SEO – How to optimise for voice control

Smart devices are all around us, and getting smarter with every update, so what do we need to do to keep up – how can developers and marketers develop campaigns with voice search in mind?
“The destiny of Google’s search engine is to become that Star Trek computer, and that’s what we are building” – the head of Google’s search rankings team said this back in 2013 and we are certainly getting closer to this.

Used on both mobile and desktop devices, as well as in smart hubs you may have in your home or office, the ability to access information through voice search is very much with us. The average person can type around 40 words per minute whereas they can verbalise around 150 words in the same time – with this in mind voice search will continue to gain popularity as the easiest method of searching, without the difficulties of typing and spelling and should therefore be a consideration when checking the optimisation of your website.

What are the advantages of Voice Search?

Convenience for the user is a major draw to Voice Search – statistics show that voice search is frequently used by those cooking, exercising or even whilst they are in the bathroom! Navigational aid requests are common, giving drivers a legal method of getting assistance and we also see the smart hubs being used for morning ‘briefings’ as users prepare for their day. Live traffic updates or the latest weather forecast allows a multi-tasking approach to preparation for the day, removing the need to stop and physically type and read such updates. Voice searches for public transport timings, cinema schedules and similar are gaining popularity, so optimising for voice is should definitely be the next step to take in digital development within these marketplaces.

So, what do I need to do?

If your site if already well-optimised for search engines, then the work needed to get optimised for voice search isn’t too overwhelming – the principle remains the same: give the user what they are looking for. User intent must be a consideration within the structure and content, making sure that the vital information, opening hours or contact details for example, is clear and easy to be ‘read’ by Google’s spiders.

What about your products and services – what questions do you get asked about these, or would you be asking if you were a potential customer? Does your website answer these? If not, it should! Think of a voice search like a conversation, with phrases or questions more likely to be searched than a keyword or two, so make sure that you provide the answers and information clearly.

We would recommend using Schema too – a mark-up language which is used to describe for search engines what specific data on your website is for; the easier you make it for Google, the more visibility it should give you. For this same reason check your Google My Business listing– anything you can add to this, do so as it all increases your value when it comes to search results. Opening hours, directions, whether you have parking available – all of these snippets of information will help you feature more prominently in both traditional search results as well as enhancing your voice search relevancy.

If we can help you optimise for voice search then please get in touch!