Is your website voice-search friendly?
According to a speech given by Behshad Behzadi, Principal Engineer at Google Zurich, at SMX West, voice search is the fastest growing type of search. In 2014, Google estimated that 55 per cent of teenagers use voice search, and 41 per cent of adults talk to their mobile devices on a daily basis.
This number is growing and as a local and online business owner and digital marketer, you should be responding. Alter your website design and make your website “voice search friendly” or risk being left behind.
How Voice Search is Changing SEO
Data shared by Timothy Tuttle from MindMeld showed that voice enquiries jumped from zero to 50 billion searches every month in 2015. In May 2016, Google CEO Sundar Pinchai announced that 20 per cent of enquiries on Android devices and Google’s mobile apps are voice searches. This makes the fact that voice search is actively changing SEO’s future more obvious.
1. Switching the focus to mobile
Since most voice searches are done using smartphones, your WordPress website should first be mobile-friendly. You can check it by taking this Google mobile-friendly test. Once your website passes this test, you then have to ensure that your content is optimised for mobile devices.
Lastly, your pages should load fast. You can improve page speed by compressing the images uploaded on your site. By following this simple guide, the likelihood of your web page popping up when a mobile user asks questions on their smartphones increases.
2. The use of natural speech patterns
When mobile users search for something online through the regular search box, they tend to type short phrases. For example, if they’re interested to know where the nearest coffee shop in Wallsend, Newcastle is, chances are they’ll type: coffee shop wallsend.
This isn’t the case when they utilise voice search, though. It’s highly likely that they’ll ask the complete enquiry (Where’s the nearest coffee shop in Wallsend?). For this reason, it’s crucial that you pick up on mobile users’ natural speech patterns.
Use tools like Rank Tracker. Include conversational content in your blog posts and social media posts. You can do that by providing real answers to “who, what, where, why, and how” enquiries. By incorporating these voice search SEO strategies into your WordPress website, you can outrank your competitors.
Have you noticed how voice enquiries are more location-focused than typed enquiries? This means that your website should be setup correctly for local search. You can start by registering your business with Google My Business. Provide your business’ most updated details and upload at least five professional photos. Make your web design appealing to the eyes so customers will more likely leave reviews on your website. Fact: The number of reviews is crucial in ranking in Google’s local pack and you want more of them (especially the positive ones!) on your site to get ahead of your competitors.
Adding Voice Search Capability to WordPress
Voice search is the new cool. It gives mobile phone users the opportunity to search for just about anything online while hands-free. It makes multitasking easy. More importantly, doesn’t it feel awesome to talk to Siri and Google Now and get sensible answers back?
Yes, it does, and your website visitors surely feel the same way. This is why it’s crucial to bring voice search functionality to your WordPress website. Here’s how:
- Search for the “Voice Search” plugin on WordPress. Install then activate the plugin.
- Go to your WordPress admin area. Navigate to Appearance then Widgets.
- Add the default WordPress search widget to your sidebar.
Once done, visit your website to see if it will display a microphone icon in the WordPress search box. If it does, it means your visitors can now use voice search. It’s that easy!
Embracing Change: Embracing Conversational Search
While Google doesn’t penalise websites for not being voice search friendly, you’ll get ahead of the competition by incorporating voice search strategies. This way, you’re not only catering to the needs of your ‘typer’ customers but to your ‘talker’ customers, as well.
Ready to add this feature to your website? Talk to our web designers at Jezweb today!