Due to the prevalence of smart devices, voice searches are becoming increasingly common. Leading market researchers believe that voice searches will account for between 30 and 50 percent of all searches by 2020. That is simply too large a market share to ignore. In order to take advantage of this segment of the market, businesses need to optimize their landing pages for voice searches. A voice engine optimization strategy is designed to do precisely this.
The Challenges of Voice Engine Optimization
The main challenge of voice engine optimization is that voice searches return fewer results than traditional web searches. Instead of returning a full page of results, voice searches usually return either the top three results or only one top result. Additionally, search engines like Google adjust the order of the results based on different parameters when responding to a voice search than when responding to a traditional text search.
Most Important Parameter: Load Speed
The load speed of your website has an undue influence on how high you rank in a voice search. Mobile users expect fast results and search engines acquiesce to that expectation. The less time your site takes to load, the better your ranking will be. The average load time for a mobile site is a shockingly slow 15 seconds. You should make every effort to half that, at the very least. The absolute best sites have a load time of about 3 seconds.
Long Tail Keywords
Research shows that the vast majority of voice searches are phrased as a question. Very few simply search for keywords, as is common for traditional text searches. Because most voice searches are phrased as a question, long tail keywords are extremely effective. If your landing page uses a long tail keyword that precisely matches the exact question being asked, you are almost certain to be in the top 3 results. Determining what long tail keywords are best is a long process that requires a lot of testing to fully optimize. But the time spent should pay off in more hits and a higher conversion rate.
Answering the Right Questions
Determining exactly how the search question will be asked can be very difficult. However, determining how to answer the question, even if you don't know exactly how the question is phrased, should be a lot easier. For example, it doesn't matter whether someone asks, "Where is the best nearby place to buy turnips?" or "Where is the best turnip sale in my town?" If your content presents itself as selling turnips for the lowest price in the area and provides all location information for your business, both queries are likely to be directed to your site.
In general, optimizing for voice searches involves creating content that answers the questions you think customers will ask. Like choosing long tail keywords, this requires some research, but getting profitable results usually takes less time. Answering the right questions isn't quite as effective at improving your search rank as using the right long tail keywords, but it is equally important.
One of the best ways to ensure you are answering the right questions is to make sure that your business data (name, address, and phone number) are up-to-date at all times, since this is something almost all customers want to know about you.
Never Stop Optimizing
Voice engine optimization is not a one-time thing. You need to constantly be optimizing, even once you are getting good results. By regularly testing your results, you can determine if even more optimizations exist or whether changing trends require adjustments of your website content. Also, as technology improves, you will need to keep up with those changes or fall behind competitors.