The No-Nonsense Guide to Voice Search Optimization

A guide to voice search optimization.

Image: Novy Studios


The internet is changing, have you noticed? We used to type questions into Google and the other search engines. Now we simply speak to our devices and let them to all that hard work for us. Welcome to the voice search revolution!

In this article, we’ll discuss all thing voice search optimization: what it is, why it’s important, and how to optimize your company’s website for it. Ready? Let’s dive in!

What is Voice Search Optimization?

Let’s start with the basics: what is voice search optimization? Voice search optimization is the act of optimizing a company’s website for voice search. If you’re not familiar with the term, voice search is when users use voice assistant technology to search for things on the internet.

For example, if you own an iPhone, you may have, at one time or another uttered something along the lines of, “Siri, where’s the nearest Mexican restaurant to me?” Your phone would have then searched the internet for you and read back a list of results — all without you ever having to type out the query or even look at your device!

Unsurprisingly, this convenience has been a hit with users and voice assistant technology has become a big industry. Many companies now offer voice assistants and it’s beginning to change the way that people use the internet.

Why is Voice Search Optimization Important?

Voice search is changing the way people find answers online. As a marketer or business owner, you need to be aware of these changes so that you can capitalize on them. Take a look at these stats:

  • According to Google, 41% of people use voice search daily. And 20% of all mobile queries are conducted via voice search.
  • And Geomarketing tells us that 65% of Google Home and Amazon Echo users can’t imagine going on without voice search technology.
  • But here’s the real kicker: Comscore estimates that by 2020 (next year!) 50% of all searches online will be voice searches.
  • If you’re wondering why voice search has become so popular, the answer is speed. According to Bing, voice search is 3.7 times faster than typing queries out by hand.

Ready to jump on the voice search optimization bandwagon? Here’s how:

3 Steps to Optimize for Voice Search

Voice search is obviously a big deal. But how can your business prepare and optimize its website to capitalize on this growing trend? We have three simple steps to help you out.

1. Adjust Your Keyword Strategy

Keywords have always played a major role in SEO. Voice search isn’t going to change that. BUT, to really ensure voice search optimization, you’ll need to adjust your keyword strategy. Keep these tips in mind:

Aim for Question Keywords

Most people use voice search to find answers to their burning questions. So it makes sense to optimize your keyword strategy accordingly. That means prioritizing phrases that start with “Who,” “What,” “When,” “Where,” “Why,” and “How.”

If you’re looking for a quick way to generate these keyword phrases, we recommend a solution called Answer the Public, which is a tool that automatically generates questions around a specific keyword.

Keep it Conversational

Like we mentioned earlier, voice search has changed the way that people search for things on the internet. Rather than typing something such as, “best kids tennis racquet,” they might say something like, “Hey Google, what’s the best tennis racquet for kids?”

See the difference? Not only are voice searches generally longer, but they’re also much more conversational. So, when optimizing your company’s website for voice search, make sure that the keywords you use sound like phrases a real human being would say.

Don’t Neglect the Long Tail

As we just alluded to, conversational keywords tend to be longer. Which means you should try to include them in the content your company publishes. In SEO, long tail keywords are phrases that consist of at least three words.

So when creating new content or updating old pieces, don’t shy away from long phrases. You might not want to optimize your entire website for the long tail. But by including them throughout your website, you’ll be able to attract many more voice searchers.

2. Optimize Your Website Content

Now that your keyword strategy is aces, it’s time to look at your website content. You’ll want to remember these two tips as you both create new content and update old website copy:

Google Loves Concise Answers

Last year, Backlinko conducted the largest voice SEO search ranking factors study ever. In it, they found that Google loves search results that answer questions concisely. In fact, the study determined that answers of 30 words or less will generally rank highest.

Does that mean you should start creating incredibly short blog posts? Not at all! Long form content still tends to perform better overall. But it does mean that the FAQ section on your website just got a lot more important…

Don’t Skip the FAQ Page

According to Backlinko, FAQ pages are the perfect place to answer searcher questions concisely. The same study referenced above found that voice search results are 1.7 times more likely to come from FAQ pages than other areas of your site.

FAQs are also beneficial because they can potentially rank your website for dozens if not hundreds of voice searches! Consider beefing up your FAQ section. You may be able to drive a lot more traffic because of it.

3. Remember the Fundamentals

Finally, just because technology is changing the way people use the internet doesn’t mean you can neglect tried and true SEO fundamentals. These three best practices are still important:

Domain Authority Still Matters

Domain authority can be thought of as your website’s reputation and is expressed as a number between 1 and 100. The closer your company’s website scores to 100, the more likely it is to rank well in search engine results.

That’s because websites that score high generally have a lot of quality backlinks and this leads Google and other SEs to view these sites as more trustworthy. This still rings true when it comes to voice search. Higher domain authority will typically allow a website to rank for voice queries more often. So don’t neglect your DA score.

Improve Your Website Speed

Users love voice search because it gives them the answers they need faster. And Google loves speedy sites because they enable it to better serve users. Put these two things together and it’s no wonder that website speed plays a role in voice search rankings just as it does for traditional SEO. It’s in your company’s best interest to ensure your site loads fast.

Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

Lastly, as has been the case for quite some time now, mobile-friendly websites always win. If your company’s site isn’t optimized for mobile, it’s time to get with the program.

Mobile friendliness is especially crucial when it comes to voice search as a large portion of voice queries come via smartphones. If you’re unsure of your company’s standing in the mobile category, test it using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.

In a nutshell, to ensure proper voice search optimization, make sure your website is mobile friendly. If it isn’t, fix it immediately.

Is Your Company Ready for the Voice Search Boom?

Follow the tips we laid out in this article and it will be! All you have to do is adjust your keyword strategy for voice search, optimize your website content so that it’s easily found via voice queries, and remember the fundamentals of great SEO. Do that and your company will have a great chance at topping Google’s search results. Good luck!

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