The Importance of Voice Search Optimization for Small Businesses

Voice search is increasingly popular in the United States. According to Oberlo, seven out of ten people prefer voice search over traditional typing.

Customers find it easier to ask Siri where they can find a product or service than to type a query into the browser. You’ll retain valuable traffic and accumulate more revenue if your website supports voice-enabled search.

If you’re a small business owner thinking about adding voice-enabled search to your business’s website, you’re in the right place.

In this article, you will find out how your business can prosper from voice search and what the best ways to optimize it are. Let’s start with the basics.

What is Voice Search?

Voice search is a technology that enables users to search the Internet, websites, or apps using voice commands instead of typing.

Google powered the first voice search that became broadly popular in 2010. Today, many IT conglomerates have their own voice assistants; for example, Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana, and Samsung has Bixby.

You can perform voice searches on mobile phones, computers, smart speakers, TVs, and home appliances, such as washing machines or microwave ovens. It supports German, French, Italian, Filipino, and many other languages besides English.

Voice recognition technology is ever-evolving and improving, becoming more accurate every time you use it.

Voice-enabled search units decode human language, relying on sophisticated artificial intelligence software, such as natural language processing (NLP).

NLP allows computers (and other smart devices) to recognize, understand, and process human language and provide the most relevant answers to their queries.

Why is the Popularity of Voice Search Growing?

It is easy to understand why voice search popularity is growing. Instead of typing search queries into the search bar, you can simply activate the voice assistant by using the phrase “Hey Siri” or “Ok, Google” and asking a question. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Voice search is conducted using natural, conversational language, and is quicker than typing keywords into the browser. For example, you’ll say, “Hey Siri, find me an Italian restaurant near me” in a second, while typing it takes longer.

People can use voice queries hands-free, which is useful when driving or having their hands busy with other responsibilities.

All in all, voice-enabled search is fun, modern, effortless, accurate, and beneficial to users; therefore, your business must become part of this trend.

Voice Search vs. Traditional Search

There is more difference between voice and traditional search besides the input method of a search query, which is the most obvious. Let’s take a look:

More Natural Search Queries

Searchers communicate more precisely when using a voice search. They use conversational phrases, aka long-tail keywords.

When typing a search query, you’ll use short phrases that don’t sound natural, for example, “Italian restaurant near me” or “Italian food in LA.” In voice queries, you’ll use complete sentences, like if you were talking to a friend: “Hey Siri, find me the nearest Italian restaurant.”

Local Character of Voice Search

Voice search has a local character and works wonderfully with local SEO.

A significant percentage of all verbal searches contain the words “near me” or “nearest,” which indicates that people are looking for a product or service in their geo-location.

Voice Search is Fast and Easy to Conduct

Voice-enabled search developers had in their minds the urge for information that searchers have while having their hands busy with other things.

We already mentioned how effortless this type of search is, but it also provides results quicker than traditional searches requiring typing on a keyboard. Another advantage is that the voice assistants will often read results, assuming you can’t.

What Steps Should a Voice Search Optimization Strategy Contain?

Hopefully, by now, you’re aware of how voice search can contribute to your business’s success. Now, let’s see how to optimize it to attract more customers:

1. Understand Search Intent

Different searchers have different search intents, and to meet their needs, you must recognize them.

There are a couple of common categories in which searchers are looking for answers: where to buy a product, a business address, directions, a phone number, and working hours.

Types of search intent are the same for voice search as for traditional:

  • Informational intent is the intent to find out information, aka learn something. It often begins with “where to” or “how to” – for example, “How to make a pizza dough.”
  • Navigational intent includes a search for a specific website. The searcher knows what they want and where to get it. For example, “Open Pizza Hut menu.”
  • Transactional intent refers to online shopping. A searcher is looking for a specific product he wants to order. For example, “Order large pepperoni pizza.”
  • Commercial intent is mainly used in the research phase when the user is not yet ready to purchase. For example, “Which pizza is the most popular.”

Get to know your customers in order to understand what they are looking for. In an ideal case, create content that will provide answers for each of these search intents.

2. Use the Right Keywords

Keywords – words people use when verbally searching the internet – are crucial for voice search optimization.

Consider words naturally coming to your mind when thinking about your product or service. How would you ask if looking for them? Include those phrases in voice optimization.

You should consider a couple of keyword categories:

  • Question keywords include words like “why,” “when,” “who,” “what,” or “how.”
  • Long tail keywords include words with a geographical or temporal reference like “near me” or “tonight” – for example, “Where can I find an Italian place for dinner tonight.”
  • Filler words make your sentence sound complete, but search engines prioritize keywords relevant to the search. Some of the filler or stop words are “an,” “for,” “on the,” “to,” and similar.

You can use the Answer the Public tool to gather keywords relevant to your business to discover what people are asking about.

Simply enter a topic, brand, or product, choose your country and language, and press the button “search.” For example, for the quest “Italian restaurant,” there are 59 question results categorized by question keywords. Some of them are:

  • What Italian restaurants are near me?
  • Where are Italian restaurants near me?
  • Which Italian restaurant in Epcot is better?

Search this tool to find inspiration for your business.

3. Prioritize natural language in your writing

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to use natural language for voice search optimization.

When conducting a voice search, users will talk to their smart device like they would talk to a friend or any other person. They won’t use short phrases like “pizza near me.” They will instead use complete sentences: “Hey Siri, find me a pizzeria near me.”

When creating content, include natural, conversational language in it. Try to answer as many questions as possible, so voice-enabled search can provide the information users are looking for.

4. Create FAQ Page

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages answer the most common user questions. If you include one on your website, you might be able to answer some of the voice queries since most of them are in the form questions.

Try to include question keywords (what, when, why, who, and how) in the FAQ and provide helpful answers to your audience to gain value, trust, and authority.

If you’re a beginner, research competition FAQs. A FAQ should contain answers to the questions you hear the most about your product or service. This page also increases your chances of ending up in the holy grail of rankings: featured snippets.

5. Use Schema Markup

Schema Markup is a code search engine crawlers use to understand your website’s content. Installing the Schema Markup add-on makes it easier for Google to understand what your pages are about.

In return, Google will index them faster and rank higher in search results pages. The schema will positively affect voice search since the visibility of your website will increase.

6. Optimize for mobile search

According to Google, “27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile”. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it will negatively affect the user experience (UX). You must provide an enjoyable UX for all voice search supporting devices.

To optimize for mobile searches, follow these steps:

  • Create mobile responsive pages
  • Provide good readability by creating shorter blocks of content.
  • Optimize images.
  • Stick to intuitive navigation and simple design.
  • Check (and improve if needed) your site’s loading speed.

Check your content on different devices to ensure it provides a consistent UX.

7. Optimize the Speed of Your Website

Voice search is all about speed, and if your website requires a lot of time to load, users will end up frustrated. Desired loading speed is 1-2 seconds; everything above that negatively affects user experience.

Don’t forget that loading speed is one of Google’s ranking factors for mobile and desktop search engine results. Optimize the speed of your website and boost your chances for a good ranking position.

Need Help with Voice Search Optimization?

Voice-enabled search is a growing trend and an excellent opportunity for businesses of all kinds and sizes, especially small ones, who cannot allow themselves to lose valuable leads and customers.

This innovative search type is closely related to SEO since they use similar content optimization practices to achieve better visibility and engagement rates.

Have we answered all your questions about voice search optimization? If you want to find out more or to get a personalized voice optimization strategy, contact the San Diego SEO service to get the answers and solutions you’re looking for.