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Hey Siri, What’s Voice Search, and How Do I Optimize For It

Hey Siri, What’s Voice Search, and How Do I Optimize For It?

Evan Burns
November 27, 2022

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Voice search is any spoken question people have asked their phones or smart speakers. If you've ever asked Alexa what the weather forecast is today or asked Siri for directions, you've made a voice search. It's changing how people find information online. And that means it's changing how you need to manage your search engine optimization.

How Can I Optimize My SEO for Voice Search?

Here are six strategies for optimizing your website’s SEO for voice search.

  1. Focus on long-tail keywords
  2. Optimize for local search
  3. Utilize structured data
  4. Add an FAQ
  5. Make your website mobile-friendly

1. Focus on long-tail keywords

People who make voice searches are often asking very specific questions. They talk in complete sentences and use more words than they would for a typed search. That means you should be focusing on topics and long-tail keywords to match up with voice search queries. Long-tail keywords are a lot more specific than head terms or short-tail keywords, so they don't get as much search traffic. But they provide a lot more detail and context to search engines and are more likely to be featured as an answer if you utilize specific long-tail keywords.


2. Optimize for local search

People doing a voice search are three times more likely to be making location-targeted searches (like restaurants, the weather, and nearby businesses) than people typing in their search. So you can't ignore the local element of your SEO. This is especially true if you’re a brick-and-mortar business. Add the names of the locations and regions you serve into your content, create location pages on your website, and optimize your Google My Business account.


3. Utilize structured data

Also known as schema markup, structured data is one of the factors search engines look at when figuring out your website's ranking. It helps Google figure out what the elements are on your page and what's relevant to a search query. Some people may think it's too much work to use and wouldn't affect voice search SEO much.

But here's the thing: Google is developing speakable structured data as we speak. It's still in beta right now, but it's a sign that structured data is going to play a bigger role in voice search in the near future. So using structured data now will put you miles ahead of other search results in the future.


4. Add FAQs to your website

Right now, you're probably thinking, "FAQs? What is this, the '90s?" I know, right? But hear me out. People doing voice searches are making interrogatory searches. In other words, their searches are in the form of questions. Frequently asked questions on your website directly answers common questions relevant to your business or service. It makes it easier for search engines to find answers to queries made by voice search. It also raises your chances of getting ranked on featured snippets.


5. Make your website mobile-friendly

Did you know that more than half of all internet traffic is generated by mobile devices? Did you know that more than 27% of those mobile searches are done by voice? Search engines factor into your website's mobile experience into their rankings. So if you want to show up in SERPs for both voice and text search, you need a mobile-friendly website.

While we're talking about mobile-friendly, keep in mind that mobile users are on the go — both physically and mentally. If your website is slow to load, they won't stay on it. Keep your page load time fast. Google factors load time into their ranking, so a fast-loading website will be more likely to get found in a search, and users will be more likely to stick around.

[Related article: How Bounce Rate Impacts Your Website SEO]


Final Thoughts

Voice search isn't exactly new. Google first announced it was going to roll out voice search back in 2011. But it's come so much further and become so much more common that you just can't ignore it any longer.

Voice search has changed how people ask for information and how search engines find answers to their questions. If you optimize your content for voice search, you'll provide a better user experience and rank higher in SERPs.New call-to-action