Voice search is set to revolutionize SEO and transform the way brands remain visible online. Smart speaker owners in the United States increased by as much as 40% in 2018 to reach 66.4 million. By 2020, 50% of all internet searches will be done by voice, Comscore reveals. And Gartner predicts 30% of web searches will be conducted without screens in the same year. Whether it’s Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Microsoft Cortana, voice search is increasingly becoming an integral part of our everyday lives. Optimizing your blog for voice search can ensure you rank well in the search results and stay ahead of the competition.
Voice search is more conversational
There are huge differences in how people search for information in text- and voice-based searches. Text-based searches are typically short and succinct to save time. If someone wanted to find a great painter, they’d Google “best painters near me”. Voice searches, on the other hand, are longer and are usually full sentences or questions — “who are the top painters in New York?”. Typically, the questions are three to five keywords in length and start with either how, who, what, when, where, or why. That means long-tail keywords are crucial for ranking well on voice search. Voice search is also more conversational — people talk to voice-based applications naturally, just like they would speak to humans. Voice search results should also be simple and easy to understand. Even if your blog contains advanced or complex information, it should be written in a straightforward way that’s easy for anyone to comprehend.
Create featured snippets
Voice search results are fairly short — 29 words long on average. Voice assistants hone in on featured snippets and read these out to answer user queries. Featured snippets are the short summary answers displayed neatly in a box before the regular search results. Creating well-written featured snippets can therefore help optimize your content for voice search. If your featured snippet is bad (or if you don’t have one at all), your blog won’t be picked up as a relevant result by the voice assistant. Creating effective featured snippets doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Be sure to write a short summary of the topic of your blog post above the fold (remember to keep it to 29 words or less). Additionally, using sub-heading tags (H-tags like h1, h2, and h3), bullet points, and lists are favored by Google and can boost your SEO. Don’t forget to also include relevant long-tail keywords in your featured snippet.
Make sure your blog is mobile-optimized
20% of mobile queries are currently conducted by voice search. It’s therefore essential your website it mobile-optimized — otherwise users will bounce back and your site rankings will take a significant hit. Bounce back rates on mobile devices are 9.56% higher than on desktops, Google found. And pages that take five or more seconds to load are 90% more likely to experience high bounce back rates compared to pages that load in just one second or under. You can check if your blog is optimized for mobile with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, as well as take a look at Google’s PageSpeed Insights for advice on how to boost your mobile site speed. Furthermore, according to technology entrepreneur Joshua Baker, making sure your website loads quickly on both mobile and desktop will attract more visitors.
Local search results
58% of consumers use voice search to find local business information. This makes sense considering voice search is most likely to be used when you’re on the move walking or driving somewhere. Moreover, searches which include the phrase “near me” — as in “coffee shop near me” — grow by 146% every year, according to Google. Voice assistants are therefore conducting relevant location-based searches for users. That means if you want your blog content to appear as a relevant result on voice search, you must also optimize for local search results. Doing so is relatively straightforward. For example, you can quickly fill out your Business Listings Information on your Yelp or Google My Business page.
As voice search continues to grow in popularity, it becomes increasingly important for businesses to adapt to the changing times. Optimizing your blog for voice search can help boost brand awareness, site traffic, and, ultimately, revenue. It’s a crucial step to ensure impressive voice search rankings and grow your brand long-term.