How to Optimize Your Site for Voice Search (VEO)
For years, we’ve all been optimizing our websites based on what people type into a search engine. We look at the keyword planner to see how people are typing search queries in, and then use those phrases to match the content we publish. A couple of years ago, people started to open up to voice search thanks to Siri and Google. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but as time went on, people got the hang of it and started using it more and more.
Fast forward to the last year, many more people are using it, and it’s not just for fun anymore. They use it to search while walking, driving, or just lounging on the couch watching the game so they don’t have to take their eyes off the screen.
Websites no longer are just ranked for search queries people are typing in, but instead for what people are saying into their mobile devices. This change in the way people are searching means marketers need to optimize our sites for voice search.
How to Optimize a Site for Voice Search
First things first, don’t stop implementing SEO best practices to rank on Google’s search engine results pages. You still need this because text-based searches still make up the majority of searches and will for quite some time. To broaden your reach, implement voice search engine optimization (VEO). To do this, you need to add information to your site to make it more accessible to that type of search.
Add Structured Data
Google has been pushing webmasters to use structured data for a while now, and one reason is because of voice search. Information included in structured data can be more easily accessed by voice search to find answers to questions people ask.
Structured data can be added to your website using schema or JSON. Google recommends JSON, which requires a bit of coding skills. If you’re not comfortable adding or editing code on your website, then I strongly recommend hiring an expert to implement structured data on your website.
Publish Answers to Questions
Most people who use voice search ask questions. That’s why a great tactic is to add an FAQ section to your website where you answer frequently asked questions about your product or service. This information is exactly what prospective customers are asking, so it’s highly relevant and more likely to be used as the answer.
Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly yet, then this needs to be No. 1 on your priority list.
Many people who use voice search are on their mobile device and in case you haven't heard the big news, Google is moving to a Mobile First Index. That means if your website is not mobile-friendly, then you will be at a severe disadvantage in the voice search results.
Voice search is growing in popularity every day, and to stay ahead of your competitors, it’s important to set up your website to provide searchers with answers to their questions. This means adding structured data to your site’s content, adding new content that answers questions, and making sure your site is mobile friendly.
By taking the time now to cater to all users (desktop, tablet, mobile, digital assistant), you will be able to take advantage of not only text-based searches, but voice ones too.
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Related story: An Introduction to Voice Engine Optimization (VEO)
Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.