How to Optimize your Website for Voice Search

January 19, 2021

5 Minute Read

Voice search is quickly becoming an integral element of web browsing. It’s currently the preferred search method for more than 110 million internet users in the United States.  The simplicity and convenience of voice search is making it popular among all generations from X to Z.

Voice search optimization is no longer a nice option. It’s a necessity. Business owners who fail to do it risk staying behind the competition.

Let’s take a closer look at how to optimize the website for voice search to keep it on the top spots of SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

1. Optimize Your Content for the Featured Snippet

More than 40% of all voice search answers come from the featured snippet. Appearing on top of the SERPs, the featured snippet generally contains a concise yet descriptive answer to a user’s query. Google tends to pull answers from the snippet since its format is perfect for voice search users, who are usually pressed for time.

  • Always create content with featured snippets in mind.
  • Format the structure of your content properly (H1,H2,H3, etc.).
  • Use bullet points.
  • Give concise answers to your audience’s potential questions.
  • Use your audience’s language.
  • Create a FAQ section (a question immediately followed by a high-quality concise answer increases your chances of appearing in the snippet).
  • In one article, answer several similar questions.

Besides making your website more optimized for voice search, appearing in the featured snippet can help you reach lead generation and conversion goals.

2. Dig Deeper into Mobile Optimization

According to Google, 27% of the global population uses voice search on mobile. To optimize the website for voice search, it’s imperative to pay attention to mobile-friendly content with a mobile-first approach:

  • Build a responsive website.
  • Structure your content to appear organic on a small screen.
  • Include a summary on the top of each post.
  • Optimize images and videos for mobile viewing.

In addition, in 2021, Google is implementing a mobile-first indexing tactic, thus making mobile optimization mandatory for any website that aims at top of the SERPs.

3. Work on Page Load Speed

The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds (that’s 52% faster than an average page). To optimize your website for voice search, it’s imperative to reduce the loading time.

  • Optimize image and video size.
  • Remove unnecessary plugins (they can slow down the loading process).
  • Put the website’s JS and CSS in external files.
  • Avoid redirects.
  • Reduce cookie size and eliminate unnecessary cookies.
  • Minimize HTTP requests.
  • Review your hosting options.

Short loading time will also help your website achieve higher rankings. In May 2021, Google’s Core Web Vitals will become a ranking factor. According to them, the acceptable page loading time is 2.5 seconds.

4. Transform Queries into Questions

For regular searches, you optimize content according to queries. When typing a query, the user is likely to write something like “Seafood restaurant near me.” When using voice search, the same user would ask “Where is the nearest seafood restaurant?”

It’s imperative to keep this in mind when creating content for your website. If you insert these types of questions into articles, FAQ sections, and other text, your website is likelier to appear on top of the voice search than the one that contains queries.

You should also research and implement long-tail keywords. Users are much more likely to use conversational keywords when speaking than when typing.

5. Secure Your Website

If you haven’t done it already, it’s time to purchase an SSL certificate for your website. According to Backlinko, 70.4% of voice search result pages are HTTPS websites.

Google made HTTPS a ranking factor back in 2014. However, more than 45% of websites still don’t have SSL certificates. Make sure yours isn’t among them. Implementing HTTPS increases your website’s chances of appearing on both regular and voice search results.

6. Simplify Content Language

When internet users take advantage of voice search, they are generally in a hurry. Most likely, your website visitors don’t have time to deal with complex language, long sentences, and bulky paragraphs.

The average Google voice search result is written at the 9th-grade level. Since a user is essentially having a conversation with a device, conversational language works best.

7. Build Domain Authority

Just like with regular SEO, domain authority can help optimize your website for voice search. Domains with high authority tend to produce voice search results much more often than non-authoritative domains.

  • Work on your backlinking strategy to create a strong link profile
  • Run a link audit and remove bad links from your profile
  • Improve your on-page SEO efforts (titles, descriptions, headings, internal links, etc.)
  • Enhance your technical SEO
  • Work on the page loading time

To make sure the user receives valuable information, the voice search algorithm is likely to rely on domain authority even more than it does on page authority.

8. Create FAQ Pages

Besides helping your website appear in the featured snippet, FAQ pages by themselves can help it show up on voice search results. The typical questions voice searchers ask to begin with:

  • Who
  • Why
  • How
  • Where
  • What
  • When

Generally, they need a simple answer that fulfills an immediate requirement. On your FAQ page, try to add questions that begin with the above adverbs. Keep these answers concise ye conversational. The typical voice search result is only 29 words long.

9. Optimize Your Website for Local Search

Many users take advantage of voice search to find local businesses. To appear on voice search results, you need to:

  • Write local content with local keywords in mind.
  • Keep Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, and similar listings updated.
  • Use local reviews on your website.

In short, optimize your website for local SEO. It will help achieve your voice search optimization goals.

Pro tip: Your business doesn’t have to be local to produce local content.

The Takeaway

Voice queries are taking over the world of online searching. To keep your market share, it’s imperative to optimize your website for voice search as soon as possible. Many voice search optimization techniques overlap with standard SEO tactics. However, some of them need a special approach.

Voice search is revolutionizing the way we interact with the web. The time has come to get your website optimized for voice search if you have not done so already! For more information, please contact us at any convenient time.

Adam Woodburn - SEO Analyst

Adam Woodburn

As one of our SEO Analysts, Adam may very well be the Poster Child for BFO. He is pretty much a compilation of what our company stands for – charismatic, passionate, creative, bold, energetic, flexible and FUN! With 14 years of digital marketing experience under his belt and a personality that lights up the room, (including the time he dressed up as Cindy Lou Who for our holiday e-card video), Adam makes us all happy to be at BFO and so very happy to have him in our midst.