Tips to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
Have you ever utilized the voice search option on your phone? If so, you’re not alone. In 2017, 40 percent of adults used voice search every day. ComScore predicts that 50 percent of all searches will be done via voice by 2020, and 30 percent will be done on screenless smart devices like Echo, Alexa, and Google Home. If you want to stay competitive, your website needs to be optimized for mobile AND voice search in order to rank on SERPs.
Current Voice Search Ranking Factors
The four most influential voice search ranking factors are secure URLs (HTTPS), pagespeed, conversational content, and domain authority. Let’s review what each of these mean for your overall online presence and the first steps you need to take to optimize your website for voice search.
HTTP vs HTTPS: What the Difference Means for Digital Marketing
HTTPS = hypertext transport protocol security. The “s” for security at the end of a URL simply means the website is secure. Without it, a site is not protected through authentication (protects against attacks), encryption (user activity cannot be tracked), and data integrity (prevents files from being corrupted).
If you collect sensitive information or payment information online – and you should, in order to offer a true digital customer experience –, it is essential to provide your customers with a secure site. Google now labels HTTP sites as insecure and warns users before the page fully loads. According to Blue Corona, 84 percent of web users would abandon a purchase if the website was not secure. HTTPS sites also load faster and are more likely to rank better.
Voice search is used almost exclusively on mobile devices. Your website must be mobile-first in order for it to load quickly via voice search. If not, users will give up and bounce back to the results page. A page that takes five or more seconds to load is 90 percent more likely to be abandoned when compared to a page that loads in just one second. According to Search Engine Land, Google has made pagespeed an explicit mobile ranking factor.
Review your current website content and ask yourself if it includes conversational language with clear and concise questions and responses. People don’t text search with questions, but they do when using voice search. Your content needs to include basic business information and then lead to content that builds your brand and services. The best way to start is to think like your customers and provide great customer service from the information you offer online. One thing to note is that voice search results tend to come from pages with a high word count, especially FAQ pages.
According to Moz, “Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score that predicts how well a website will rank on a SERP.” The score can range from one to 100, with higher scores equating to a greater ranking ability. It’s calculated from a number of factors, including linking root domains and total number of links. For voice search results, the most important factor for Domain Authority is the links you have within your page and the overall strength of the website’s domain. The average domain rating of a voice search result is 76.8; page rating is just 21.1. In a recent study, Backlinko speculated that the voice algorithm depends on domain authority, rather than individual page authority, because it can be more confident in the accuracy of domain results.
“Near Me” Search Overview (Sources: Think with Google, Geospatial World)
Searchers now expect technology to respond to any need with immediate accuracy. “Near me” searches are no longer used just to find the closest restaurant or gas station. It is used for retail, experiences, and general lifestyle purchases. This is another area where searchers have started using more conversational, question-driven language. This is partly due to the rise of voice search, and partly due to the increasing accuracy of hyperlocal results.
Mobile users in particular have stopped using location-specific tags like zip codes or neighborhood names in searches. They simply expect results to be relevant to their specific location at the time of the search. Stay up-to-date with “near me” search needs with structured SEO, online reviews, and Google’s Knowledge Panel.
Integrated Digital Advertising and Voice Search Optimization
At G5, we know how daunting the ever-changing digital landscape can be to business owners and in-house marketers. We integrate up-to-date voice search ranking factors into our innovative digital advertising and SEO strategies so that your website is always optimized.
To learn more, schedule a demo today.