Optimising Your Website for Voice Searches
How many times recently have you struck up a conversation with ‘Alexa…’, or started a question with ‘Ok Google…’? The answer will either be, none at all, or loads of times! Once you get started with voice control, it’s a hard habit to break.
Amazon continues to dominate the UK smart speaker market with well over 100 million Alexa devices sold worldwide as of January 2019. Meanwhile, Google is stubbornly elbowing themselves into the market with the Google Home Hub and all of its related smart home devices.
Whether you like it or not, the trend for sending commands to devices by voice continues to gather pace. It is no longer a passing fad - and it’s not just ‘the kids’ that use it either. Even my Dad (now in his mid-seventies) has struck up a connection with his savvy new friend – “She even knows what kind of music I like”, he tells me.
In addition to smart speakers, home hubs and automation devices, voice control and search is of course widely available on our phones. If you can’t key in your request, you can just ask Siri (Apple) or Cortana (Windows).
What does that mean for your website?
In short, it means that now, more than ever, your website needs to be properly set up for searches of all kinds. It needs to contain the right information coded into the pages, in the right format and in the right places.
It also means that people are searching differently than they were before, so you need to cover more bases. The main difference between voice searches and traditional text searches is that voice searches tend to be questions. The word string used is often much longer too. This can have a knock-on effect on which keyword groups you will use for your web pages - and how you are presented in search results.
Find out if you’re already returning voice search results
Often, you can use existing data (if you have it available) to assess which keywords and phrases you are already gaining traffic for. For example, you can run an export of the search queries that people found you for in your Google Ads account, or via Google Search Console. Once you have the information exported to Excel, run a find for question related words such as; ‘who’, ‘how’, ‘where’, ‘what’, ‘which’ etc. Also, look out for longer word strings of 6 words or over. You can also search your results for ‘Google’ and ‘Alexa’ to see if you are already having some success with voice searches.
If you’re setting up a new website for SEO and want to deliver results as both voice search results and as text-based searches, the basics of what you need to cover are actually not that different. Basically, if your web page is well structured and offers clear, relevant information in both its content and tags, you will be well placed to provide search results for both.
Let’s put Big Red's website to the test
Luckily for our clients, the Big Red Platform is set up to make it really easy to add content that search engines can easily access and index. Without having to worry too much about it, the pages and articles you publish also contain structured data in the published (source) code. This is a list of specialist tags that tell search engines what the page type is (e.g. article, product, event listing), what the headline is, what the main image is for the page, and so on. The platform also makes it really easy to add and manage your meta tags, add tags to images and other page elements as you add and publish them.
Let’s run some voice searches related to Big Red on Google and see what results we get:
Q1: Where are Big Red Digital?
Q2. When does Big Red Digital close today?
Q3. Who is Sales Manager at Big Red Digital?
Q4. Which services do Big Red Digital offer?
Q5. What is the Big Red Platform?
As you can see from the highlighted results for each question, Google is able to confidently offer up a firm answer to each question because our web pages contain the content, tags and data that they need in order to provide the answer. Some of it, such as our opening hours, is pulled directly from our Google My Business listing - which is a must-have if you need people to be able to find key location and contact information about your business.
What to consider when optimising your web pages for voice searches
Do your keyword research properly for each page
- Make sure you have structured data/metadata set up on your web pages.
- Submit a detailed sitemap to Google.
Google My Business
- A lot of searches on voice are ‘near me’ searches – so make sure as much comes through on Google My Business.
- Ideally put address details in the footer of your website.
- Ensure that sure your site is mobile friendly. It needs to load quickly and work properly. A lot of voice searches are done on mobile phones and Google favours device-responsive sites.
Show good reviews, across different platforms
- Encourage people who you’ve done business with to leave reviews via your website, social pages, business listings and generally everywhere across the web.
Use your news/blog section to address common customer questions
If you are often being asked similar questions on your products or services, you should use this as the basis of a series of news articles or a FAQ’s section. Search engines love websites with lots of helpful, relevant content.
Need help? Just Ask Roisin!
If you are unsure whether smart devices and voice searches are recommending your business, don’t worry, Big Red can help you to be found more easily and look at other ways to generate more revenue online. It all starts with a conversation and just like Alexa, our Sales Manager Roisin McNeill has the answers.
Give Roisin a call now on 0141 771 7242 to get started or send an enquiry here and we will get back to you right away.