You’re familiar with search, but how do you optimize your site for voice search? When Google launched the Voice Search app for the iPhone back in 2008, it was far from perfect. But, over the years, speak-activated technology has become much more accurate and human-like.

According to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report, Google’s machine learning algorithms have achieved a 95% word accuracy rate or better for the English language. That rate is also the threshold for human accuracy, mind you.

A woman is using a smart phone for voice search optimization.

Within a decade, the way many people search online is also changing. From Google Assistant to Alexa to Siri, people are speaking more than ever instead of typing to search online.

You must be prepared to capture new voice traffic to capitalize on its nearly quantum rise in popularity. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to gain any organic traction.

What Does Voice Search Mean for Your Business?

If you are a small business owner, it is a good idea to start thinking of optimizing your website for voice search.

Here’s why:

People want instant solutions when they are searching for something online. While typing a query into a search bar is quick, simply speaking into your device and getting the same results is even faster. On average, a person can type around 40 words per minute but talk about 150 words per minute. Do the math.

Voice search is also more appropriate and convenient than traditional methods of searching. If you had to choose between typing and speaking a query like “Which is the best community to live in Northern California,” you would probably choose the latter option.

This is why many consumers already use voice search to find what they want.

How to Make Voice Search Work for You

Voice search is not a fad or something you should ignore. If you want to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition, now’s the time to do it. Get the most out of search marketing in the long run by putting these proven voice search optimization strategies to use:

Think Phrases, Not Just Keywords

When researching keywords for voice search, consider the semantic differences in queries. What someone types into a search bar will differ from a spoken question. For example, if you want to find a hotel near the airport in Santa Rosa, you would search for something like “hotels near airport Santa Rosa.” On the other hand, when you speak your search, you will probably use a conversational tone, so it would be more like, “What hotels are near the airport in Santa Rosa?”

Google is looking for natural language, so you must incorporate conversational, long-tail keywords (keywords that are grouped together to make up a phrase) that someone might use to find your products or services into your content as much as possible.

Voice search contains a lot of question words. Think of how we typically ask questions verbally; we usually include words like how, who, what, when, why, and where. Sprinkle these keywords into the mix as well.

Keep it Simple

No matter what your business offers, writing overly technical or jargon-filled copy is never a good idea. It doesn’t benefit the user, and it doesn’t help your SEO. A study conducted by Brian Dean shows that content written at a 9th-grade reading level appears more often as a voice result. You can use a tool such as the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level to determine what grade your content is at and adjust accordingly.

Remember, it is not about dumbing down your site. It is about answering questions succinctly and clearly rather than filling your web pages with unnecessary language that will confuse searchers and search engines.

Stay Local

Mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to be location-based queries and have terms like “near me.” People often use voice search while driving, looking for what’s nearby. It could be places to visit, hotels to stay in, or restaurants to eat on the go. So, the more you can do to optimize your site for local search results, the more it can be optimized for voice search as well.

Here are a few ways to optimize your site for local search:

  • Use your location with keywords in your site content as much as possible.
  • Don’t forget to keep your Google My Business and Yelp pages updated with your current information. These results are served, too—not just your web content.
  • If you have accolades or awards, include those too—users often search for the “best of” or “top” products or services in the area.

Be Overly Informative

Business owners who insist on minimal content are missing the point, and would-be customers are missing them. Read our post on blog post length, which applies equally to page length.

A virtual assistant pulls information from the internet, so you want to ensure lots of it can be found. Keep your website, Google My Business, Yelp, and other third-party sites updated with your contact info, hours of operation, location, and menu.

However, that is just the basics. Dive even deeper—does your business accept American Express? Does your boutique sell clothing by local designers? Is your business a good place to take kids, pets, or a date? The more you can put out there, the more questions you can answer. Creating a FAQ page is a great way to provide both typers and talkers with relevant information about your business.

Speed Up

Your mobile page load time matters. The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds, 52% faster than the average page, so you must keep up to get noticed. Google also includes page speed as a ranking factor, so quicker is always better. Check your site’s speed.

Final Thoughts

It will become increasingly relevant—and necessary—to make it easy for customers to “talk” to your business. Optimize your site now instead of waiting for your competitors to catch up and outrun you.

Need help optimizing your website for voice search?

If you want to create a sound voice search optimization strategy for your Santa Rosa business, Call us to explore your options.