Have you ever what it would be like to search for information just using your voice? In the age of iPhones and Androids, you’ve probably tried Siri or Alexa to see how effective voice searches can be. But have you thought of Google voice search as a key element of your website promotions? Voice search has been around for more than seven years, but very few users know how to use it correctly. And webmasters severely underestimate the power of voice searches in marketing.

Google research examined the search behavior of 1,400 Americans across different age groups, concluding that 55 percent of teens and 41 percent of adults use voice search at least once a day. And this trend is predicted to become even more popular as people use voice search when hanging out with friends, cooking, exercising and more. No matter the purpose or their intention to use voice search, it’s undeniable that the number of queries will increase in the near future. Excluding voice search from your SEO strategy could backfire spectacularly.

If you want to jump ahead of your competitors, start optimizing your website for voice search today. Here we will share some valuable tips to help you understand voice search optimization.

Targeting Proper Long-Tail Keywords

Optimizing for voice search means not only considering how users think but also how they talk. People aren’t likely to use proper speech when utilizing a voice search – they’ll talk casually, as if they were talking to another person. You’ll see queries include long-tail keywords peppered with interrogative requests like “what”, “why”, “where”, “when” and so on. Forget about stereotyped keywords and take into account natural human behaviour and speech.

To truly understand how voice search works, you’ll need to experience this process by yourself. Brainstorm all long-tail keyword variations that are relevant to your niche. Armed with a list of targeted keywords, you can simulate the voice search and try different long-tail keywords until you get results you’re looking for.

If you’re not sure how to choose the appropriate long-tail keywords, tools like Answer The Public (for Google, Bing), Übersuggest (for Google) or Keyword Tool (for Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, App Store) gather examples of real day-to-day queries, and can help you identify the best long-tail keywords and content ideas.

voice search

Focus on Local Business Listings

Most people use the voice search function to find information of nearby locations of shops, restaurants, markets and other service places. A person who wants to find the best burgers in New York might say something like “burger takeout in New York near me”.

google my business

These three websites above have optimized their pages for the long-tail keyword “burger takeout in New York”. Google’s voice search recognised the phrase “near me” and offered the places to buy burgers in the NY area within the proximity of the user. Google My Business is the perfect tool to assemble your company’s details on the first SERP. It’s important to optimize Google My Business to register the following information about your company:

  • Location (Google Maps)
  • Review summary
  • Phone number
  • Working hours
  • Popular times for visits
  • Pricing
  • Brief description of your business

This is what the full Google My Business info looks like if you click on any business:

google my business

Polish Your Microdata

Google bots restlessly search for valuable websites with user-friendly content that can be indexed. Search engines need to compile as much data about your business to ensure your website’s content aligns with user voice queries. If everything is properly optimized, search engine results will show your content as an answer to user’s questions.

In order to appear above other results, make sure Google understands your sitemap. Include phone numbers, addresses, hours, prices, routes and other important information that identify your website. To guarantee  successful search engine results, use microdata to direct Google to the main website sections. You are free to use any markup language you want. Rich snippets appear to be the most popular type of structured data markups. They emphasize your strengths and illustrate the advantages your business has over its competitors. Using the same burger example, we’ll show how the query “how to cook burgers” works if searched using a voice command:

rich snippet

In this example, Google identifies the Saveur website and its article “How to Cook a Burger: 4 Methods” as the most useful answer. It’s definitely possible to become the top answer by optimizing your website’s microdata. This article will guide you through various types of content markups and Google Structured Data Markup Helper will explain the whole process in an easy to understand manner.

Adapt to Mobile

Global Web Index revealed that 25 percent of 16-24 year olds use voice search from their phones when they are likely to be on-the-go. You have only one shot at leaving a lasting impression on these users. People look for a user- and mobile-friendly resource, and if it is not optimized for smartphones they are simply going to leave your site. Website bounce rates on mobile devices is 9.56% higher than the bounce rate on desktops because not enough websites prioritize mobile users. Failure to optimize for mobile is a significant mistake and can cost you business in the long run.

This is what should be prioritized for a successful mobile experience:

  • Responsiveness
  • Website speed
  • Scannable pages
  • Understandable content

If you’d like to check whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, try using this Mobile-Friendly Test to see what should be improved.

mobile-friendly test

There are plenty of things to improve upon if you want to move your website to the top of Google’s search engine pages, but by optimizing all of the above points you are one step closer to boosting organic traffic and attracting your target audience.