How To SEO Optimize Your Website For Voice Search In 2018
Voice search optimization 2018

This guest post was contributed by Kenneth Sytian from Sytian Productions.

It’s already been 20 years since SEO began, and we’ve seen radical changes when it comes to ranking and quality work as dictated by major search engines.

What used to be a keyword stuffing game has now turned into a user-centric experience optimization. It’s true that spam search results have been eradicated, but there’s still more to discover on how to tickle Google’s fancy.

In 2017, we’ve been incessantly optimizing for different types of content. We’ve been implementing structured data markups and cleaning our own backyard of bad, spammy backlinks.

It’s been 20 years — and we have to keep up with technology as people are trying unorthodox ways to make search requests. With just a command, consumers are now able to search using their voice through their mobile phones or personal assistants.

This 2018, marketers are leaning towards optimizing their websites for voice search, which makes up 20% of searches done via mobile. How can you optimize for something seemingly unpredictable and intangible?

Mobile search triumphs over desktop searches but even desktops have their own voice command used for the search. The trend is predicting that voice search will dominate search mediums by 50% in 2020. Want to know how to prepare for ‘voice-ception?’ Here’s how you can optimize your business for voice search in 2018.

Speed up your website

Since voice searches are primarily done through mobile devices like smartphones and personal assistants, it’s obvious that improving your website’s loading speed is important.

There are two options we recommend: either improve your website through a responsive web design or adapt AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages on your key pages.

Responsive web design? That’s so 2016. Well, even if the term seems too cliché, did you know that an estimated 91% of small business online doesn’t even have a mobile-friendly website, to begin with.

A responsive web design can help your website in more ways than improving your website speed. It can also help in retaining viewers and reducing bounce rate, thus improving the overall quality of the website.

On the other hand, AMP is another alternative that will help your content be more accessible for mobile users. This blog on the two-year performance review of AMP says a lot about how AMP has positively impacted the Internet with its half-a-second loading time.

AMP statisticsTo give you a quick glimpse of the benefits of applying AMP to your website, here are some statistics on AMP’s performance:

  • AMP leads to a 10% increase in website traffic with a 2x increase in time spent on page
  • 20% increase in sales conversions compared to non-AMP pages
  • for one publisher, CTRs were 600% greater after the implementation of AMP
  • 80% of Gizmodo’s traffic from AMP pages is new traffic, 50% increase in impressions
  • 7% of internet traffic for the U.S.’s top publishers comes from AMP web pages
  • AMP isn’t just for publishers; a case study on an e-commerce site implementing AMP has reported remarkable results overall

Implementing AMP can be a bit difficult for those who do not have any coding experience, but it’s a bit easier for WordPress users due to Automattic’s AMP plugin. Converting pages to AMP may be a tasking work, but the benefits to reap are worth it.

Content optimization

You may have a simple, fast-loading website, but your content is subpar when compared to your competitors — a poor decision overall. If you have written hundreds of articles already, we recommend performing a content audit on which articles need some repurposing, and which articles do not offer any benefits.

Consider updating your content to reflect the latest news and events.

If you have short articles, consider repurposing them or adding more details where necessary. Outdated content doesn’t fare well, as searches nowadays are more personal than before. And they demand fresh information.

Another thing to focus on is to create evergreen content as it is much easier to update and keep fresh.

Aside from up-to-date information, searches done via voice prompt often include key phrases like “near me”. These hyper-local triggers should be covered through local SEO. How can you target these searches?

One thing you can do is to optimize your local listing by accurately filling up your details at your Google My Business account. Once Google detects that your business is near the searcher, they will include you in the list of results.

Tip: Encourage your customers to leave some feedback either on Google or other third-party review websites. Usually, searchers dig deep and look for more reviews aside from those dictated by Google’s pages.

On the other hand, if you’re aiming to build new content, make sure that you target long-tail keywords, and offer your content in a more conversational way.

For example, if you’re searching for the latest movies this month, you will type “January movies now showing” or something similar to that query. But, if you’re going to use voice search to look for the latest movies this month, it becomes a conversation between you and your voice prompt. You might ask, “what are the latest movies this month?”

Voice search queries are conversational and natural. Previously, we always say that content is the key to a triumphant SEO campaign, but with voice search, context makes a big difference.

Google is continuously developing their algorithms to further understand semantics and natural language as tides shift towards a voice search dominant world.

Structured Markup Data & Featured Snippets

Aside from your web content, use Structured Markup Data on your pages. It is important to use the appropriate structured data so search engines better understand what your website is about. Additionally, this could improve your chances to find your content as a featured snippet in search results.

There are various ways on how to get your page as a featured snippet. As discussed previously, it lies in the content of your page. There are several case studies on how this was achieved even by websites that aren’t as popular as Moz or Wikipedia or any other resources.

After going through these case studies, here are the key takeaways:

  1. Brainstorm an idea that’s commonly asked in your industry.
  2. Answer that question directly and clearly.
  3. Additionally, add more details related to your answer.
  4. Optimize your website to make it easier to search for both users and search engines.

Implementing structured markups is easy, thanks to Google’s Search Console. You can simply use the Data Highlighter to implement schema markup for each page, or for a collection of pages (for example, your blog posts).

If you already implemented structured markup on your website, make sure that you’re using the format JSON-LD, the recommended structured data format by Google. Test your structured data with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. An error in the code will render the whole data invalid, so make sure you’ve got that error sorted out before implementing it on your site.

Customer interaction

Once you have your site optimized for voice search, be ready to receive inquiries about your business.

Voice searchers, especially mobile users, will check out your website for more information. If they have additional questions, be ready to receive them through a contact form or even through your social media channels.

Some even do cross-device searches. They find you using voice search on their mobile device and later on, they move on to do a more detailed review on their desktop or laptop. Just another reason why it’s crucial to have a responsive website.

Responsive-web-designStudies show that customers tend to leave a slow-loading website after 3 seconds, and some customers share their bad experience with a business more often than they share positive reviews.

Remember to A/B test your landing pages, as well as your contact forms. There are numerous guides online on how to design better-converting contact forms, and we recommend the following tips to start with:

  • as much as possible, limit the number of questions that you ask via the web form
  • if you need to get more information from a lead, change your form into a multi-step form
  • provide alternative contact details
  • integrate AI chatbots; some businesses see more progress with social messaging app chatbots that answer their customers’ inquiries

If you want to win the hearts of your customers, tips above can help reel them in.

2018 Resolution: Optimize for voice search

It is expected that the use of voice search will skyrocket by 2020. Take this as an opportunity not just to optimize your website for voice search, but for a better user-centric experience overall.

Optimizing your website may take some time, as you need to consider on-page and off-page factors as well. Consider this as a challenge. Do not postpone this again until the next year.

We have all the resources, all we must do is implement the proper changes and gear up for the year ahead.

Kenneth Sytian headshot

Kenneth Sytian

Kenneth Sytian is a web designer from the Philippines and founder of Sytian Productions. Kenneth has been designing websites and developing web apps for more than a decade.

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Point Visible

At PointVisible, we believe in teamwork and love working together on big projects. Articles written under this name are either a result of teamwork of Point Visible team of writers, or a guest post from some of the industry experts.
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