7 steps towards voice search optimization

 Alexa and Siri are unquestionably essential aspects of our daily lives. For example, we may ask Siri or Alexa to find the closest athletic event, play, or day spa. In addition, searching the web using a virtual assistant is frequently faster and more convenient than typing in a query.

The problem is that regular voice searches are different from text searches. When speaking with our devices, we word our questions differently, closer to how we communicate in person. As a result, to reach this growing pool of searchers, SEO specialists and marketers have had to adapt.

On top of that, ranking for voice search is difficult. Devices that offer voice search frequently show only the top three results for a given query. You’ll need exceptional content and a strong voice SEO to get there.

Voice search isn’t just a passing novelty; it’s slowly becoming the norm. Approximately 40% of US internet users use a voice assistant at least monthly, which is growing daily.

Voice search is yet another significant opportunity to obtain organic search traffic. You will gain access to a new group of individuals who use smartphones and smart speakers to find businesses and make purchases using voice search.

Voice search optimization can help improve your website’s overall SEO and rating. Search engines love it when websites optimize for voice searches, which can provide your site with greater authority and hence higher rankings on results pages, if not higher rankings overall, possibly even landing in a voice search result.

Voice search optimization is the collection of methods that improve the chances of your content appearing in voice search results. The idea is to address common verbal questions in your content so that consumers can find your website in voice search results provided by voice search technology and virtual assistants.

A typical voice search starts with a word (for example, “Alexa” or “Hey Siri”), then a query or statement (for example, “What broadway plays are performing near me?” or “When are the 49ers playing the Rams?”).

The device then responds verbally or, if it has a screen, with the top results from a search engine results page. The purpose of voice search optimization is to obtain a position in this type of search.

While there is some overlap between on-page and voice search optimization, some essential characteristics of voice search distinguish it from a text search on a website like Google.com.

Voice search inquiries, in particular, are more conversational than text searches. They are more like how we speak in real life. For example, you may use a voice search, “What are some decent spas around me?” A text search query is phrased more like “live shows near me.”

As voice search became more popular, search engines became better at deciphering the meanings of longer, more conversational questions and returning relevant results. This was the birth of long-tail keywords. Google has changed the focus of the search to searcher intent, recognizing the underlying meaning of searches and offering more relevant results to more conversational voice queries.

You are now responsible for creating content relevant to voice search users. To acquire voice search traffic, you don’t need to change your current SEO strategy:

  1. Make use of schema markup.
  2. Use questions and other long-tail keywords.
  3. Make local SEO a priority.
  4. Use conversational language.
  5. Make your site mobile-friendly.
  6. Attempt to capture featured snippets from Google.
  7. Improve the speed of your website.

 

1 – Make use of schema markup.

Another strategy that enhances your site’s on-page SEO in general, as well as voice search SEO, is schema markup.

Schema markup is structured data that you can add to your website’s HTML to assist Google and other search engines in giving more detailed results. Schema markup often includes essential information about your company, such as hours, addresses, contact information, price information, reviews, and more.

Human visitors cannot see schema markup. Instead, it aids indexing bots in better understanding your material, increasing exposure in search results and increasing clicks. Because search engines will regard your site as more relevant, it will have a better chance of appearing in voice search results.

2 – Use questions and other long-tail keywords.

As previously stated, voice searches are typically phrased differently than text searches. They are more detailed, longer, and more likely to be complete queries than mere keywords. We’re used to speaking in whole sentences with greater detail than we are to typing.

This makes sense when we consider interaction cost: for most people, typing out a query takes more time and effort than saying it out loud. Because speaking is less physically and mentally demanding than typing, voice search inquiries are lengthier.

Targeting long-tail keywords, particularly question keywords, in your content is a highly effective strategy for voice search optimization. This will allow you to attract visitors who submit longer, more specific inquiries.

Long-tail keywords have three or more words and are an essential part of overall keyword optimization. Because they are more tailored to the user’s aim, they attract high-intent visitors. You can even narrow them down to be more relevant to your business (for example, “spas in the Denver region” rather than “spas”), which means less competition on the results page.

Trying to cram a slew of questions and answers into your page’s material might be problematic at times, which is why many websites include a frequently-asked-questions section or dedicated page.

An FAQ section allows you to list every frequently asked search question about your website and provide an answer that can compete for a spot in voice search results. This content type is also ideal for Google-featured snippet placement, which we’ll go over in more detail later.

