Optimising your businesses SEO for Voice Search

Written by Jen on September 1, 2016

The way we search for things is changing quickly and it won’t be long till we are talking to our appliances much like Tony Stark speaks to J.A.R.V.I.S.

According to the keynote speech given by Behshad Bhzadi, principle engineer at Google Zurich, at SMX West in March, around half of teenagers and adults now use voice search on a daily basis, and Timothy Tuttle, the voice interface specialist at MindMeld, revealed that in 2015 voice search rose from 0% to 10% of all searches globally, which is an estimated 2 billion searches per day.

As a business it is important to consider technological platforms that are growing in popularity and consider how you can maximise its potential.

First things first though is to understand what voice search is and how it differs to the traditional search engines:

  1. Voice search refers to the digital assistant available on your smartphone, desktop computer or tablet such as Google microphone, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft Cortana (and more).
  2. The digital assistants are able to recognise what you say by using natural language processing and text-to-speech to understand what you want and bring up the relevant results via Google, Yahoo or Bing!
  3. Unlike traditional search, it’s important to understand that voice search is not just about voice recognition, but also voice understanding. It responds to natural phrases by interpreting the meaning and also the context behind the words you’re using. For example, you don’t really type the way you speak. When you type you might search “burger restaurant Cardiff”, but when you voice search you may say, “Where is the best burger restaurant in Cardiff?”.

Taking the last point into consideration, you may wonder now how that effects your SEO strategy and how best to optimise your website for voice search. Below are a few top tips:

 1.      Focus on long-tail keywords

While traditional search terms aren’t going to disappear completely, it is good to take into consideration the natural phrases use in voice search. You need to focus more on conversational, long-tail search terms and create content that answers your prospects’ questions.

 2.      Add FAQs

Voice search users are looking for quick answers, which makes FAQ content crucial in helping the search engines identify answers to popular questions. Consider using the basic format of “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” “Why,” and “How” when creating questions for your FAQs page.

 3.      Use schema markup to provide context

Schema, which is a markup language, is a HTML add-on that helps search engines understand the context of your content, which basically means the more information you provide, the more relevant you’ll be in specific queries.

4.      Optimise your site’s microdata

XML sitemaps, location data and other micro-data are essential for search engines to be able to provide quick answers to user’s queries. Adding this information is vital, considering so many people use voice search to get directions to a specific place. So if you want your business to be found through voice-activated search, don’t skip this step.

So, what next?

Technology is advancing at a quicker pace and with 55% of teenagers using voice search – and with each generation becoming more tech savvy, it is important to consider voice search in your business decisions.