A Guide for Voice Search SEO (VSEO) Optimization in 2020

Speaking to Google to do a internet search on a cell phone

Written by Kalleigh O'Togher

Kalleigh is the founder and CEO of Zealous Social.  Her expertise in marketing comes from 15 years of serving mid-size businesses in the trades, services and retail industries.

August 4, 2020

SEO Optimization for Voice Search

Websites now need to be SEO (Search Engine Optimization) optimized for Voice Search. It’s on the rise, and this trend isn’t going away.

If your website isn’t SEO optimized for smartphones, Cortana, Alexa or Google Home, you’re missing out. 

By the end of 2020, at least 50% of all searches will be conducted by voice. (according to Comscore

In fact, 75% of people who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are often used as part of their daily lives. (according to Think with Google

It’s becoming part of the household routine. Consumers check commute times, set to-do reminders, make grocery lists, and buy or re-order other online products.

It allows them to multitask, do things faster, get instant answers and information. Overall it just makes their daily routines easier because it’s quicker and more comfortable than typing. 

The future trend is to move towards all searches done through Voice Search judging by how quickly people are adopting this technology. They’re using it on their mobile phones with Siri or Google Assistant, and at home with Cortana, Alexa or Google Home.

People place voice-activated speakers in the center of their homes where everyone in the family can access them. That means virtual assistants are always available for a quick answer.

(according to Think with Google)

Why is Voice Search SEO important for your business? 

People search differently when using voice-activated search rather than if they type it in. They use conversational language that is more natural than the way they type keywords. 

For example, a user would likely type “eyeglasses,” but with Voice Search, you’d be more likely to say, “How do I buy eyeglasses online?“. This would result in very different search results from Google. 

If your site is not geared for Voice Search with proper keyword phrasing, you will lose out on ranking for that Google voice query.

People want quick answers to specific questions. They aren’t looking for instructions on complex tasks like they might on a typed search. 

Voice-activated speaker owners polled state they would like brands to provide:

  • 52% want information about deals, sales and promotions.
  • 48% want personalized tips and information to make their life easier.
  • 42% want information about upcoming events or activities.
  • 39% want options to find business information (e.g. location, hours)
  • 38% want access to customer service or support.

(according to Think with Google)

That’s why Google focuses on providing quick answers with micro-data (snippets) to your queries.

How can you incorporate Voice Search for your business? 

Here are seven tips to get your website SEO optimized for voice search:

  1. Focus on Voice Search Keywords

You want to look for longer terms (long-tail keywords) that are geared for the native language. 

You can use your primary keyword and put it into a keyword search tool like SEMRush, Answer The Public or Ubersuggest. These tools will give you keyword phrase ideas to use in longer keyword terms that work for voice search, i.e., eyeglasses – you’d probably want a long-term keyword phrase like “How to buy eyeglasses online.”

  1. Optimize Content for Voice Search 

Use the keyword phrases you found in step #1 and use them as content sections on your website to answer questions that people ask using Voice Search. 

You can structure it like a FAQ section with their questions as the headings and the answers right under it. Or you could sprinkle those questions and answers throughout the content on your site in ways that make the most sense.

This allows Google to see that you are providing answers to the questions people ask and providing real value. 

  1. Featured Snippets 

The results of a study found that 40% of all featured results on Google come from snippets. Snippets are answer boxes that you see when you do a Google search, and the results show the answer to your question below the top ads and above the Organic results. 

Using structured data on your site like headings, bulleted lists, numbered lists, tables and schema markups allow Google, when crawling over multiple websites searching for the answer, find it easily on yours. If your site has the best answer, they will pull that snippet from you. 

This gives you the chance to rank higher on Google for Voice Search results.

  1. Rank Video Content

Google knows that for some Voice Searches, you’d rather see a video on how it’s done, i.e., “How to Make a Baked Alaska?” rather than hear or read about it. 

Structure your video content with that in mind when writing your title, tags, and video descriptions.

  1. Local Voice Search

Local Voice Search will make it easier for local customers to find you, and it lets Google know to show your business in their local search results. 

For a “local florist near me” search Google will show the closest florists to your location. 

Fill out your Google My Business profile with detailed information, including what type of business you have. Keep it up to date. Then you’ll be the business that Google shows when someone does that local “near me” search. Also, make sure you have your location listed on your website. You can add a map link for directions on there as well. Google checks this, as well.

  1. Build Domain Authority

Google shows results for sites they believe have authority in that market. Make sure your website is one of them. 

You can get links pointed back to your website by publishing quality content that answers questions and provides real value to your market. Make sure your website is user friendly, easy to navigate, and loads quickly (under 3 seconds).

Also, encourage social sharing of your content. Find and answer questions on other sites with links back to your site (i.e., Quora, LinkedIn, Reddit, or other blog posts). 

  1. Increase Your Website Speed

You need to make sure your website has quality content and that it loads FAST (under 3 seconds). Google now checks website load speeds for both desktop and mobile. If your website takes too long to load, especially on mobile, Google could penalize your site even if it’s the one that has the best results for their search. 

Go to Google PageSpeed Insights and GT Metrix and analyze your page speeds to see if you need to make any changes to improve them. 

When someone does a Google search, they want instant results, and if your site doesn’t respond quickly enough, you’ve lost.

Conclusion

Follow these tips, and you’ll be ahead of your competition. 

You don’t want to wait and scramble to catch up later when we’re already seeing that this type of search is only getting more popular. 

Get ahead of the race and win.

If you want some help or don’t want to do it yourself, we offer SEO packages for different budgets. 

Contact us to learn more. 

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