How to Optimize a Website for Voice Search: An in-Depth Guide (2021)

As time goes on, voice search will become more and more important for businesses to capitalize on. Otherwise, they miss out on a large segment of their audience and the opportunity to drastically increase their overall sales.

Although it may seem difficult, optimizing your company’s website for voice search isn’t as hard as it seems. Not quite sure how to begin? We’ve got all the info you need.

Let’s explore everything you need to know.

1. Mobile Design

The vast majority of voice-based searches will take place from mobile devices. After all, people generally use this feature on their phones while performing another task, such as driving, answering a question for a friend, etc.

But, they also use voice search on mobile devices simply because it is more difficult to type on a smartphone than it is on an actual keyboard.

Unfortunately, having a site that is poorly formatted for this medium can have adverse consequences in the future

For example, assume that you use voice search to figure out the best local restaurants in your area. If you visit a site for one of them and then find that the text is improperly formatted, images don’t load correctly, and the site overall is unpleasant to use.

It’s highly likely that you would navigate away and then visit the site of a local competitor.

So, you need to ensure that you focus on metrics like loading speed, overall visual appeal, and the quality of the experience that your user has while on your website.

This is especially important since Google tends to punish websites that quickly drive away users who visit them.

In contrast, a properly formatted mobile website will give you the greatest chance of user retention and keep your audience on your site for as long as possible. Not only will this prevent your site from getting penalized, but it will also positively impact your sales metrics.

You can then reinvest this revenue into other aspects of your business in order to take your performance to even further heights.

2. Conversational Language

Overall, people tend to use voice search in the same manner in which they speak— it’s simply natural to do so. This means that the content on your website should be highly conversational, which will allow you to naturally integrate the keywords your audience is likely to search for.

To put this into perspective, let’s use the aforementioned restaurant example.

Someone who is typing on a computer may input ‘Best places to eat Los Angeles’ or best restaurants in LA.’ Since voice search takes less time than it does to input a traditional query, people don’t mind searching for longer queries with this method.

So, a user who is completing their query with voice search software might search ‘What are the best restaurants in Los Angeles?’

As you can tell, this opens up an entirely new realm of possibilities when it comes to keywords that you can target.

One of the best ways to take advantage of this opportunity is to shape your blog content around these keywords since you’ll be able to easily integrate great conversational language in this manner.

So, a blog post using the above example could be called ‘What are The Best Restaurants in LA? Our Top 5 Favorites.’

When in doubt, it’s best to be as conversational as possible in your content so that you can freely target voice search-based keywords without struggling to integrate them. Keeping your content conversational will also make it more engaging to your users and improve their overall experience.

3. Emphasize Questions

Most voice search queries will come in the form of questions. This is due to the tendency that people have to ask their mobile device a question while searching for a specific keyword, and it’s something you should keep in mind when coming up with a list of keywords that you’re prioritizing.

Although there are a few differences between traditional search queries and voice search queries, even just a word or two could prevent you from properly targeting the keywords that your audience is looking for.

After all, ‘best restaurants in LA’ and ‘what are the best places to eat in Los Angeles’ provide highly different results despite asking the same question.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to target keywords in this manner— simply take a handful of your existing keywords and figure out how your audience might ask them as opposed to searching them.

So, ‘best running shoes for women’ could become ‘what are the best running shoes for women?’

This simple change will allow you to take full advantage of the query your audience is looking for and make the most out of your marketing strategy. This is particularly useful for smaller companies that don’t have a particularly large budget, as the ROI on SEO methods is notably high.

4. Claim Your ‘Google My Business’ Profile

More often than not, people are using voice search to find a company’s basic information. This typically includes the name, address, hours of operation, etc.

By claiming your ‘Google My Business’ Profile, you will allow your users to locate this information as quickly as possible on Google’s search results.

For those who are unfamiliar with how to do so, it’s a relatively straightforward process.

By visiting this resource, you can quickly get started and set up a profile for your company. Don’t worry if you search for your company name and find that it’s already been listed on Google— this is a common scenario that simply requires you to claim the listing.

You’ll also have the option to prevent your company’s business address from being displayed on search results. This is useful for businesses that don’t serve customers at a centralized physical location.

