Hey Siri, should I be optimising for voice?
“Hey Siri, what’s 9388 + 5455?”.
“Hey Siri, how do I get to Sydney?”.
How many times have you been feeling lazy on the couch and opted for this approach. Probably a lot more than you realise when you actually sit down and think about it. We all do it – it’s handy as!
In fact according to Location World, 40% of adults in the US are using voice search at least once a day.
But what so many people haven’t realised yet, is that what started as a pretty neat novelty now has marketers jumping for joy over the opportunities it brings.
This whole new world of talking to your search engine is so much more than a cool search tool. It opens the gates to heaven for marketers. Why? Because it allows us to take advantage of those regularly asked questions and use them to boost search traffic.
Voice search may still feel like the way of the future, but actually- the future is now. And it has become second nature for a lot of us.
If you aren’t yet, you need to be optimising your website for voice search. Trust us, jump on this train now and you’ll get ahead of the competition quick before they pick up on it.
The future is now
It’s pretty obvious, the way people are searching for information online is changing at a rapid pace.
It’s been predicted that by 2020, HALF of search queries will be made by voice search.
Let’s be honest, people are lazy. They want information handed directly to them. What better way than the option to use their own voice to ask a question rather than taking the whole 30 seconds to type their question into their device.
Especially on the go. It’s handy when people need to be hands-free.
According to the 2016 Internet Trends Report, a whopping 1 in 5 app searches in the US in 2016 were through voice search. And they predict that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be through speech. That’s enormous!
What is voice search?
In case you’re not quite up to speed, we’ll fill you in. Voice search is an incredibly cool trend that uses speech recognition technology to allow users to make their online searches WITH THEIR VOICE.
The search engine being used then matches that question up with the best suited answer based on things like the user’s behaviours and history.
Believe it or not, voice search has been around for quite a number of years now.
First there was Siri, the famous smart yet sassy virtual assistant by Apple. She became famous for her ridiculous sense of humour and ability to banter.
By now the competition has evolved significantly, with Cortana for Microsoft and Google voice search. Last year we saw the launch of Google Home – Google’s voice activated speaker. Meaning the time is now to jump all over this trend.
If you need a bit of guidance or background, Apple’s Siri and Google’s voice search have guides to help people understand the services and features, which are handy and we recommend for a bit of light reading.
Why you should be optimising
Do you want to appear in more searches or not? Simple as that.
By optimising your website for voice search, you’re basically helping Google index you in voice searches.
With the massive growth in numbers of people using voice search, it’s imperative that businesses jump all over this and optimise for voice search.
If your website is optimised for voice search, your likelihood of appearing for searches rises significantly, leaving your late-adopting competitors in your dust.
How to optimise for voice search
So how exactly can I do this you’re probably thinking…
When we think voice search we need to think of two key things first and foremost: mobile and local.
People are using voice search on mobile devices, so first things first you need to be sure your webpage is optimised for mobile.
Voice search is primarily used for local answers, such as “Hey Siri, find me the best takeaway pizza nearby”, so businesses that rely on local results should be honing in now more than ever.
It’s all about quick, simple searches
Remember, people are using voice search are looking for answers for very specific questions, so this should be your target. For richer questions with answers that need more context or explanation, people are likely going to be manually typing into Google, so that shouldn’t be your focus.
Start by thinking of the straightforward questions that people may be asking about your industry or your business.
Less of “Please tell me the history of the World War II” and more “what is the weather on Saturday”.
When writing your website and article content, it’s key that you are making sure your copy is designed to answer these quick and easy questions.
Focus on the way people talk
Most questions in voice search start with “when is…”, what is…”, “who is…”, “where can I…” or “How…”. We’ll call these long-tail keywords, for now. Think less about the classic SEO long-tail keyword research, and more about focusing on the way people would actually ask a question.
Start with a topic – pizza restaurant. Then think of the who’s, the what’s, the when’s, the where’s, the which’, the how’s.
Mimic the way people speak. When people speak out loud, it is generally longer than when typed into Google. So instead overly short queries like “pizza restaurant” think, “where is the best local pizza restaurant?”
Utilise this way of writing into your website copy and you’re away to the races. Write with a conversational tone so that your copy mimics how people really ask questions.
Add an FAQ page to your website
FAQ pages are jam-packed questions and answers, right? So, what better way to hit all the big w’s in your website copy than adding in an FAQ page that focus on these extra long-tail keywords.
Think about Google’s featured snippets. You know those little boxes that appear with the top result highlighted for you with the perfect summary to your query. Google programs what pages are more likely to answer a specific question, so the more you focus on this the more of a chance you have to actually appear there.
Aim to write and answer these types of questions with your FAQ page so that when people make a voice search, your answer is more likely to come up.
Stay up to date on Google MyBusiness
Depending on your type of business (for example if you are a bricks-and-mortar business, this one’s for you) some of the most important information people may be searching to find their result is your address, your phone number, hours, prices, directions, etc.
Make sure you have a Google MyBusiness listing and that it is completely up to date. Having this will seriously increase your chances of showing up in local voice searches – trust us.
Remember that “Find me a local pizza restaurant” query? Keeping your MyBusiness listing updated will help you show up in people’s Siri searches.
Additionally, encourage users to leave reviews about your company after service, as quality and quantity of reviews also impact voice search.
As we said, while voice search may still seem like the way of the future, but time moves fast and the future is now.
Like we said, optimise for mobile first, and then go fourth and conquer voice optimisation. You’ve got this.