Finding your voice in SEO

With 30% of all website sessions to be conducted without a screen by next year, voice search is taking the digital world by storm.

By using voice, users can browse the internet for information, find products and services, and connect with brands. It’s the same process that’s occurring when you ask Siri what the weather forecast is, or ask Alexa for your daily news. Understanding and mastering this technology is going to be essential for brands hoping to break through the noise and maintain a strong voice in the growing world of digital. If you’re wondering where to start, here are some basics.

Voice Search is simply the function that allows users to speak into a device instead of typing to search for something. This technology has been around for a while, but with the internet of things and home devices like Apple HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home becoming increasingly common, Voice Search has seen a boom in popularity.

What Does it Mean for SEO?

By January last year, there was an average of 1 billion voice searches every month. That staggering number is only set to grow, and as it does, so does the importance of optimising SEO for voice - in fact, half of all online searches are expected to be voice-made by 2020. 

Just like traditional SEO, the purpose of voice SEO is to optimise and prioritise your website in search. There are a few things you can do to do this. We’ll take you through a couple.

1. Write as you would speak

When we type to search, we do so in short form speech. We use keywords, e.g. Adidas Auckland. When spoken though, we wouldn’t just use keywords. A voice search would sound something like, ‘Where can I buy Adidas Shoes in Auckland’? These differences are important and as you can imagine, have a big impact on SEO. Natural sounding phrases are essential. They should also be basic (not exceeding a 9th grade reading level). Imagine you were in a foreign country, translation book in hand, asking a local where to eat or see a movie. Convoluted phrases and more extensive vocabulary can muddy the equation. Stick to the basics. Google also prioritises long-form content in voice search. Phrases should be short, but content can be between 1500-2500 words.

2. Optimise your website

As with traditional SEO a fast, responsive site will fare best. Your site should be optimised for various devices with compressed images and no hefty loading times. Headless CMS sites will continue growing in popularity as voice search advances Google’s weeding out of slower sites from their search responses. 

While Voice Search technology and our understanding of how to best make use of are still in their infancy, these tips are perfect for giving you a head start. As it stands, sites that have optimised their performance for voice SEO do see increased traffic, as well as mentions in device responses e.g. ‘According to (YOUR WEBSITE) …’. All of this comes back to your understanding of your end user - who they are, what their habits and motivations are, and you could best prepare your brand to meet them in the discovery phase of their customer life cycle. Then, you can tailor a strategy to ensure your brand stands out, with a loud voice and plenty of great things to say. 

Need a hand doing that? Give us a call.