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How-to 8 min read November 11, 2019

What you need to know when optimizing your website for voice search

Автор статьи о продвинутых инструментах Serpstat
Darya Kalinskaya
Editor at SEOnews
For many years, voice search has been at the top of the most popular search tools worldwide. And if you think that your audience is too old or young for this, then you are very mistaken: more than half of users in all age groups make voice queries at least once a day.
So if you have a website, and your potential customers have a mobile phone and a tongue, it's time to learn how to optimize a website for voice search.

Why is voice search actually important?

The study conducted by Stone Temple found that in 2019, voice search ranked a confident fourth among the most preferred search tools. The result is worse than last year, and nevertheless, it is more than 50% of all respondents.
Voice search popularity on the mobile devices
According to PwC, 71% of respondents prefer to enter voice queries rather than traditionally type them with their hands. 65% of respondents aged 25 to 49 use voice technology at least once a day which is unexpectedly higher than that of the generation of 18-24-year-olds (59%) which is considered to be the driver of these technologies.
Voice search across different age groups
Back in 2016, Internet Trends noted in their study that 22% of local business queries came from voice search.

Three main differences between a voice search and a regular one

#1

Long queries

Entering long, detailed queries manually is time-consuming, but saying them aloud is easy. If text queries most often contain 2-3 words, the voice query consists of 3-5 words and most often they have a "long tail".
Average query length for voice search
#2

Question words

People often use voice search on the go to quickly find a place or solution. Therefore, from year to year, the presence of question words in them only increases.
Question words in the search queries
An interesting fact: marketers note that, depending on the question word used, the user's interest in the desired product/service and, the willingness to perform the target action will differ, respectively.

For example, a person, who is interested in how to do something, will be "colder" than someone who is looking for where to do it.
#3

Local content

Once again: 22% of users turn to voice search on mobile devices when they search for information about local businesses. These are "near me" queries that are familiar to everyone, whose share has grown for events, for example, by 500% between 2015–2016 and 2017–2018. So if you have a local business, voice search is a must-have.
Local search popularity for voice queries

How to prepare a website for voice search

A study by the Backlinko team showed that Google prefers to give specific answers to voice queries right in the search results. Such a response block typically contains approximately 30 words.
Google Knowledge graph
You can use several options to help the search engine select the information on your website that is suitable for responding to a specific query.

FAQ

How to help the search engine respond to a user? Of course, create a section with frequently asked questions and answers to them. Indeed, according to statistics, the search results to voice queries are 1.7 times more often generated from FAQ pages compared to conventional search results.

Rich snippets

40.7% of responses to voice queries are in rich snippets. So take care of the structured markup design on your website. This is especially important for smart speakers: both Google Home and Amazon Echo only read out one answer. And the user will not be able to view other options like in mobile search results. Google's Structured Data Markup Helper can help you generate rich snippets.

Natural language and long texts

We have already said that voice queries are longer and colloquial in comparison with regular ones. Therefore, follow what your mobile audience is looking for and use the appropriate phrases in the texts (often these will be low-frequency queries). This can be done using well-known tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs or Serpstat.

If you're already scrolling through your mind how monstrously bloated your site will be because of pages optimized for hundreds and thousands of long, natural queries, then don't do that. Write longreads; it's fashionable, and even in them, you can give answers immediately to dozens of queries or even more with the proper level of imagination. And create the "Blog" section on your website as it is appropriate in any industry.

By the way, a study conducted by Backlinko showed that less than 2% of all voice search results contain an exact keyword in the Title.

Website loading speed

People often send voice queries from mobile devices literally on the go, so they don't have time to wait two to three seconds while the page is loading. According to Backlinko, the optimal loading time of the page optimized for voice search is 0.54 seconds.

The easiest way to find out how your website is doing in terms of the speed and what needs to be improved is to go to Google PageSpeed Insights.
Site loading speed check via Google PageSpeed Insights

Domain Authority

Western webmasters believe that the Ahrefs Domain Rating indicator affects the website getting into the search results of voice queries. The optimal DR value is 77 and higher, according to Backlinko.

This is a high value; in order to achieve it, you need to constantly develop the resource, you need to at least fill it with high-quality unique content, work with the link mass. No one has forgotten about the website age, although it is much more difficult to influence this indicator.

Company cards

If you have a local business and you still haven't got a card in Google My Business, do it at least for the voice search. Specify the correct business category, write down the address, phone number, and working hours. This will significantly increase your chances of appearing in search results for a hyperlocal voice query.
Local business and voice search in Google
If you already have company cards, do not forget to keep them alive: add relevant photos and work with reviews. Remember that rating stars are also displayed in the results and may affect the user's decision.

Website video

Google often displays an extended video block in response to natural queries. Make videos that respond in detail to popular user queries, provide them with extended description and post them on your website. This will give another chance to be above the search results.

Conclusion

If you approach the development of your website responsibly, then in general, it is already prepared for voice search. Above, we only talked about the main points which you need to focus on for the successful promotion. They are the following:
1
Create the "FAQ" section.
2
Fill the resource with content that answers user questions and is focused on long-tail queries.
3
Work on the structured data markup.
4
Increase the website loading speed.
5
Increase the domain authority.
6
Optimize your website for local search results, particularly using Google My Business.
7
Add videos to your website.

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