your rankings when it comes to voice search. Even though it is vital to utilize these tips for voice search optimization, do not forget regular SEO best practices.
Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
Are you ready to optimize your website for voice search? Follow these tips and watch your website rise in the rankings.
E-Marketing Associates is here to help small businesses grow. Our core values are education, innovation, integrity, and partnership. Contact us today, and let us partner with you as you seek to grow your business.