3 Steps to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search in 2018 and Beyond
According to Google, over one-fifth of the searches on Google are voice search.
And it’s expected that by 2020 (less than 2 years from now), over half of all searches in Google will be voice activated queries.
This should make it obvious that voice search is important for any business website.
Voice search is especially relevant for local businesses since 22% of voice activated searches are for local information.
Most of these local searches come from people looking for business hours, directions, or phone #’s.
However, Google recently announced they’ve seen a 130% increase in “near me” related searches.
For example, people simply say “dentist near me” or “lawyer near me”, or even “best landscaper near me”.
And when someone speaks a query that generates a “near me” result, Google is mostly looking at the geographic location of where the person is physically located.
Since voice search is so important now, and increasingly more important in the future, how can small and local businesses optimize their website’s for voice search?
Here’s 3 simple steps to optimizing your website for voice search.
Step 1: Add question and answer based content
Add question and answer based content to your website. Think of the most common questions you hear from customers, then create new pages of content with the question at the title and answer as the content of the page.
The majority of voice activated searches are question based. People simply want their questions answered quickly and accurately. Someone will simply pull out their phone and say “ok Google, who’s the best car accident lawyer near me”? (change out “car accident lawyer” for any given business category in a local market).
And according to Thrive Analytics, this type of search behavior is increasing at a rapid pace.
Since people are searching (or speaking) questions in to Google, it makes sense that you should include a large amount of Q&A based content in your website.
One of the most prominent areas of question and answer based content have huge impacts on their presence in search is with our law firm client’s websites and search optimization strategies.
I recommend creating an FAQ page to consolidate links pointing out to all of your Q&A based content. And then I recommend creating a new page for each question and answer.
So your question would be the title of your page, and the answer would be the content published on your page. This is a very simple strategy to follow.
Then on your FAQ page, list out all of your questions, and then link that question directly to the page where you answer that question.
Want to see an example of this?
Below are some Q&A based content on our site here at Bipper Media. Notice below how I’m simply writing the question and link out to the page where the answer resides.
EXAMPLE FAQ List
Since most people using voice search are looking for answers to specific questions, having a Q&A driven content strategy like this will help your website be more optimized for voice activated searches.
For the local business, start thinking about questions you most from customers. Then start creating simple pages with the question as the title and answer as the content for that page.
I’m willing to bet that any business could easily come up with 50 questions they hear most from customers!
Step 2: Add Schema Markup to your website
Adding Schema markup to your website structures key data about your business, making it easy for search engines to crawl, index, and understand the data better for search results.
Schema markup is the future of search!
Before Schema, search engines saw nothing but text on a page and had to guess as to the context of the meaning of those words.
Schema markup helps search engines see text as data points. And when those data points get associated with other data points from both your website and throughout the website (external websites, etc…), then search engines have a much better understanding of all the relevant data points associated with your business.
Here’s some Schema markup we’ve used recently:
“additionalType”: [“http://www.productontology.org/id/Local_Business”, “http://www.productontology.org/id/Human_resource_consulting”],
“description”: “Cultivate a Company Culture Everyone Can Embrace – Even Your Employees!
Human Resources & Payroll Services
Outsourcing your HR & Payroll services to Office Synergy, LLC will help you streamline everything from welcoming your new hire to retirement. With your dedicated HR Liaison, we will deliver powerful services and expertise to help you manage your HR, Payroll, Compliance, and Personnel Issues.
Employee Management Services
Recruiting, Retention and Recognition are vital to the health of your organization! Your employees are by far your best, and most expensive, asset, Let us help you find the best and brightest for your company, how to manage them, and how to treat them well year-around.”,
“name”: “Office Synergy, LLC”,
“openingHours”: “Mo,Tu,We,Th,Fr 08:00-17:00”,
“sameAs” : [ “https://www.facebook.com/officesynergyllc”,
There’s a lot going on in here… so if you aren’t familiar with Schema at the code level, don’t let this intimidate you!
You can use a batch of code like this and simply change out the references to make them relevant for your business.
You can learn more about Schema markup and all the data types by checking out Schema.org.
Step 3: Build Location Authority for your Business
Location Authority is a simply a reflection for how well you’ll rank in search vs. any other business and within any specific geographic area. The more location authority your business has for any given geographic area, the higher you’ll rank in search and more traffic and exposure you’ll get to high quality audiences.
The way we go about building location authority for our clients is two fold:
- Verify and optimize our clients Google My Business listing
- Distribute our client’s citations at a large scale throughout the web
Verify & Optimize Google My Business
Every business that serves local customers should have a verified Google My Business listing for their business.
Here’s a simple step by step to creating and verifying a Google My Business listing (via Google Business Support):
- Go to google.com/business and click Start now at the top right corner of the page.
- Sign in to your Google Account, or create one if you don’t already use Google services.
- Enter the name of your business and click Next.
- Note: You can also select your business from the suggestions that appear as you type.
- Enter the address of your business and click Next. You may also be asked to position a marker on the location of your business on a map.
- If you manage a service-area business, follow these additional steps:
- Check the box for I deliver goods and services to my customers. Optionally, check the box for Hide my address (it’s not a store) Only show region –.
- Click Next.
- Select a delivery area option and click Next.
- If you manage a service-area business, follow these additional steps:
- Search for and select a business category and click Next.
- Enter a phone number or website URL for your business.
- To complete sign-up, verify your connection to this business by clicking Continue.
- Select a verification option.
- To verify at another time, select Try a different method and click Later. If you’re not authorized to manage the business, find the person in your organization who’s authorized and continue the process.
No matter what you see, confirm that your business information is correct. It’s important that when you verify your business information, everything is ready to appear to customers across Google.
To edit incorrect information, follow these steps:
- Click Later.
- If you manage more than one location, open the menu and click Manage locations. Then, select the location you want to edit.
- Click Info from the menu on the left side of the screen.
- Click edit next to each section you’d like to change and enter your business information.
Now that you’ve either claimed or created your listing, it’s time to verify your business. After you verify, your business information will be eligible to appear across Google.
Once you receive your verification postcard, return to google.com/business. Sign in and click Verify location from the menu (or click the Verify now button). Then follow the instructions to enter the verification code from your postcard.
The first question you might have is, what’s a citation?
Fair question… basically a citation is the complete local address and website URL for your business.
For example, here Bipper Media’s citation:
855 Gaines School Rd, Ste A
Athens, Georgia 30605
And citation distribution simply means publishing your citation throughout the web. The most authoritative citations for local SEO are those that are consistent with your Google My Business listing. The way you publish your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on external websites and directories should be an exact match to the NAP on your Google business page.
The more citations you get published throughout the web, and more relevant and authoritative the sites are where you publish those citations, the more location authority you’ll build for website (organic search) and Google My Business listing (local / Google Maps search).
Another powerful strategy for building location authority is to focus on getting citations in vertical directories. These are directories that are specific to your industry and or location.
Voice search is on the rise. More than ever, people are simply pulling out their phones and saying “ok Google…” or “hey Siri…” to get their questions answered. And this trend is only going to increase into the future.
With voice search increasing, businesses need to get onboard and get their websites optimized for this new trend in voice activated search.
Equally important, it’s important to understand that voice searches on Google are mostly relevant to local business information. This means businesses need to get their Google My Business listings optimized for Google Maps and Google local search results.
Interested in learn more about how to get your website and local presence optimized for voice search?
Get started with a free diagnosis of your business today.