Is Your Website Optimized For Voice Search?

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Have you noticed that the majority of electronic devices this holiday season include voice technology? Everything from TV streaming devices to fitness watches and even garage door openers are voice-operated.  Juniper Research estimates that the use of voice assistants will TRIPLE over the next 3 years, and the number of people performing voice searches will also incline drastically with improvements in speech-recognition technology.  

What is Voice Search and Natural Language Processing?

Voice search is technology that allows users to use voice commands to open online websites, applications or searches. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP) computers are able to translate spoken words into text and then analyze the text to uncover the user’s intent.   Behind the scenes, complicated algorithms and machine learning applications are processing words, syntax, and semantics to deliver the most optimal result for the searcher.

While this technology has existed for many years, the accuracy of the response to your search has been inconsistent-frustrating users.   In the last few year’s Google and Microsoft have been able to drastically improve their speech-recognition accuracy to around 97%.


Voice Search vs. Web Search – How are they different?

Web searches have traditionally been keyword based. If you are searching for a pizza place near you, you might type in something like “Pizza places near me”.   The search engine algorithm would return the closest pizza places with optimized online profiles and give you back the top results.

If you were to perform that same search using a voice command it might be something along these lines “Alexa, where are the best pizza places near me?”

The difference is natural language. When you ask a search engine using a voice command, you are more likely to ask in complete sentences or questions.   This type of search is longer and conversationally-toned.  

When your text-based search opens, it will give you the page-one results for your search. A voice-based search may not have a screen and therefore you will only be provided the top result of your query, leaving out all other options for pizza near you.


The Impact of Voice Search on SEO

There is not yet an exact science for optimizing your website for voice search. The industry is changing so rapidly that our recommendations today could be very different in just a few short months. There are however some things you can do today to set your website up to win searches performed on smart speakers or by voice-activation.


Improve Your Page Load Time

The ideal load time is 3 seconds or less. Google will demote websites that do no load quickly in favor of faster-loading pages. Unsure how your page measures up, check out Google Page Insights Tool to find out.


 Provide a FAQ’s Page

Voice searches are often 6 words or longer and are posed as questions. Providing a FAQ’s page with optimized content will help you earn rank zero (above search results) position using Google’s Answer Box.  You could even create more value by answering frequently asked questions in a blog post.

Optimize Your Local Presence

A report by Internet Trends found that 22% of voice searches are locally-based. To capture those “near me” searches you must have an optimized website, high-quality content, great reviews and a Google My Business page.  

Add Schema Markup and Rich Snippets

Schema markup is language that you put in the code of your website that communicates with search engines. It can be much more detailed than traditional HTML tags. Schema markup helps to explain what the text means.

Rich snippets are made up of structured data that is added to the code of your webpage to communicate information with search engines.  Rich snippet’s include information on the search results page that would entice more people to click or learn more such as star-rating, author, time estimates…Etc… These snippets give the reader information they can use to determine which site is might give them the best answer.


Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

The majority of voice searches are performed on mobile devices. People are using voice search on the go and on-demand. In order to show up when the searcher is looking, you have to have amobile-optimized website and it has to offer a pleasant user-exercise for visitors.


Prioritize Voice Search and Win More Traffic

Voice search is not going away. In fact, the number of devices that are operated by voice is growing every day. In the near future, our websites may even be audible   It is a good idea to keep an eye on the traffic that comes to your website and use Google Search Console to learn more about the types of searches that are driving traffic for you. Right now is the time for you to get a head start on your competition and prepare your website to attract traffic from voice-activated searches.

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