Consider “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “how” questions while looking for question keywords. Include these in your page copy (for example, in an H2) and follow up with a brief, satisfying answer. After your initial response, you can go into greater detail in the body of your material.

You don’t have to rely just on intuition while looking for long-tail keywords. To locate the most relevant keywords for your target consumer, you can use one or more keyword research tools. You can also get ideas from the “similar searches” or “people also ask” areas of the Google results page to discover which questions your target audience frequently asks. Enter a search term related to your business and see what Google suggests.

3 – Make local SEO a priority.

Local SEO refers to the technique of increasing search engine presence for local businesses, usually brick-and-mortar establishments. Local SEO is critical for these firms since it targets potential clients in neighboring areas who are highly inclined to purchase. It’s also one of the most effective methods for optimizing voice search.

Consider this: When someone conducts a voice search on their smartphone, they’re probably on the go and looking for something nearby, such as a restaurant or store.

There are numerous methods for improving your local SEO, but the most crucial is to create and maintain a Google Business Profile. This is the list that displays when you search for “_______ near me.” It informs visitors of your location, contact information, hours, directions, and more.

Because voice search results frequently pull information from various profiles, your Google Business profile is helpful here. As a result, a thorough listing increases your chances of ranking for specific local voice searches.

If you haven’t already, this is one of the most beneficial actions to take for your site’s overall SEO, especially if you’re a brick-and-mortar shop. In many circumstances, your Google Business Profile is the first and only opportunity for searchers to learn about your company. Make sure that it is always correct.

4 – Use conversational language.

Voice searches are conversational. So, it would help if you give your material a conversational tone to meet readers where they are. A less formal writing style is viewed as more relevant to voice requests, in addition to feeling more natural and simpler to read.

Incorporating more conversational words (e.g., “I,” “me,” “you,” “we”) in blog articles, avoiding jargon and too technical language, and adding touches of comedy to reinforce your views are some strategies to make your material more conversational. If you must adhere to an established brand voice, make the tone of your material fall toward the more informal end of that voice.

This is not, however, a license to lower the quality of your content. Maintain a more informal writing style while ensuring that your material delights and adds value to users. Google still rewards high-quality material like this — write it (nearly) as though you were saying it aloud.

5 – Make your site mobile-friendly.

Mobile devices account for more than half of all worldwide internet traffic. If that isn’t enough to convince you that mobile optimization is crucial, consider that 27% of smartphone users utilize voice search.

Google believes mobile user experience to be essential to a good website and incorporates it into its results. To appear in both text and voice search results, use responsive design and look for other ways to make your website mobile-friendly. It’s another move toward remaining competitive in voice search.

6 – Attempt to capture featured snippets from Google.

Google highlighted snippets are small pieces of material that appear above organic search results on the Google results page. They are extracted from a web page that ranks highly for the query and, if caught, can provide a significant traffic boost. They could be presented in the form of a paragraph, a numbered or bulleted list, or another format.

This is important for voice search because if a featured snippet exists for a question, a virtual assistant will most likely interpret it as its answer. It would help if you attempted to capture the featured fragment to win the question.

Unlike a Google Business profile, appearing in a Google featured snippet cannot be guaranteed, so do your best, and do some voodoo (it may help, who knows?).

7 – Improve the speed of your website.

How much do you consider the performance of your website? Hopefully, you’ve given it some thought – it’s widely accepted that a page must load in less than two seconds before the user experience suffers.

Page load time, like mobile optimization, is a Google ranking element that influences how well your site appears in voice search results and beyond. It’s all about the experience once again: Google wants to show us results that will make us happy, and no one wants a slow website.

There are numerous ways to boost the speed of your website. To begin, we recommend using a speed-testing tool such as Website Grader to see where your site currently sits. 

 

Currently NOT indexed – Say What?

The most important news of the last month for all website traffic was the Google’s confirmation that both “Discovered – Currently Not Indexed” and “Crawled – Currently Not Indexed” Status could Last forever” in the Google Search Central. In other words, they may crawl a webpage, but they may choose not to index it and unless interdicted, they may never come back to it again.

Till now, this would have typically happened only if the Googlebot was unable to index, because your site was coded in some obsolete language, or was extremely slow, or you had no-index, or a block on the page.  As of last year, “Googlebot may decide that some crawled pages on the domain aren’t worth indexing and decides not to index them by looking for a pattern in their URL, meta-information, or content.”

