optimise for voice search

From what feels like only yesterday, when voice search seemed to be a wild future prediction relative to hover boards or self-tying shoelaces, to now, where the prediction has actually come to play, most people are far behind the voice search timeline.

Voice search has sped into the world of SEO at 88mph leaving tracks of fire in its wake. This speedy arrival of voice search has left some SEO and content tactics suddenly out dated, as there has been a shift in search query structure.

According to comScore, by 2020 voice searches will account for 50% of all searches!

That is huge! Over 2 billion voice searches a day!

Now, although they are not quite there, the figures are increasing very quickly with Google stating 41% of adults and 55% of teens use voice search more than once a day.

This means one thing for certain; websites need to include voice search into their SEO strategies and start being optimised yesterday to be ready for tomorrow.

Before you frantically start changing every bit of content on your site in an attempt to prepare for when the lightning strikes, read a little further.

Voice search trends

It’s important to know how voice search is affecting search queries in general, and how your content needs to answer the new way questions are being asked.

How people use voice search vs. type search

The fact that on average people speak around 150 words per minute but only type 40 words per minute, points us in one direction.

When using voice search people will use longer search queries than when using a typed search. If you’ve ever done or heard anyone do a voice search, you may have noticed that the person speaks to the device like a human rather than just stating a couple of words that they would have typed into a search engine.

Text Search

“Back to the Future films”

Voice Search

“How many Back to the Future films were made?”

Text Search

“Christopher Lloyd films”

Voice Search

“What films did Christopher Lloyd star in?”

From the examples above, we can see a clear difference between the two types of search queries, which you would expect to bring up the same page of results. Rather than stating three words (which has been the norm for years when typing) and leaving search engines to work their magic, voice searches tend to be longer and include a question.

What people use voice search to find

A study by BrightLocal revealed that 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information.

To put that into perspective, with over 2 billion voice being made every day by 2020, local business voice searches are only going to increase.

As such, all businesses (especially local businesses) need to make sure they are including the right forms of information to tell search engines they have what the searcher is after.

What information people want to see when using voice search

This applies to all SEO but it is still just as relevant for voice search. Give your searchers as much information as you can without them having to click on to your site.

Give them directions, a call button and some ratings. Make it easy for them to find, contact and trust you.

Google directions make it easy for people to find your business. So make it easy for Google to find you. If you don’t your competitor will rank higher in the list of results and that could be the difference between getting a new customer.

How to optimise your website for voice search in 5 steps…

1. Setup your Google My Business listing

Google My Business (GMB) listing helps you set up your business location and make your business findable in Google.

Make sure that you set this up properly by accurately entering your company name, address and phone number exactly how it appears on your website.

GMB also gives you the option to add a company description in the ‘introduction’ field. You should view this as an ad and should take this opportunity to sell your company by answering some of the questions your customers will voice search.

For example, if you sell flux capacitors in Hill Valley you would benefit from answering the below voice search: 

Voice search

“Where is the best flux capacitor shop in Hill Valley?”

Include in Introduction field

We have been voted as the best flux capacitor dealer in Hill Valley for 2018.

Once you have your GMB setup you can then add a Google map to your contact page or website footer.

2. Add schema mark-up data

In short, schema markup data is search engine targeted content.

Where you write content that is designed to engage with your audience and tell them what you company does, schema markup is the search engine equivalent.

Implementing schema markup adds a level of information to the back of your site in a language search engines quickly understand. Making it easier for search engines to understand your website means they don’t have to route around for the information and can be certain your information is providing an answer to the user.

There are thousands of different uses for schema markup from products to recipes, which help search engines recognise your content, establish search relevancy, and display more info in search engine result pages (SERPs).

Simply add the right markup to the right pages and Google will understand your site a whole lot better. This is a step that cannot be overlooked.

Use the Structured Data Testing Tool from Google to help generate your markup data.

3. Answer long-tail voice search queries

We already know that people are now using longer search terms when using voice search. But what are the implications for SEO?

Content structure.

You need to incorporate answers to the questions your clients and customers are going to ask of your company, products and industry. Write these answers in to your websites copy and blog content to show that you know what your customers need and you have the solution.

Add the answer to the question in headers to give your site the best advantage.

How will you know what questions people are asking?


No. Know. There is help out there from Answer the Public.

Great Scott!

Answer the Public finds the most asked questions around a particular subject and displays them in an easy to digest diagram. These questions will help sculpt your content and even provide insights to what content you need to include in your site.

4. Offer more information with a featured snippet

A featured snippet gives the searcher a brief answer to their question without having to click on to a site.

Why is this relevant to voice search?

Someone who has opted to use voice search is most likely doing so to save time. Supplying a featured snippet gives the user just enough information to answer the question and encourage clicks in the pursuit of more information.

Bulleting pointing or offering a step-by-step guide has proven to be one of the most engaging ways to answer questions.

To sum up

To optimise your site for voice search make sure you are not only restructuring your content to answer the new way of questioning but you are displaying it in a search engine friendly way.

Think about how your audience is talking to their devices and answer in a similar way. In essence, answer them as if you are having a face-to-face conversation and you’re already on your way.

Add in some technical SEO and follow the steps above to bring your site back to the future and be ready for a time where voice search is being used over 2billion times a day.

As a multi-discipline digital marketing agency, we offer a full range of SEO services. If you would like to see how we could help with your voice search ranking contact us to get your free review.

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