With search queries on mobile devices at an all-time high (60%) and still climbing, there is going to be a major shift in the search engine optimization (SEO) world in the next two years. At this point in time, most mobile device users still search manually via the major search engines just as they did on desktop computers. However, with breakthrough technologies like Apple’s Siri and Amazon Echo, voice search will soon dominate Google searches and brand’s need to be ready for this change.
Here are some of the most important steps your brand needs to take in optimizing it’s website for voice searches.
Make sure your business claims it’s Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Google My Business is perhaps the most important citation listing a local business can have because of it’s integration with Google Maps. At the moment, 22% of voice searches are related to local information and are often made using the words “near me” or "around me". The rest of the pie shapes up to 30% general information, 21% entertainment and 27% are related to the personal assistant. It’s important to exhaust your Google My Business listing in terms of the information business owners can include. This includes listing your business in all categories that apply to the products and services offered, adding interior and exterior photos of the business, listing multiple phone numbers and making sure your hours of operation are correct. It would also not hurt to ask for positive reviews from satisfied customers that have used your services in the past. A well-optimized Google My Business listing will payoff big time for voice searches.
Tailor your content towards answering long-tailed questions your customers frequently ask.
Brands should always strive to provide value in the first place. The best content is content that solves a problem or answers a question. When searching manually on the major search engines, users will often use short-tailed keywords for simplicity. With voice searches, users are much more likely to search using long-tailed keywords. Try to visualize how a user would conduct a voice search related to your business and what words they would use to ask that question. Those exact phrases should serve as your article titles. Aside from that tiny difference, your brand’s content strategy should remain the same as it is now.
Implement schema markup into your website.
Schema markup is microdata that allows the search engines to better understand your website’s content. Webmasters and digital marketers that know how to implement schema markup will be able to make these changes using Schema.org. Schema markup will need to be added to each desired individual page; there are no widgets or plugins that can implement schema markup across an entire site. Most brands only add schema markup to the most popular internal pages of a website. Brands that don’t know anything about schema markup should consult with a digital marketing company that offers web design services. Adding schema markup to a website’s pages is often a very small project that can be completed in just a few hours.
Publish thorough frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages.
Do not underestimate the necessity of FAQ pages. They provide value and if possible, make sure each answered question has it’s own page on your website. It’s difficult to rank one page for seven different questions. With seven different pages of questions, your website will achieve greater visibility in the search results. This strategy also allows business owners to include additional media like videos that may help answer a question.
Strive to create content that gets ranked as a featured snippet in the Google search results.
The featured snippets are ranked ahead of search result number one and show a brief preview of the content on your pages. In order to achieve this feat, the content on your page should be formatted in an extremely organized manner. Content should be published in the form of tables, charts, images, bullet points and lists. The content in the featured snippets typically range between 40 and 50 words.
Make sure your brand’s website is mobile-friendly with a responsive design to all devices.
Believe it or not, there are still plenty of business websites out there that are not mobile-friendly. Google has already began giving preference in the search results to websites that are mobile-friendly. Most business owners will need the help of a web design company to complete this task. Making a website mobile-friendly is a bigger task than adding schema markup to pages but not as difficult as it once was.
How will brands be able to track voice searches vs. manual searches? Google Search Console (formerly called Webmaster Tools) will still be able to provide webmasters and digital marketers with the data regarding search queries and how your website ranks for those terms. Aside from using longer-tailed keywords, it’s unlikely that users’ search behaviors will be vastly different by voice. Only time will tell. Everyone speculated that search behavior would be vastly different on mobile devices compared to desktop computers a few years ago as well.
The earlier a brand optimizes their website for voice search, the better off they’ll be. Do you need help navigating the SEO waters and making these changes? John Mann SEO Consulting can help. We are one of the premier SEO companies in Nashville, Tennessee and are passionate about helping small businesses build a stronger digital presence and generating more revenue. To schedule your free website audit and consultation, please call 615-491-9819 or complete our contact form.