How to Optimize Your Product Page for Voice Search
May 14, 2019
May 14, 2019
Just when you think you’ve got your site optimized to rank at the top of search engine results, things are changing.
Changing in a monumental way.
Voice search is becoming the new norm, with Google estimating that 50% of searches will be done by voice by 2020.
Whether people are talking into their smartphone, their tablet or their personal virtual assistant, voice search is turning Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on its head.
Just because you’ve done everything you need to do to for SEO, you haven’t necessarily handled voice SEO.
You want to make sure potential customers find your site when searching for products or services, and increasingly they are doing it by voice search.
By understanding this and executing our tactics, your business will be a step ahead of the competition.
So let’s dig into how to optimize your product page for voice search.
Understanding Voice Search
Let’s start by understanding voice search, also known as conversational search.
Voice search utilizes technology known as speech recognition to understand the user’s query, and then find an online match via search that matches the question.
If the user is on a smartphone or tablet, the results will appear as webpages, giving the user options to click on what appears as the top search results.
Virtual assistants, however, read an answer to the search; there is no list because “they” choose what “they” believe is the best answer to the question.
The rise in popularity of assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod, as well as Siri on Apple’s mobile devices, means more and more people are using voice search and having the answers read to them. Windows has added the assistant Cortana into Windows 10.
According to Voicebot, the number of smart speaker owners in the U.S. rose 40% in 2018 to 66.4 million. There are now 133 million total smart speakers in use. Amazon Echo (powered by Alexa) has a 61% market share followed by Google Home at 24%.
As well, the ownership of these assistants is creating an increase in the use of voice assistants on smartphones, too. If you use Alexa, you’ll use Siri on your iPhone.
It’s clear that voice search is not a fad. They’re in homes to stay, and trends indicate their popularity and use will only increase.
How Voice Queries Impact Search Results
It’s important to understand the factors that impact results for voice search. To do that, think about how you would ask a question compared to typing in a query.
Let’s use an example.
I want to find the best place to eat burgers in my home city of XYZTown. I might type in “burgers XYZTown.”
But if I’m talking to my smart speaker or virtual assistant, I say: “What is the best burger place in XYZTown?”
Keywords alone won’t cut it, for a few reasons.
Voice searches tend to be longer than traditional searches, but not too long. Google’s voice search, for instance, favors answers averaging around 29 words per result. Google also tends to extract answers from longer content.
Also, the content also has to be easy-to-read, so that assistants are able to comprehend the answer. The ideal content is at an average level of 9th grade.
Finally, voice search tends to be used more often for local searches, and therefore will more often be location specific. I won’t be searching for burger places, I’ll be searching for burger places in XYZTown. That makes location signals important aspects of your optimization efforts.
5 Steps to Optimize for Product Search
Now you understand why preparing your business site for voice search is so important, and why it’s different than traditional web searches.
Let’s get down to the tactics that will set you apart from your competition.
- Research Keywords
Keywords are still important, but are different for voice search. Virtual assistants will often bypass the results and instead direct the searcher to a product’s action.
Using the example of a burger restaurant, a user may state: “Order burgers.” Rather than recite the list of all the burger restaurants in the area, like a traditional web search, a virtual assistant may read out the nearest burger restaurant that delivers to the user’s address.
Therefore, you need to research all the search terms that users may ask that can be answered by your website. Build a list of keywords that have brought customers to your site, and turn them into questions.
Then “order burgers” becomes “what is the best burger place in XYZTown?”
- Build an Effective Q&A Page
You need a Q&A page, and there are several facets of an effective one for voice search.
First, the basic questions of who-what-when-where-why-how need to be part of the content. Isolating those snippets of information allows smart speakers to answer questions quickly. If your page is the fast answer to a problem, you will be found. Your page will be the answer when asked: “Where is the best burger place in XYZTown?”
Another facet of an effective FAQ page is the use of long-tail keywords. Think about what questions you, or your customer service reps, are often asked about your business, your products or your services.
That could be questions like:
- “What kind of beef makes a burger special?”
- “What’s the best kind of cheese on a beef burger?”
- “What is a veggie burger made with?”
Such frequently asked questions share valuable content that also provide answers in a format that a smart speaker will be looking for when searching. Phrase all the questions in the first person, as a person might ask them, with short, informative answers.
Make sure the keywords are genuinely conversational.
“Burgers in XYZTown” becomes:
- “What burger restaurant offers delivery in XYZTown?”
- “Where can I go for the best burgers in XYZTown?”
- “What restaurants that are near my home make a delicious veggie burger?”
- “What burger restaurants that offer delivery have a gluten-free bun?”
Content focused on answering questions will truly address user intent. Potential customers will reach your site because your content is relevant to their question.
- Make Use of Lists and Tables
Content with lists, bullet points, highlights and tables will help search platforms understand the content and use them to provide answers to questions asked by users.
This type of page organization also makes the site more readable. It will allow readers to scan the page, and possibly stay to engage with the product instead of leaving the site.
- Aim to Appear in the “Snippet”
The “snippet” or answer box is what often appears at the top of a Google search. A special featured answer appears in a snippet block at the top of the results page. This includes a summary of the answer that has been pulled from a website, plus the page title, URL and a link to the page.
The best way to appear in the snippet is to ensure your page provides the best answer to the user’s question. Aim to optimize for the snippet box by:
- Building content in short paragraphs that are easy to understand.
- Including lists that are also easy to understand.
- Including a “how to” guide or answering questions on the page.
- Having good SEO and rankings. You need to have good organic search rankings to appear at the top of the results page.
- Optimizing content for long-tail, questioning keywords.
- Optimize for Local Results
Voice search tends to be used more often for local searches, which is also true for searches on mobile devices, so update your local listing and develop a “Google My Business” for your website.
This is important.
People will often search using the name of a city, particularly if they plan to visit it.
But people also do local searches by asking about burger places “near me.” The addition of the phrase “near me” activates Google to track the user’s location and send the Google voice search to Google business listings.
Ensure your business name is up-to-date and also include the email address, physical address if relevant, and phone number. This helps your site rank high in local search.
You should also focus on local content, including with title tags and meta descriptions. And as always, be sure your site is mobile-friendly, since mobile devices are often used for local searches.
Technology continues to evolve. The adoption of virtual assistants or smart speakers will only increase. Voice search over mobile will also continue to expand.
Using our 5 key tactics, you will be able to optimize your site for voice search. The first result is what matters, so enhancing your SEO efforts for voice will put you ahead of your competition.
Develop your conversational format and include what users will be asking. Make sure your business name is the answer when users say: “Hey Alexa, what’s the best burger place in XYZTown?”
Author Bio: Danielle Canstello is party of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics. They provide enterprise level analytics and bi software. In her spare time, she writes around the web to spread her knowledge of the marketing, business intelligence and analytics industries.