As voice search grows in popularity, many marketers are struggling to show up in voice search. Optimizing a page or blog post for voice over traditional searches comes with its own host of requirements. If you want to employ voice search SEO on your website, here are some tips to get you started.
What do all the top voice search results have in common? They all have a fast load speed – 52% faster than the average page (source). PageSpeed clearly has a major role in voice search SEO. It’s worth making sure your site speed is up to snuff by following our tips for improving site speed:
- Removing redundant/useless text from your code (commas, spaces, unused code, code comments, etc.)
- Resizing and optimizing your images
- Enabling site compression
- Reducing the number of redirects
2. Search Intent & Title Optimization
Before you can create standout results for voice search, you need to understand the intent behind those searches. Yoast breaks down all search intent into five basic categories of need: informational, navigational, transactional, commercial and keyword. Determining the need behind why people search is the first part of your keyword research to determine the right phrases for voice search.
It’s also important to optimize your titles with voice search in mind – this means in the form of a question. Think about how you use voice search – typically, people ask a specific question like “What is the best home voice assistant?” Frame your topic in the form of a question for the best possible title.
3. Answer Length
When it comes to voice search, shorter is better. According to a Backlinko study of 10,000 Google Home results, Google prefers short, concise answers to voice search queries. The typical voice search result is only 29 words in length. If you’re aiming to rank for voice search, condense your answer to under 29 words and into its own paragraph, and make sure it’s the very first thing on the page.
This doesn’t mean your page should only be 29 words long, but instead of leading into your content like you would in a typical blog or page, consider your introductory paragraph the full summary. Anyone browsing on desktop or mobile can see your full page, but voice searchers will only hear the first section at most.
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4. Mobile-Friendly is Voice-Friendly
Since a huge chunk of voice searches come from mobile devices, it’s vital that your content be friendly to mobile users. In general, your content and website should be built with mobile in mind. Just this year Google announced their searches are now mobile-first: meaning Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. If your website is mobile-responsive, you should already be covered. However, if your website has two URLS – one that serves desktop and one that serves mobile – you’ll want to make the following changes:
- Your mobile site should contain the same content as your desktop site.
- Structured data should be present on both versions of your site.
- Metadata should be present on both versions of the site.
5. Follow SEO Best Practices
Above all, voice search is an extension of SEO and requires many of the same standards. Before optimizing a page for voice search, make sure you’re following Google’s best practices for content with these 5 SEO steps:
- Include keyword(s) in your title
- Include keyword(s) in your URL
- Follow best practice guidelines for formatting
- Use alt attributes on images
- Write authentically
In fact, content that ranks highly in desktop searches is also likely to appear as a voice search answer – approximately 75% of voice search results rank in the top 3 for that query (source).
When optimizing for voice search, your best option is to take content that’s already performing well in search results and make it even better. As well as ensuring it’s up to web SEO standards, making a few tweaks for voice search will up your chances of a home assistant picking out your content.
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Are You Ranking for Voice Search?
If it seems like you’re doing everything “right” but your website isn’t delivering the leads or the other results you’re hoping for, there’s probably one or two small things that could make a big difference.
Our free Buzz Report will measure the marketing effectiveness of your website and provide an inbound marketing score (on a scale of zero to 100) that incorporates website traffic, SEO, the blogosphere, social media and other inbound marketing factors.
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