A common example would be a roofing contractor— this person’s place of work is on the property that needs to be repaired or remodeled. In this case, you could also register your company as a service business on Google, which will help Google learn more about what your company does so that it can rank your results more accurately.

The most common example of service businesses is any type of business that serves customers at their location while also providing delivery.

After inputting this information, you will receive a postcard in the mail that contains a five-digit code.

You must then input the code into a form on your Google My Business profile in order to verify your identity. Alternatively, you also have the option to verify by phone or verify by email.

Regardless of which method you choose, it’s imperative that you do not change your business information before your account has been verified— this could easily cause issues with your listing that are difficult to resolve.

5. Incorporate Local SEO

People who use voice search have a tendency to search for businesses in their local area. This factor in itself makes prioritizing local SEO an essential practice.

This means that you should include your city or region within your keywords, meta-data for your constant, and use visuals that are specific to the area that you’re in.

As you may guess, this is particularly relevant for companies that tend to serve their immediate area, such as restaurants.

Fortunately, setting up your Google My Business account, using location-specific keywords, and properly formatting your website for mobile devices all play a large role in your local SEO value.

Another solid strategy temperament is to establish relevant local information about your company on a specific page on your website. This is typically done on an ‘About Us’ page with detailed information like your hours of operation, past client testimonials, and contact info for your company.

From here, you’ll be able to drastically increase the number of local customers you acquire while simultaneously boosting your ranking on Google search results. Over time, local SEO can prove to be a powerful asset to your marketing strategy that simply can’t be overlooked

Once you establish a niche in your local market, you’ll also be able to consistently profit off of this strategy for months and years to come.

6. Long-Tail Keywords

In order to properly target the keywords that people are using for search, you’ll more than likely need to choose the longest form of the keyword you’re targeting.
 Although it may seem counterproductive to target keywords that are so specific, it will actually benefit your business to do so.

This will ensure that the traffic your site receives is highly relevant, allowing you to obtain a better understanding of your site’s performance. For instance, you wouldn’t want to target a generic keyword that draws thousands of users who are actually interested in making a purchase from your business.

A user who reaches your website through a long-tail keyword was searching for the keyword specifically, meaning they were looking exactly for exactly what you were able to provide. This will also drastically increase the chance that your company comes up first on Google search results.

Since it’s been proven that people are unlikely to navigate past the first page of these results, it’s imperative that your content is located as close to the top of the first page as possible in order for your site to perform as well as possible. 
So, keep this in mind when coming up with what type of keywords your company should target through voice search so that you can ensure you choose the most effective ones possible.

7. Prioritize ‘Position Zero’

Although maintaining a high ranking is essential to long-term SEO  performance, you also need to prioritize the highly coveted position zero. Also known as a ‘featured snippet,’ position zero is a section of Google’s search results that appears for the actual results themselves.

It should come as no surprise that this is the ideal location for your company info to be placed since it’s guaranteed to be the first thing people see when searching for a specific keyword.

Unfortunately, reaching this position is extremely difficult in those cases and often requires strong SEO efforts in order to do so. In some scenarios, it may not be possible without a specific strategy that’s created entirely to reach this position.

By optimizing your content for voice search through other methods, though, it’s highly likely that you’ll have a strong chance of doing so. If you do manage to secure this position, you’ll typically experience a high spike in traffic that can lead to a much larger number of overall sales, allowing you to do more than simply increase your brand’s notoriety online.

As such, this obligation should always be kept in mind when determining your search engine optimization strategy due to the vast amount of utility that is able to provide.

It’s also important to continually strive for reaching position zero even if you aren’t quite able to do so at the beginning. Your efforts will increase the overall SEO value of your website, which can bring you closer to achieving this goal and allow you to take full advantage of the benefits a higher Google search ranking can provide.

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Amanda Tsourakis

Amanda serves as the Head of Sales and Enablement for Pressable. She's worked in the tech space for well over a decade and has spent the majority of that time building/training/leading teams. She loves travel and adventure and when she's not working, you can find her spending time with her family, lounging pool/beach-side, playing tennis, working out, and meeting people/making friends all along the way!

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