Long gone are the days when finding information on any topic was a struggle. With the rise of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, information was at our fingertips, literally. But we still had to work a little harder than we do now to search for the content we needed.
Remember having to press the same key four times to get to the letter S? Well now, you don’t even have to press it once. Thanks to voice assistants, we just have to talk to them and ask them to pull up the content we want.
And this hasn’t just been a passing trend. Statistics show that in 2022, there are 135.6 million people using voice search in the US alone. This has gone up by 2.7% since last year. So do you need to optimise your content for voice search? Yes, unless you want to lose out on potential customers. But what can you do to make sure your website is optimised for voice search? Read on to find out.
What is voice search optimisation?
Voice search optimisation is using keywords and phrases that will help search engines crawl, index and rank your site better when someone uses a voice assistant to search for something. For example, if someone searches Google by asking: Hey Google, who is the best London-based web development agency? Google will likely bring up Lilo in their search results, because we are, but also because the site is optimised to cater for voice searches.
Why is voice search optimisation important?
Rather than typing into a search box, users are now opting to use verbal search commands. According to a survey conducted by PWC, 71% of consumers prefer using voice search instead of the traditional typing method. This means that websites not only have to be optimised with keywords and phrases to help them rank higher in searches, but also with voice search results.
And voice searches are becoming more refined. The way we tend to voice our search commands is usually different to the way we type them. This has resulted in voice assistants becoming smarter and able to interpret natural phrases more easily.
Voice search optimisation can help:
- Influence purchases
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Statistics show that voice search generates more than $2 billion in sales
- Increases traffic and brand awareness
- Improves usability, especially for users with vision impairment
- Drive conversion rates
- Builds value for local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
How do you optimise for voice search?
1. Use conversational language – voice assistants are getting smarter, which means they sound and understand conversations almost as well as a human can, or at least most humans (some are still a bit iffy in their communication skills). Users also speak differently to the way they write, they’re more conversational. So think of ways that your users might request information. Would they give a direct command, e.g. show me the best web development agency in London, or would they ask it as a question? For example, who is the best marketing agency in London?
2. Make it easily understandable – content should always be clear, concise and easy to understand. But this is more evident with voice search. Voice assistants need to be able to pick up on what you’re putting down very quickly and seamlessly if you want them to suggest your content as an answer to a query. For example, make sure your content has headings for clear structure and avoid jargon or acronyms.
3. Consider variations in language and dialect – remember that your target customers may use different languages or dialects so it’s good to optimise your content for these variations. You should also consider optimising for local searches, since over 55% of people use voice search to find a local business.
4. Use simple and relevant keywords – people usually won’t go into detail when using a voice search, they’re more likely to be direct. So if you’re using complex phrases or words, chances are your customers aren’t using the same kind of language, plus the voice assistants won’t be able to recognise your choice of words as relevant. It’s best to stick to simple content that matches the intent and needs of your target audience.
5. Think mobile – many voice assistants are used via mobile devices. WebFX found that 31% of smartphone users use voice search at least once a week. That’s a significant number of people to warrant a focus on mobile-first design. Ensuring your site has a responsive design will enable your customers to view it on any device.
6. Be consistent – when you’re optimising, think of speech patterns that your consumers may have. Being consistent with the way you phrase your content according to how your consumers speak will help voice assistance recognise your content as relevant to them. They’ll be more likely to suggest them as results in future searches.
Voice search has become increasingly popular over the years. Its success has driven us to think more creatively while still focusing on access and usability. Optimising your content for voice search is very important, as you’ve realised. If you’re looking to get your content in tip-top shape, get in touch with us. We offer award-winning SEO services that will make you not only voice your business’s success but shout about them.