Mobile devices, smartphones and smart home devices featuring digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant are all examples of how voice searching is a growing method for searching for content. It is quite obvious why this trend is growing; it is faster, easier and much more user friendly especially as assistive technology for users with disabilities.
An example of how SEO compares to voice SEO is when searching for a trade for example a plumber. For SEO we would target phrases such as:
• Plumber London
• Boiler London
However for voice SEO we target more voice-friendly keywords such as:
• Cost for fixing a boiler in London
• Worcester boiler engineer in London
So whats the difference? We must humanize content to suit voice seo and make keyword structures based on a conversational and informative tone. Consider the type of questions customers ask when they call your business to discuss a certain product or service, take note of common phrases or wording when they talk to you and optimise your online presence around these phrases.
How can we optimise for voice searching?
1. Long-tail Keywords
Short tail keywords are quickly becoming less relevant when considering the natural phrases people tend to use in voice searches. And with 20% of mobile queries being voice searches and the ratio of voice search growing faster than type search, it’s getting more important than ever before to ensure that you’re using the right keywords to capture voice searches.
As voice search gets more popular, it’s growing more important to be more conversational in nature. Focus on how customers speak when asking verbal questions which in concept can then be turned into a long-tail keywords to boost your SEO. These tend to be longer and involve very specific keyword phrases that are used by people closer to the point of purchasing something.
For example, if you are a boiler installer, the short keyword “boiler” probably won’t be too helpful to capture people using voice search. However, using keywords such as “Worcester Boiler Installation” will reflect what your potential customers are looking for.
2. Google Places
Let’s use our plumber in London example for how customers might search for a local plumber.
1. “Emergency plumber in London” This is a phrase we can target and optimise through the website for organic listings
2. “Emergency plumber near me” For the phrase “near me” Google then takes the users geolocation and directs the user to Google My Business locations in a close proximity.
This example shows how vital it is to claiming your Google My Business listing for local queries. With voice searches with a conversational tone we tend to see an even larger number of hyper-local queries.
3. Blog posts
Once you have collected your customer’s common questions and phrases, you can then create content for them. Many companies put these questions into a single FAQ as the quickest approach to get this data onto the website however I recommend creating blogs based on this research. Yes this sounds time consuming however blogs spreading the questions will help voice assistants become more successful pulling content from your site. The added bonus is also what blogs bring to your business, keeping customers engaged, building trust and establish authority.
4. Mobile First
The huge popularity of mobile devices at this point is common knowledge to all. However, with the emergence of voice search, mobile friendly sites in turn are more vital. With over half of all search queries coming from mobile and voice searches mainly on mobile devices it is quite clear a mobile friendly site is paramount.
A Google study found that 41% of adults and more than half of teens use voice search multiple times per day. The devices used primarily in this research was of course smartphone devices showing that it is vital your content is as mobile friendly as possible.
It’s safe to say the conventional typed-out searches isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Waking my girlfriend up whilst talking to my phone during sleepless nights may not be the best idea and for most occasions voice searching just isn’t suitable. However it is also quite clear that with many companies releasing voice assistants such as Google Home, the increase in this trend will only continue to grow.
It is our job to adapt to this by optimising our websites and take voice searching into consideration. Making future optimisations less robotic and more natural we can then prepare our content to rank successfully on voice searches.
1. Website Speed
To test your website site speed run your URL through a free tool such as Pingdom Google’s PageSpeed Insights to find out how your site rates on desktop/overall site speed. For mobile sites specifically, use Google’s Test My Site tool to gauge site performance.
Research shows that 40% of people abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Your customers will not be willing to give you there hard earnt cash without a good user experience and will likely return to searching for a faster website.
If page loading time is a problem, tackle some optimization tactics. For example, identify large images/files and compress them using Photoshop, or a free image compression tool. Leverage browser caching so repeat visitors don’t have to completely reload the entire page every time.
Part and parcel with a good user experience is a fast loading website. It’s also been a ranking factor for Google since 2010. With the amount of images and dynamic elements, ecommerce sites often load slowly, leading to lost customers and conversions.
2. Mobile First
An additional mobile-related SEO in 2018 is the introduction of Google’s mobile-first index. This means Google will determine rankings primarily based on mobile experience and content. Essentially, ecommerce sites need to ensure users have a similar experience on both mobile and desktop. If you have a site optimized for mobile, you’ll rank well on both mobile and desktop. But, if your site doesn’t perform well on mobile, it will tank your rankings on both mobile and desktop.
To ensure your website is deemed mobile friendly by Google, it must have the following features:
- Your website must avoid software, like Flash, that is not common on mobile devices
- The text used by your website must be readable without zooming
- Your website content should be sized to the screen to ensure that users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom to read
- Links on your website must be placed apart far enough so that the correct one can be easily tapped
3. Site Architecture
Ecommerce site architecture, or structure, is how you set up your navigation, category pages and product pages. At it’s core, it’s about getting the best, most relevant content in front of users and reducing the number of times they have to click to find it.
There are two “golden rules” to great site structure:
- Make it simple and scalable.
- No page should take more than three clicks to get to from any other page.
For an ecommerce website, the site architecture for popular products in their respective categories, related products, top-rated products, and recently viewed products are particularly important.Also, you want to make sure that your most important product pages require only about three clicks from the homepage. The deeper a user has to dig for the product, the less likely they are to persevere, let alone make an actual purchase.
4. Avoid duplicate content
Duplicate content can seriously be an enemy when it comes to ecommerce website. Ecommerce websites particularly meet this issue because they deal with a lot of product descriptions. When it comes to ecommerce websites especially though, the most common form of duplicate content is in the manufacturer’s product description. Looking to get as many products online as quickly as possible, most online shopping site managers simply copy-paste these descriptions onto the product pages and leave it at that.
While this is not plagiarism, search engines still treat it as just that. Instead, you should strive to create unique product descriptions using the manufacturer’s source and starting block to create your own conent. Unique content is always a must.
5. Set up efficient keywords
Today’s consumer expects and demands a seamless user experience, and so does the search engine. Understanding and leveraging the connection between SEO and UX can improve search visibility and aiding the main goal of increasing sales. When SEO is done right, you will see an increase in quality traffic, which will lead to more conversions and repeat visitors.