How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search Right Now
Remember watching The Jetsons?
While the show aired in the 1960s, it took place in 2062. Creators illustrated a technology-driven world immersed with artificial intelligence (AI). Between robot maids and vacuum cleaners, the Jetsons relied heavily on their devices to do just about everything.
Today, AI plays a part in nearly everything we do. As the world shifts to a new “normal”, consumer behavior is following suit. Online search inquiries are at an all-time high due to recent stay at home orders, but typing in a search bar is so 2019. Consumers are letting AI assistants do the heavy lifting to find what they need by simply asking their questions out loud.
By the end of 2020, half of all online inquiries will use voice search. Why? Asking a question out loud is easier and quicker than typing in a search engine. Here’s the rundown on what voice search is, how your customers are using it, and how you can use it to generate more leads online.
What is Voice Search?
Voice search is changing digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) as we know it. If you’ve ever heard someone say, “Hey Siri, where can I find coffee nearby?” They’re using voice search.
But what is voice search exactly? Instead of typing into a search bar, people are able to search by speaking into their smartphones or devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. When asked a question, the assistant searches the web and pulls results instantly. Digital marketing expert, Neil Patel praises voice search, saying it’s three times faster than sitting down and typing out a search. Because people are getting fast, yet accurate answers to their voice search inquiries, the user experience (UX) skyrockets.
Are your customers able to find your business using the power of voice? Taking a moment to understand why voice search optimization matters will drastically improve your strategy moving forward.
Why is Voice Search Optimization Important?
Without voice search capabilities on your website, you risk losing hundreds of leads every day. Because everyone is staying home amid COVID-19, online shopping has become vital. In a previous article, we mentioned words like “how”, “where”, and “what” are growing in voice search inquiries. That means your website must answer these long-form questions customers are asking.
It all starts with your content. Content is king, remember? The more thought out your website is, the better chance you have of ranking higher in not only typed out searches but voice searches as well. We’ll revisit this later in the article. In the meantime, consider the following:
All Ages Use Voice Search
While a teenager searches differently than a senior citizen, not optimizing for voice search will cost you quality leads. Take some time to get into the mindset of your ideal customer to understand how they would use voice search to get information.
Increased Voice Searches = Increased Revenue
2020 is looking bright for voice search. In fact, it’s expected to generate $40 billion in sales this year alone.
When you optimize your site for voice search, not only are you opening the door to potential buyers but you’re also enabling your business to stay relevant as consumers are encouraged to stay home as much as possible. Different people use voice search for different things, which is why your website must provide information for any question someone could ask about your business and/or industry.
What Are People Using Voice Search For?
Everything. From ordering pizza to investigating Netflix’s newest crime documentary the world looks to artificial intelligence (AI) for assistance. The most common search inquiry among adults? Finding directions.
Be it asking Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant there’s no doubt that the number of people using voice search is on the rise. However, each assistant delivers differently, which will be useful when planning your voice search strategy.
Alexa vs. Siri vs. Google Assistant
In 2019, Loup Ventures ran an IQ test and asked the same 800 questions to Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. The image below highlights the results and how well each assistant understood each question:
Image courtesy of Loup Ventures
Questions asked fell into one of five categories:
- Nearby businesses
- Online shopping
- Detail-oriented information (business hours, schedules)
While Google Assistant outshined both Siri and Alexa in the majority of the questions, the test proved Siri followed commands better.
Image courtesy of Loop Ventures
Not only is it important to know what your customers are using voice search for, but consider the device they’re asking. For example, avid Amazon shoppers are loyal to Alexa. If your product isn’t available where your customers are searching you’re losing revenue.
How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
The time is now to make your website compatible with voice search marketing. Earlier we touched on the value of good content and how it has the power to turn an average UX to an exceptional one. If you’re not sure where to start, there are short-term and long-term solutions available.
1. Create a FAQ Page
A frequently asked questions (FAQ) page is a great way to optimize your website for voice search. It all comes down to how the page is formatted. People are asking questions that your content not only spells out but content that also provides precise answers.
If you don’t have a FAQ page, creating one is easy. Think about the most common questions customers ask you then write them down with thorough answers. Here’s an example of what you may find on a coffee shop’s FAQ page:
I’m vegan. What plant-based milk and or creamer do you offer?
There’s no wrong way to enjoy coffee. Our vegan and/or lactose-intolerant customers can enjoy organic almond or oat milk in place of traditional whole milk. Just ask when giving the barista your order or specify in the special comments if ordering online!
2. Adapt Your Written Content
Your website’s written content is the key to voice search optimization. Writing in a question/answer format helps search engines find information faster compared to the alternative. Using this format on both web pages and blogs can move mountains.
For example, scroll up a few paragraphs and notice the headlines of each section. Several are written in Q+A style. This makes it easier for users (and search engines) to find the exact answer to the question.
Don’t forget your content’s tone. When writing for voice search SEO, keep it simple. Avoid fancy words people don’t typically use in normal conversations. How would you ask your best friend a question? How would they answer? Use this exercise to map out how you’d write informally.
3. Be As Detailed as Possible
When asking a direct question, your customers don’t want fluff. They want specifics. Formatting your website to be as detailed as possible will deliver a better UX in the long run. Incorporate as much information as you can about your business online. Here are a few basics to cover:
- Business hours
- Phone number
When in doubt, be direct to avoid any confusion.
Voice Search is Here to Stay
If the Jetsons taught us anything, it’s that we should embrace how technology improves our lives. Using voice search is no different. We’ve crossed a bridge that enables people to speak a question into existence and get instantaneous answers from our AI assistants.
Not only is voice search helpful for consumers, but businesses can also reap the benefits of this growing trend. By optimizing your website for voice search, you’re more likely to increase lead generation and ultimately revenue. It all starts with your website’s content and ensuring long-form questions are answered with clear, direct responses. Remember to keep an informal tone as you develop your voice search SEO strategy.
Explore What Voice Search Optimization Can Do for You
Blue Laser Digital is here to help guide your website towards voice search compatibility. We identify opportunities to reach your customers using voice search. From there, we develop a personalized strategy to get your website in front of the right audience no matter what they’re asking.
Talk to us today about how voice search can grow your business in a world where consumers are more likely to shop online.