Optimize Your Website And Domain Name For Voice Search
In collaboration with our friends at ShortDot SA.
One of the hottest topics doing the rounds in the world of technology and marketing is voice search and how websites optimize for it. In a 2013 interview, Google's Head of Search Rankings, Amit Singhal, said, "The destiny of Google's search engine is to become that Star Trek computer, and that's what we are building."
While Google has done a stellar job of embedding voice search with their smart home and Android handheld devices, Apple's introduction of Siri in 2011 set the bar for voice search applications. Since then, voice search has grown from a novelty, into a common aspect of daily life.
Virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Assistant have cropped up, making voice search simple and helpful. The result, a drastic increase in voice search popularity. In fact, a 2019 Statista report indicates an estimated 3.25 billion digital voice assistants are being used in devices worldwide.
The same report forecasts that by 2023 the number of digital voice assistants will reach around eight billion units – a number higher than the world's current population. There are over 110 million virtual assistant users in the United States alone, and a study by Google says 27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile. These statistics are a strong indication of the rising popularity of voice search and why your website should optimize for it. But let's dial things back by first understanding what voice search is.
What Is Voice Search?
Simply put, voice search implies searching for information on the Internet or an app through spoken voice commands. Different devices use different techniques to trigger a voice search request. For instance, a user must say "Hey Siri" to initiate a voice search on an Apple device, whereas "OK Google" does the trick on Android and other Google devices.
Voice search uses natural language processing and speech recognition to understand spoken words and deliver relevant results. As a bonus, voice search increases your website's accessibility. From differently-abled to those who have language restrictions – voice search can help drive more potential prospects to your website.
Features Of Voice Search
Search engines like Google and Bing are highly emphasizing voice search optimizations. To understand how to optimize your website for voice search, let's first examine the unique characteristics of voice search.
1. Voice Search Requests Are Longer Than Text Searches
Typically speaking, voice search requests are longer and more conversational. If you wanted to buy men's jeans online, you would type 'buy men's jeans online.' However, for the same voice search query, you'd say, 'Show me the best deals on men's jeans online.'
Ideally, you should include relevant longtail keywords and question phrases as part of your website content and meta descriptions. Refer to tools like AnswerThePublic, StoryBase, SEMrush, and Google Keywords Planner to integrate the most relevant phrases and words as part of your website content.
2. Voice Search Works Well For Local Businesses
Google's "near me" search results are increasing by the day. According to HubSpot, there has been a 200% increase for phrases like "now" + "near me." For example, "coffee shops open near me now." HubSpot also indicates growth of 900% for phrases like "near me tonight/today." For example, "clubs near me tonight."
Given the massive search potential for local businesses, it is essential to integrate the right keywords. Here's how you can do that:
- Include relevant phrases and words that people use to describe your city or your neighbourhood.
- Add the phrase "near me", "now", "near me now", "tonight", "today", etc. in your title tags, meta description, internal hyperlinks, and anchor text.
- Mention names of landmarks around your business location or the titles of local institutions that are relevant to your business.
3. Voice Search Queries Have A Clear And Immediate Intent
People who use voice search have a clear and almost immediate intent when searching for services or products. For instance, a person looking for a shoe store via voice search will immediately contact the nearest shoe store compared to someone who is browsing through various websites online.
To ensure your business is optimized for voice search, it's imperative to have several positive reviews and high ratings. Also, update your office hours, contact details, and physical address so Google can list you on top of the voice search results for relevant queries.
How To Optimize Your Website For Voice Search?
As mentioned above, users who use voice search are highly likely to complete an action such as purchasing a product or visiting a store. The following tips will help you optimize your website for voice search:
1. Register A Clean, Clear, and Clutter-Free Domain Name
A great way to win at voice search is to register a short, meaningful, and memorable domain name for your website. A snappy domain name makes it easier for people to search for you on the Internet, and this makes it easier for them to reach your website or get information about your business with ease.
A domain name like corporate.bond is more comfortable to say and understand as compared to corporate-bonds.com. When someone performs a voice search query like "I want to know more about corporate bonds," virtual assistants will show your website as a relevant result. This is because your domain name doubles up as the anchor text and longtail key phrase that includes "corporate bonds."
New domain extensions like .BOND, .ICU, and .CYOU offer businesses the chance to register contextual and catchy domain names with ease. New domain extensions help new businesses build a formidable online presence and optimize for SEO and voice search.
Granted that your domain name alone will not help you win at voice search, you will need to optimize content by studying which questions, phrases, and keywords are most relevant to your industry. However, a clean, clutter-free domain name with the right keywords will play a crucial role in helping your website rank higher for specific voice search requests.
2. Ensure Your Website Loads Quickly
When it comes to ranking search results, voice search works a lot like traditional search engine optimization. Google voice search and other search engines favour websites that load quickly. To ensure that your website ranks for voice search results, make sure:
- Your site is responsive and works well on all device types.
- All images, icons, logos are optimized.
- All documents and multimedia files are compressed.
- You're utilizing website caching to improve page speed.
Wordpress and Weebly offer numerous responsive website themes. Even Google recommends adopting a responsive website design. You can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to check your website's responsiveness and if it complies with Google's requirements.
3. Use The Right Keywords and Focus On Local Searches
As mentioned in the section above, it helps to use relevant phrases, keywords, and questions in your website content. Create content that is more conversational in nature. Make the most of your FAQ page and blog by including relevant content that people are genuinely asking about. These pages are also a great place to include longtail keywords and phrases.
4. List Your Business On Google
Voice search is best used for local businesses. To make searching for your website an easy activity, it is imperative to claim your Google My Business listing. For your Google listing to deliver results, it is essential to spell out your business name, office address, email address, and phone number. It is also necessary to select the right business category. Choosing the wrong business category can result in your business appearing at the bottom of the search results.
Investing time and effort to optimize your website for voice search will help improve brand awareness for your business and to drive traffic to your website. By optimizing your site for voice search, you'll be ahead of your competition in the long run. The tips mentioned above will surely help to optimize your website for the era of voice search.