The recommendation by Google is to ensure that the pages have fresh titles and fresh content.  In case of shows, here is a general example of a time when DWG helped address a title freshness issue for one of our art clients on ARTdynamix™:

The venue has a repeating annual one-day program, and chooses to promote the program by year and program name, e.g. alphabet-soup-series-2021 page and alphabet-soup-series-2022.  In this case, since the 2021 page had been crawled and the meta titles for both pages were alphabet soup series, despite clear differences in content – because some of the content was pulled from the previous year’s page -the bot chose not to index the page.

To resolve this problem, we first 301 redirected the 2021 page to the 2022 page to ensure that the appropriate information reaches the consumer.  Second, we requested an indexing of the 2022 page which took a while but was eventually done.  Once the 2022 page was indexed, we removed the 301 redirect from the 2021 page. And finally, we modified the title tag for the 2021 page, renamed it redirected the old link, and removed the duplicate content, in case the bot returns to look at these pages. Of course, the time is worthwhile to make sure the page is found!

We encourage you to use more descriptive meta titles, for example if 2021 alphabet soup series is about Diversity, Equity & Inclusion then the meta title of the Diversity-Equity-Inclusion-series page should be 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program for 2021 alphabet soup series, and for the Disability-Justice-Series page(2022 alphabet soup series)  the meta title may be Disability Justice program for 2022 alphabet soup series.

This rule is applicable if you are a presenting organization or have shows of your own and choose to have topical series included and is not necessarily the same for those membership organizations that hold annual conferences, or if you have e-commerce or content site.  Googlebot is smart enough to tell the difference and treats them differently.

But no matter what kind of site you have, at the end of the day, you should have an indexing strategy in mind, and create a well-optimized site map and avoid duplicate content.

–Nami

Credit to Google updates, think, search, and tools

Web Accessibility Update

Web accessibility is in the spotlight once again. On March 18th, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published new guidance, spurring discussions around legal requirements for web accessibility.

Here are a few takeaways and what they mean for businesses in the United States.

  1. Web accessibility is clearly a requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title III of the ADA requires any business that’s “open to the public” to make their online content and services accessible to people who rely on assistive technologies, such as screen readers, to navigate the internet.
  2. While the statement doesn’t provide a new legal standard, it points to WCAG and Section 508 Standards for technical guidance.
  3. Web accessibility is a priority. Recent settlements listed in the guidance show the DOJ’s commitment to ensuring businesses make their web content accessible to people with disabilities.

More than anything, the DOJ guidance reminds us that under the law, in our increasingly digital world, access to online content and properties is no different from access to a physical location.

If you haven’t taken any action on your site’s accessibility, or feel unsure whether your efforts are enough, please contact Dream Warrior at [email protected] and we’d be happy to discuss.

(Update from our partner Audioeye)

Mobile First…and Primary

DWG has been building and spreading the word on mobile first for a long time…remember “.mobi?”  Times have changed since then and at some point the emphasis flipped from a mobile site as an accessory to your desktop version to mobile primary. This concept is so important that we thought a refresher may be helpful. The idea is simple – the site needs to respond to the visitor and visitors are on their devices.

A few reasons:

  • It is now often your first impression.  Where do you open your emails and click links?  So do your visitors
  • Google – This isn’t a surprise or a secret especially if  you keep up on Google various email channels. If your site does not have mobile friendly interface, you will be downgraded.  Google considers mobile primary — they are not wrong.
  • Why not?  At the end of the day, all of your versions should be well-designed and fully functional.

Your visitors use your mobile first, so it should be primary to your design.

 

Communities: Ukraine

We all are part of various communities — clubs, family, neighborhoods and work.   Sometimes communities are social, purposeful, or just because there is a commonality — sometimes we help – sometimes we ask for help.

Right now one of our communities, technology experts from Ukraine, is in circumstances I can’t fully fathom but I know we should do what we can to help.  I think of all the developers and IT specialists who are unable to work right now as they are protecting their lives — but I also imagine they are wondering what will happen to their job.  The other side of this equation is the challenge this must be causing for those companies that are struggling to maintain their work, create new projects and serve their customers.

Here’s how we will help with the goal of helping Ukrainian developers be able to return to their work.

When we agree to take on a job from those in a war torn region, we ask that they return the work back to original techs once they are able to do so.  We also be proactive with the technologists pass back the work the moment they are ready.  In this way we act as a project caretaker and not a project taker.

If you need assistance whether technologist or client, let us know how  we can help during this distressing time. Let me know how we can help: [email protected]

To  my technology friends and competitors:  please think about jumping in to do the same.  Not so that we can gain work but so that we can help our communities displaced by war.

~LaMae