Alexa, How do I Optimize for Voice Search?

For years, marketers have been preparing businesses for a rising trend in voice searches. It’s now 2021, and gone are the days where being proactive is an option. Voice search continues to gain popularity not only because of the growth of smart speakers and devices but also because the speed to search is much faster. A recent study showed that with voice search you can search 110-150 words per minute, compared to 38-40 by typing[1].

It was anticipated that by 2020 75% of all households in the US are expected to own a smartspeaker[2] and 81% of Americans own a smartphone[3]. This means nearly everyone in America has access to Siri, Alexa, Cortana, or Google at any given moment, no matter where they are. It is imperative that your company is set up to be found not only by traditional digital searches but also by voice searches.

Ensuring that your business is in the strongest position possible for when a user performs a voice search is imperative and goes beyond an optimized website. A combination of proper tactics using on and off page SEO efforts is needed to succeed. Here are some tips for how to ensure your company, product, or service can be found via voice search:

On-Page Tactics for Voice Search Optimization

  1. Utilize long-tail keywords and develop content for humans, not bots. People are speaking in full sentences when using voice search. Your content and the answer should reflect that and be able to respond the same way.
  2. Optimize for the knowledge graph and semantic search. Getting your content to appear in the knowledge graph is one of the fastest and best ways to be found by a voice search. Use schema tags and structured data to help with this.
  3. Keep your content focused and on a specific point or topic. The most common keywords for voice search are “how”, “what”, and “best”. Develop content with this in mind. Explain the why, how, what of your service or product. Keep your content concise and on topic.
  4. Mobile-friendly websites. Nowadays mobile-friendly websites are the priority, but far too often we see clients coming to us with outdated and non-mobile-friendly websites. Ensuring your site is mobile-friendly allows bots to better review your website and most importantly provides a good user experience.

Off-Page Tactics for Voice Search Optimization

  1. Claim your local listings. Similar to digital SEO, claiming your local listing on Google My Business (GMB), Apple Maps, Bing, and other directory listings provides a huge boost in value to your business on voice search. You’re not only telling the search engines that your business exists and is legitimate, but you’re able to provide ample details on your business including hours, phone number, description, and more.
  2. Positive reviews. Getting customers to leave reviews on your GMB and other local listings has never been so important. Establishing credibility and showing the world that you are a good, reliable business is one of the best ways to drive growth. Voice Search looks at this and will recommend better-reviewed companies before others.

If you’re not getting the most out of your digital marketing, or need help optimizing your content for voice search, contact us for a free Website SEO Audit.