“Ok. I found this on the web for What is Voice Search Optimisation? Check it out”, says Siri in response to my question. His voice – set to British: Male by default – is familiar to me, after a few years of hearing it. On my screen appears a list of the top results.
Apple’s Siri is one of the big names – along with Google Now and Amazon’s Alexa – in Voice Search Assistants. For some of us, this is all a bit spooky. Talking to our devices is the stuff of sci-fi films and the inter-human connection seemingly gone wrong. But from an SEO perspective, Voice Search is one of the most exciting trends out there.
What is this trend all about? And why is Voice Search Optimisation so important for your business?
Voice Search is the fastest rising ecommerce trend. According to the Global Web Index, over 27% of the worldwide online population was using voice search on mobile before the COVID-19 pandemic. In Great Britain, 49% of 25-34 year-old adults used a virtual assistant speaker or app from January to February 2020.
This number is now significantly higher, with lockdowns driving people to rely on their devices more than ever. This type of search is also coming to be seen as a more hygienic way of using devices: the 2020 Gartner Pandemic and Behaviours study suggests that 32% of consumers are interested in hands-free technology that would limit touching or contamination.
So, how should you Optimise your Website for Voice Search?
1. Conversational content
You might have noticed that when I asked Siri What is VSO?, I naturally asked a full-sentenced question. Unlike when we type in shorthand, when we are speaking aloud we mostly communicate whole sentences to devices, as if talking to a person.
Essentially, this means that you should include conversational language in your website copy. Of course, your website content should always be concise and highly relevant. But there should also be a large amount of it that inherently consists of natural sounding phrases, so that it will relate to certain voice search queries and be picked up by the search engine. You might have noticed that one way most businesses like to achieve having this sort of content is through the inclusion of extensive FAQ pages. This also enables them to include question words – what, why, who, etc. – in their content, which are frequently included in voice searches.
With the right written content, you are playing by the rules of search engine algorithm techniques, and your website is likely to be higher up on the search engine results. You’ll notice that, in my case with Siri, I am only offered 3 search results. It can be a tough competition then! – make sure you’re giving your business the best chance.
2. Keep your website speed up
Voice Search Assistant technology has been developed in the knowledge that someone who is using voice search as opposed to other typed-based searches is doing so because they have less time, or seek an immediate response.
For this reason it is important to make sure your website can load fast enough and prevent your bounce-rate from increasing (something that Google would detect). Speed is something to bear in mind when writing your website content too, by making it concise and informative.
3. Remember, it’s a mobile world
The majority of people using voice search do so from mobile devices, particularly smartphones. Not surprisingly, then, people are often physically mobile themselves when using voice search. Although it can of course be said that us private Brits are not very likely to speak out loud to our phones in very public places, we are still seeing an opening up of possibilities for local businesses due to a user’s tendency to voice search for a certain shop or amenity ‘near me’. It’s therefore important that you have your address, contact, opening hours, and any other necessary details listed correctly with the main search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp), so that people are directed to your business efficiently.
Voice Search is an ecommerce game-changer, and there is very little argument against optimising your business for voice search because, after all, anything you do to optimise for voice searches will also help with other aspects of your SEO business strategies.
To get advice on optimising your website, don’t hesitate to get in touch.