Based on the results of PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series poll, 71 percent of Americans would rather conduct voice searches on a smartphone or virtual assistant than type their queries. In addition, 50 percent made purchases through a voice search, and another 25 percent say they will in the future.

Consumers enjoy and use the voice search method for several reasons, the survey continues. Some of these include ease and convenience, quick response time, and personalized answers. From the Apple-backed Siri to the Windows-operated Cortana to the Amazon-powered Alexa, the world’s major tech brands jumped on the voice search trend. As an industry, voice search is projected to exceed $30 billion by 2024, estimates Global Market Insights.

As a business owner in the digital transformation era, you must optimize your website for voice search queries to stay both relevant and competitive. If you’re wondering how to optimize for voice search, just follow these seven easy steps to ensure your voice-search-loving audience finds your business’s website. 

1. Rephrase the Search Keywords into Questions

When consumers type words into a search engine, most often. they use short phrases like “furniture stores San Diego.” But people don’t talk in abbreviated terms when conducting a voice search. To make the information on your website more searchable and actionable, use long-tail keywords framed as questions in your content. For example, “What are the best furniture stores in San Diego?” Use Answer the Public as a tool to determine which questions your target consumers frequently ask.

2. Use Location-Specific Visuals, Tags, and Metadata

According to a 2018 survey from BrightLocal, 46 percent of consumers use voice search to find businesses in their area daily, and 27 percent click on the business’s website as a result of voice search. With this rise of hyper-local marketing, it’s crucial to optimize your website pages with these location-specific elements:

  • Geotag videos, images, and other multimedia featured on the website.
  • Include the region where you’re located in all content and metadata. 
  • Update your Google My Business profile with the address, phone number, and other contact information to boost localized traffic.

3. Write Your Content in a Conversational Format

Just as query results need to mimic human speech, you should write content in a conversational tone. When search engine analytics became the universal mode of website ranking, SEO keyword-driven content was the goal, but voice search now requires you to balance keyword use with natural language that informs rather than promotes. This is called Answer Engine Optimization, and it “positions content as the source for answers” in a concise, authoritative way, explains ProWritingAid.

4. Make Sure Your Website Design Is Mobile-Friendly

Since the majority of voice searches take place on smartphones and virtual assistants, your website must be configured for mobile access. In 2019, 80 percent of internet traffic and 40 percent of online transactions were mobile, points out QuoraCreative. As such, if you build a mobile responsive design, you better your chances of showing up on search engine results pages, as well as converting site visitors. In addition to making your website more visible, SWEOR reports that a seamless design on all platforms can enhance credibility, as well.

5. Earn Featured Snippets in Search Engine Results

A featured snippet is the text summary that Google pulls from a website and displays above the organic search results, along with a URL and page title. It’s ideal to rank in the featured snippet box since this is where Google extracts data from when it responds to a voice search. Out of 1.4 million queries, almost 400,000 contain a featured snippet, Perficient Digital adds. Here’s how to earn a featured snippet:

  • Create targeted Q&A pages for your website.
  • Integrate subheads, lists, and tables in the copy.
  • Develop strategic, keyword-rich content.
  • Update existing content with new, relevant data.

6. Accelerate the Loading Speed of Each Webpage

An estimated 54 percent of users leave a mobile website that spends more than three seconds loading, confirms Google. Attention span is even lower in voice searches because many people conduct them are on-the-go. Track the load time of your website with PageSpeedInsights. Then once you know its current performance, increase the speed by removing unneeded HTML, CSS, or JavaScript source code, reformat image dimensions and use a content delivery network for server optimization.

7. Take User Intent into Account with Your Content

When someone conducts a voice search and lands on your website, it’s useful to determine the query intent—do they want information, to make a transaction, or to visit a destination? This will influence how a search tool answers the question, and it enables you to provide content the target audience is likely to consume. For instance, Amazee Metrics enumerates, “Swiss chocolate” sounds informational, but “Where can I find Swiss chocolate in New York City?” reveals an intent to purchase from a local business.   

How to Optimize for Voice Search

Once you complete these steps, don’t forget to keep voice search in mind as you continue to update and optimize your website. Especially when it comes to content creation, remember those voice-search users! 

“Alexa, set a weekly reminder to monitor voice searchability of our content and website.”

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