B2B companies take note: Use of voice search is on the rise. In fact, 41% of U.S. adults use voice search on a daily basis (source). This search trend presents a unique opportunity for your company to jump ahead of the competition and generate more organic traffic to your business websites.
Market research firm Gartner predicts that by 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30% (source). This is great news for B2B businesses ready to tackle voice search. But, the truth is, optimizing web content for voice search can be tricky, and it can be tough to even know how to begin.
So answer this, Alexa: How can marketers optimize website content to remain visible in a world where more buyers are turning to voice search? Fear not, we’ve organized and compiled five best practices to get you started in this handy guide for marketers. Let’s jump right in!
Why is voice search important to marketers?
All recent Google algorithm changes indicate a move toward more advanced, adaptive search functionalities. These changes favor high-quality content that addresses an audience’s pain points instead of content haphazardly stuffed with keywords.
These days, Google and other major search engines have an advanced understanding of natural language patterns and the interconnectedness of different topics. As a result, search results become more personalized and fine-tuned to user preferences. This leads us to suspect more and more people will rely on voice search to browse the internet—and marketers must prepare.
Here’s how to optimize your content for voice search:
1. Optimize your content with conversational language and speech patterns.
The way users phrase questions on voice search differs from how they phrase questions through text search. The questions people ask are longer and more conversational, so that means your keywords must be longer and more conversational, too.
We recommend optimizing for long-tail keywords that mirror the phrases or questions your customers and prospects actually use to seek out information about your products. The best way to discover these keywords and phrases is to actually sit in on customer service or sales calls. That way, you can hear firsthand what your prospects are interested in. Then, build corresponding content focused on those conversational questions.
Be mindful of how your content reads and attempt to use phrasing and language that sounds as natural as possible. The average Google voice search result is written at a 9th-grade reading level, so stick with words that are simple and easy to pronounce for the best results (source).
2. Dedicate a portion of your website to answer commonly asked questions.
The best way to optimize your website for commonly asked questions is surprisingly simple—develop a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. An FAQ page can also increase your chance of appearing as a Google Featured Snippet– the answer summary often found at the top of Google search results, above all other results. In fact, 41% of all voice search answers came from a Featured Snippet in a study of 10,000 Google Home search results (source).
As you start to create your FAQ, keep in mind that only 1.71% of voice search results use the exact keyword in their title tag so you don’t necessarily need to create an entirely new page for each question (source). Instead, consider creating several pages, with strategically grouped questions that target a cluster of keywords.
3. Be conscious of website speed.
If you want your content to appear as an answer in voice search, your website must be fast—really fast. A Backlinko study found that voice search result pages tend to be much faster than other web pages. The average load time for voice search (.54 seconds) was 52% faster than the worldwide average of 2.1 seconds (source).
This makes sense considering people want immediate answers to their questions. If you’re not sure how to improve the speed of your website, here are a few recommendations:
A quick way to improve website speed is through image optimization. Image files tend to be large, therefore, we recommend using a tool or plugin to compress images. There are many options available, so do your research to find the solution that works for you.
Streamline the design of your website:
This may seem like common sense, but hear us out. Reducing the number of elements on your website can improve page speed.
This allows repeat visitors to temporarily store elements of your website within their browser. That way, when they return the page takes less time to load.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. But, if you’re new to site speed and web development best practices, these are three relatively simple places to start.
Final Thoughts About Voice Search and Website Optimization
And there you have it, three easy ways to optimize your website content for voice search. In our technologically-driven marketing landscape, it will become increasingly important to adapt and optimize your website to meet the evolving needs of your target audience and their preferred technological devices.
Follow the tips within this article, and of course, continue to produce high-quality content. For more information about important SEO and marketing considerations, check out the following articles:
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