Voice assistants are getting smarter as machine learning continues to grow. According to Perficient, 55% of users use voice search on their smartphones. There are also an increasing number of smart speakers in households around the country. Gone are the days when your customers are typing in disconnected words in search queries. Instead, they use natural language and depend on their devices to know their location. For example, “Hey, Google. Show me long-term RV parks near me.” Let’s look at a few tips on how to optimize for voice search.
Why Voice Search Is Different
As mentioned already, those who search via voice phrase things differently. In addition to that, our devices are now smart enough to understand context clues. When people type search queries, they tend to use shorthand that ends up being a string of words like “bbq Dallas TX.”
In contrast, those that use voice search tend to ask queries as they usually speak so that the three-keyword search above becomes “Where can I get BBQ?” This looks like a semantics difference at first, but when you break it down, a lot is going on under the hood to deliver valuable results.
- The voice search assistant must first figure out exactly where “where” is. The first step is to grab your current location from the device’s GPS, internet connection, or other means.
- Once the software knows where you are, it starts decoding the rest of the query. It connects “Can I get” with interest in purchasing a good or a service, so the software knows it’s looking for local businesses.
- The AI then figures out that “BBQ” means “restaurants that serve BBQ”.
- Based on its interpretation, the voice assistant forms a query, possibly something like “BBQ restaurants within 20 miles of the current location.”
- Finally, the actual search can start, and search engines like Google will look for business listings on Google maps and other places on the web that fit the search keywords.
To put it simply, the companies that know how to optimize for voice search and design content around those strategies are the ones that show up in voice results.
1. Use Long-Tail Keywords
Let’s say you were searching for the article you are currently reading. One could say that “voice,” “search,” and “optimization” are all keywords related to this article. But those looking for the content this article provides would probably type something like “how to optimize for voice search.” Longer and more specific keyword phrases are called long-tail keywords. While short keywords haven’t become null and void, long-tail keywords tend to drive higher quality traffic, and they more closely match the phrases voice users say when searching for relevant content.
Keywords should appear in the content of your website and the website’s schema markup/metadata or code so that search engines can easily apply your site’s content to specific search queries.
Not sure how to add keywords to your website? A site from Big Rig doesn’t just look pretty on the outside. It’s a finely tuned machine under the hood too. We SEO the heck out of it, add schema markup, and research the right keywords to create a marketing tool that will work for you 24/7.
2. Don’t Go Keyword Crazy In The Content
Let’s say you owned a “car wash business.” It may be tempting to try to fit as many iterations as possible of “carwash” in the content of your site so that search engines will notice you “wash cars”, and potential “car washers” who have “cars” in need of “washing” can drive on up to get their vehicles “washed” by the “best car washing business” in town.
Trying to stuff keywords tends to get ridiculous and annoying to your customers, as you can see, and it confuses voice search algorithms rather than helping them. So instead, choose specific long-tail keywords for your content and blog posts and allow them to flow naturally within the text.
3. Design Your Website for Mobile
We’ve covered the need for mobile-first and responsive design in previous posts. Most people who use voice search to find your site do so on smartphones. If your site looks like crap on their phone, guess what? They are going to bounce and try your competitor’s site next. Therefore, one of the most important things you can do for your business website is to check it out on your smartphone. If it looks bad, is hard to use, or appears too tiny to read, you could be losing a lot of good leads, and it’s time for a redesign. ALL Big Rig Sites are responsive and designed to look great, from the largest monitor to the tiniest smartphone.
4. Claim And Keep Your ‘Google My Business’ Profile Up To Date
Google serves listings from its ‘Google My Business’ database for local searches. Potential customers will decide whether to visit your site based on information found in your business listing. Therefore, it’s essential to claim your business profile and have accurate and up-to-date information. Doing so will increase voice search SEO and rankings.
If you’re unsure how to do so, Big Rig Media can claim your listing on the most relevant business listing sites like Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc., and build out your business profiles on each site.
5. Improve Website Load Time
This is an often-overlooked factor for voice search, but it makes sense when you think about it. People use voice search because they are looking for fast answers. If the search engine finds that your site takes forever to load, it won’t include it in voice search results. On top of that, if your business does show up in voice search results and your website takes forever to load once a customer attempts to load it, they are likely to leave before it even pops up.
You can increase page load speed by taking the following actions:
- Choose performance-optimized hosting such as Big Rig Media’s private hosting solution.
- Resize and save your images for the web.
- Eliminate unnecessary plugins. (At Big Rig, we take care of your plugins, keep them up to date, and only use professional plugins to ensure security and fast loading times.)
We Know How To Optimize For Voice Search
Hardly anyone has the time to become SEO and web security experts, web designers, and marketing copywriters while also trying to run their business. When it comes to figuring out how to optimize for voice search and other website and marketing tasks, like accounting, electrical work, and construction, it’s a job best assigned to the professionals. So let us worry about building you a high-converting website up to date with modern marketing and SEO strategies while you worry about running your business.