Google Voice Search: Optimize Your Website to Perform Well for Google Voice Search

Thrive Internet Marketing Agency
  • Date Published
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  • Reading Time 6-Minute Read

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a few years, you’ve noticed the rise of voice assistants. Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Google Now: These are just a few examples of modern voice assistants designed to help everyday users do things like order new curtains and schedule appointments. Among other things, they’ve changed the way that we use search engines, and the way search engines process our requests.

In fact, in 2015 alone, virtual assistant-based searches jumped from 0 to 10% of the globe’s overall search volume.

If you’re like most people, you probably accounted for some of this increase and you’ve probably been using voice search more and more in recent years. And why not? It’s fast, efficient, and perfect for our increasingly on-the-go lifestyles.

For marketers, though, the rise of voice search creates an interesting problem:
How do you optimize your website for it? Fortunately, this is much easier than it might sound. You just need to know which steps to take.

Voice Search by the Numbers

Still need some proof about how much voice search has grown in recent years? Look no further than these statistics:

  • 41% of adults use voice search every day
  • 20% of Google searches are voice-based
  • 40% of voice searches have local intent
  • 61% of users report they turn to voice search when their hands or vision are occupied
  • 43% of users use voice search in the home
  • 36% of users use voice search in the car

As you can see, voice search is growing at a rapid rate, and marketers who jump aboard the train now will be better equipped to ride it out in the years to come.

5 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search

Are you one of the many marketers concerned about how best to optimize your site for voice search? If so, you’re not alone. These five steps, however, can streamline the process:

1. Think About How People Voice Search

While there are some basic similarities between voice search and search engine-based search, there are also some glaring differences. For one, people speak differently than they type.

For example, if a user was going to do a search engine search for bagel shops in New York City, he or she might type something in like “bagel shop NYC.” If that person were issuing a voice search, however, they might say something more natural, like “where is the nearest bagel shop?”

As you can see, these two searches are very different, and websites need to optimize for them accordingly. The primary way to do this is to add longer and more voice-friendly keywords. The more you humanize your content strategy, the easier it will be to optimize your website for humans rather than search algorithms. Plus, content that grows up for a more humanized place tends to feel more natural and organic than its search-engine focused counterparts.

2. Mimic the Questions Your Readers Are asking

As you saw in the example above, many voice searches take the form of questions. And this makes sense: people ask one other questions. To make the most of this truth, think about which questions your readers are likely to ask, and then find ways to optimize for those questions throughout your website.

As you build out your keyword strategy, put yourself in your readers’ shoes: What do they care about? How can you reflect their questions to make your content more readily available?

While this approach will likely take some time to get used to, focusing on it from the get-go can contribute to making your content stronger and more robust than ever.

3. Focus on Intent, Rather Than Exact Matches

One of the biggest changes in Google in recent years is the Hummingbird algorithm update. Released in 2013, Hummingbird shifted Google’s priority to focus more on semantic search. In other words, this update allowed the search engine to understand the intent of a search rather than its literal interpretation.

Since then, search engines have shifted toward a focus on user intent in all things, voice search included. Luckily for marketers, this means the days of stuffing content with keywords are dead.

Today, all you need to do to appeal to your audiences is to write useful, relevant content that answers the questions adequately. Instead of getting hung up on integrating the exact keyword phrases your users will input, focus, instead, on creating content that serves the underlying purposes of their questions.

4. Get Mobile-Friendly

If you are initiating voice searches on your computer, you’re a member of a small minority. Instead, most people are launching voice searches from mobile platforms, which means that your website needs to be mobile-friendly and optimized for voice search. Fortunately, this is pretty simple.

If you haven’t already done it, had to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to see how your site fares. If the tool picks up on inadequacies within your site, fix them to make it more mobile friendly.

In addition to being good for voice search, optimizing your site for mobile is just essential to rank well online at all anymore.

Aside from testing your site with the mobile-friendly tool, you can also take common-sense approaches, like making sure your menus are readable and easy to click from mobile platforms and ensuring your layout displays nicely on smaller screens.

5. Optimize for Local

Voice and local searches go hand-in-hand. In fact, studies have shown that mobile searches often have a strong local intent. This means that most voice searches happening on mobile platforms tend to be for local businesses or services. As such, it’s essential to focus on local SEO one optimizing your website for voice searches. The more local you can get with your keyword strategy, the better.

Voice Search Optimization, Made Simple.

If you’re one of the many people who believe that optimizing your website content for voice search will be difficult, think again. While it’s true that voice search has been rising in popularity over recent years, it’s also true that most of the web is shifting to accommodate it and that doing the same for your website is not as difficult as you might think.

By integrating things like a strong local keyword strategy, voice search-friendly keyword phrases, and mobile-friendly site layouts, it’s easy to make your website as voice search friendly as possible.

What’s more, optimizing your site for voice search also has the unintended effect of making the entire thing more user-friendly. Unlike search engine-based search, voice-search mimics the way people talk, communicate, and ask questions, and, as such, shifting your site’s direction to accommodate it is a smart way to improve your content as a whole.