Voice search is undoubtedly the future of how people use search engines. Nearly every household in the U.S. today has access to a voice search capable device – whether it’s a smart phone or one of the many voice assistants on the market.
Search engine use is trending heavily toward voice, and businesses can’t afford to ignore its impact on consumer behavior. This is especially true if you’re a small-to-medium sized businesses offering services in a local area. Because a large amount of voice searches are aimed at finding local providers, you’ll need to make sure your website is ready to answer searchers questions and help them locate you.
If you’re ready to start taking advantage of the increasing use of voice search, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to talk about five ways you can optimize your website for voice search today.
Start by Looking at Your Content
The first thing we’ll usually tell people about optimizing websites for voice search is that the content needs to be clear, concise, and to the point. Your content needs to tell your website’s readers who you are, what you can do for them, and how they can get in touch with you – and that’s about it. Websites that are filled to the brim with long, rambling content are confusing to both human readers and Google’s crawlers. So save all the long-winded explanations for your blog and keep your web copy clean-cut.
People using voice-activated platforms to search for local products and services are usually asking specific questions. They make queries like “who’s the best dog groomer near me,” or “How much does carpet cleaning cost?”
Remember, Google really only wants one thing. They want their users to get the answers to the questions they’re asking. So make your website provide those answers and provide them clearly.
Consider Adding an FAQ
Being that the goal is to answer customers’ most common questions, a FAQ is a great way to provide answers to a wide variety of questions. Plus, Google loves to use snippets from FAQ’s to answer queries which ask questions. We’ll talk a bit more about featured snippets and how to go about earning them shortly.
When potential customers first make contact with you, what are they usually wanting to know? What about your products or services is often misunderstood by customers? FAQs give you the opportunity to provide these answers up front and earn valuable search engine real estate.
This is going to vary by industry, but if you can identify these and compile them into a FAQ it will help your company stand out when it comes to voice search.
Use Structured Data Markup
Structured data markup is one way that web developers can help search engines identify important data in order to provide searchers with more direct answers to their queries. Have you ever made a Google Search (voice-activated or otherwise) and had Google produce a direct answer like this?
This is called a featured snippet, and it’s possible because of structured data markup. It’s not just limited to providing answers to factual questions, either. Check out this snippet which answers what a concrete driveway should cost.
All it takes to dominate voice search results is content that answers customers questions, and a little bit of code to make sure Google can find and display that information properly. Talk to your web developer about structured data.
Make Sure Your Website is Listed in Powerful Directories
So this tip doesn’t have to do with your website directly, but it’s incredibly important if you want to perform well on voice searches. Google can tell when a searcher is looking for a local business. It already knows that it’s going to be listing local providers, but there are several in the area. So how does Google decide which one to show them?
Well, Google would like to show them a provider that’s nearby, reputable, and open for business. In order to get that information, Google relies on dozens of business listing directories. The more of them your business is listed in, the better. If the business information is consistent across multiple directories, Google can confidently say that you are who you say you are, where you say you are, and that you’re ready and willing to provide services.
You’ll need to list your business in all the most powerful directories, and you’ll need to ensure that the information about your business’s location, operating hours, and contact number stay accurate and up to date across each of them.
If you haven’t already, you should start by creating your free Google My Business profile and putting your information there. After that you’ll want to include your business in many other general and industry-specific directories that your business should belong to.
Does all this sound tedious? Don’t worry, there’s a really easy way to create and manage your listings.
Keep Employing SEO Best Practices
Our last tip is to just keep doing whatever has been working in your regular old search engine optimization efforts. Things like increasing your website’s page speed, ensuring your content is well-written and easy to understand, and making your website more user-friendly all contribute towards a voice search optimized website.
If you’ve been working on improving your own SEO or working with SEO professionals, just continue to develop the strategies that have been working for your brand so far.
If you haven’t put much thought into your search engine performance, You’ll want to start now. Websites that are already optimized for search engine performance are going to have a strong foundation from which to create voice search ready content.
See, Optimizing Your Website for Voice isn’t So Hard
Okay, we’ll admit that it seems like there’s a ton to do and very little time to do it. But don’t worry, if you need any help preparing your company’s website and other web-based assets for voice functionality, get in touch with APN.
We specialize in helping local business owners create websites that are ready for voice search. Plus, we provide a whole host of other services to help automate your business’s marketing and bring in more business on the web.