If you told people a few decades ago that most of us in the future would talk to computers regularly, very few would believe you. The idea of humans and robots talking was nothing more than science fiction.
Well, times have changed.
Most consumers now use voice search to communicate with their mobile phones, tablets, and smart home devices. People use voice search technology to look up directions, find answers to important (or sometimes not-so-important) questions, look for nearby restaurants, check the weather, and so much more.
For business owners, voice search presents an excellent opportunity to reach prospects and potential customers. Research shows that 62% of smart speaker owners have used their devices to make a purchase online.
In other words, if your website pops up in the voice search results, you can boost traffic, sales, and engagement.
Today, we will look at several actionable ways to improve the odds that Google presents your site to potential customers when they ask relevant questions. The following strategies will help you optimize your business for voice search and connect with more customers in 2023.
Claim Your Google Business Profile
If you want to improve your visibility through voice and traditional search, you should first create a Google Business Profile. Your profile will have essential information about your company, such as your phone number, address, products, and user reviews. Many shoppers reference business profile pages before placing an order or engaging with a brand.
Google offers this feature for free for anyone who wants to claim their company on the search giant.
However, you must also create a Google My Business account to claim your Google Business Profile.
Claiming your business listing allows you to change your phone number, product selection, and other details as the owner, which will speed up the changes. You can also use this opportunity to engage with customers who leave reviews on your profile.
From a voice search point of view, Google profiles allow business owners to quickly deliver accurate, helpful information to people when they use their devices to ask questions. For instance, if someone wants to know your business hours, precise information is a must. Google often pulls information from business profiles for voice search users, so it’s not hard to see why this strategy is helpful.
If you want another reason, consider this; Google receives a stunning 77,000 searches every second. In other words, you can reach countless new users daily by simply claiming and updating your Google Business Profile.
Fine-Tune Speed, Performance, and Accessibility
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that Google favors fast and responsive websites. They’ve explicitly explained that faster websites are more likely to rise through the ranks and appear in voice search results. At the same time, the developers are putting out updates that prioritize mobile-friendly websites.
Consumer usage data and behavior show us why they’ve taken this approach. The average person spends close to 4 hours on their smartphone every day. Couple this information with the fact that people are more likely to make purchases and look for brand information with smart speakers, and it’s not hard to see why Google has decided to put mobile users first.
It’s also worth mentioning that a one-second delay in loading times roughly translates to an 11% loss in pageviews. This figure includes users who will miss out on your content because voice assistants decided to prioritize websites that load quickly.
Here are a few ways you can improve your website’s speed, performance, and accessibility options:
- Use mobile-friendly themes and plugins.
- Host large images and videos off-site.
- Translate your site into multiple languages.
- Stick with a minimalistic design.
- Split long posts/comment sections into pages.
If your website is fast and works well on smartphones, there’s a much greater chance your site will appear in voice search results.
Use Conversational Keywords
Did you know that 71% of marketers say keyword optimization is their most effective SEO strategy? Simply put, keywords are what users type or speak to a search engine to find your brand.
Over the years, many business leaders have started using long-tail keywords to reach more customers. The reason behind this strategy boils down to relevancy. Long-tail phrases tend to have more information, which means it’s easier to match content to user intent.
For example, the keyword “dog food” has a staggering 2.17 billion results. Compare that to the more detailed keyword “best dog food for digestive health,” which has around 52 million results, and you will begin to see the importance of long-tail keywords. These phrases can help you focus on the needs of your target audience, which means more engagement and sales.
When it comes to voice search, long-tail keywords are a necessity. People don’t say one or two words while searching with their voices. They typically speak in complete sentences, which means you need matching keywords if you want to reach them.
I suggest starting voice keywords with who, why, what, where, when, or how because most voice searches come in the form of a question. So an online pet store may try to target the phrase “Where can I buy dog food for digestive health?”
One of the best ways to add these question-based keywords to your website is to add FAQs to relevant landing pages and blog posts. You can include all the questions potential customers might ask before discovering your brand. If done correctly, this technique can help you connect with people who may have never heard of your brand.
FAQ sections can help you get more featured snippets, which are the text boxes that appear on a Google search before the first “official” result. They typically have questions and answers pulled from reputable and relevant websites. Believe it or not, 40.7% of all voice search responses come from featured snippets. With this statistic in mind, you can see why conversational keywords and FAQs are crucial for reaching people through voice search.
If you need help coming up with conversational keywords, check Google’s autocomplete feature. Here’s how:
- Go to Google, and start typing in a relevant word or two.
- You’ll then see suggestions based on what other people have recently searched.
- Find popular queries that align with your product and business, and you’ll have a better chance of getting mentioned by voice search software.
- Choose phrases that resonate with your readers and start strategically including them in your content.
You should also check your preferred SEO tool. Most SEO software allows users to search for conversational keyword suggestions. You can find a wealth of helpful keywords and data with this strategy.
Add Schema Markup to Your Site
Finally, let’s talk about adding schema markup (also known as structured data) to your website. Schema markup is done behind the scenes. You’ll need to add additional code to your HTML or find a program that can do this for you.
You should include critical information about products and your business in your data. Common information includes pricing, availability, review rating, and images. Google analyzes this data and uses it to show consumers information about your brand from the SERPs.
For voice users, this means they can get answers to questions like “Is the new iPhone in stock?” before they ever land on your website.
I suggest adding markup to all of your product pages as well as specific landing pages. Consumers will not “see” this extra data on your website. However, it will create a smoother experience for people using voice or traditional search. The ability to see details about a product will result in more users visiting your website and potentially making a purchase.
Voice search is here to stay. Google is already working on new features to improve how consumers use voice search to discover new brands and products. It’s not too late to optimize your website. The tips discussed here today will help you better prepare for the surge in voice shoppers expected in 2023.
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