How to Optimise Your Website for Voice Search

Voice search is one of the top web development trends for 2020. If your website isn’t optimised for voice search, you’ll miss out on traffic. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to optimise your site for voice search.

What Is Voice Search?

Voice search means that you can carry out a web search just by speaking into your device. Think about the last time you asked Siri or Alexa to look something up on the Internet; that was a voice search. 

There are a number of ways to perform a voice search. You could ask a question (‘Siri, what’s the capital of Colombia?’), look for specific information (‘What was the score of the last rugby game?’), run a program or application (‘Alexa, play my Wintertime playlist’), search for content in video or audio files, or ask your smartphone to call someone. 


Why Is Voice Search More Important Than Ever?

More and more people are using their mobile devices to search on the go. In July 2019, Adobe released survey data that shows that 48 per cent of consumers are performing voice searches for general queries. 

Not all websites are optimised for voice search, though. If your website isn’t optimised, people will turn to your competitors because they will find them first. 


What Does Website Optimisation Mean? 

‘Website optimisation’ is the web development industry’s way of saying that a website has been changed for the better. A website can be optimised in a number of ways: for usability, for discoverability, and for accessibility. 

Optimising your site for voice search involves making several changes so that your site is more discoverable by major search engines. 


What Do You Need to Do to Optimise Your Website for Voice Search?

There are five steps you need to take to optimise your website for voice search: 

  • Go mobile
  • Boost your speed
  • Focus on the user experience
  • Increase your discoverability
  • Keep it safe




Go Mobile 

Most people performing voice searches are using mobile devices. So, search engines will look for sites that will display well on mobile devices. 

Make sure that your site is responsive. ‘Responsive’ means that no matter what device someone is using (mobile device or desktop), the site’s framework automatically adjusts for the device, so your website looks great no matter the screen size. 


Boost Your Speed

When it comes to voice search, slow and steady does not win the race. Your website speed matters because search engines like it when pages load quickly. When pages are slow to load, a search engine will actually skip over your website, even if it’s got the answer for which the person is searching. 


There are a few ways to increase your website speed: 

  • Minimize the number of components you have on a page (such as images, stylesheets, and scripts).
  • Reduce the size and number of files needed for your site.
  • Use asynchronous loading for CSS and JavaScript files so they don’t load one after another.
  • Minimize time to first byte (the amount of time a browser has to wait before getting its first byte of data from the server).


Focus on the User Experience 

One thing to remember during the optimisation process is the user experience. Think about what the user is looking for when performing a voice search. Are they trying to find a particular local business? Or, do they want to buy a particular product? 

Once you understand what a user is looking for, write your content accordingly. It’s not just about the keywords you use (though those are important); writing content for the use experience means that content is easy to understand and useful to the reader. It’s also important to understand user intent; if someone searches for ‘New Zealand Oscar winners,’ they’re most likely looking for the most recent results rather than something from 30 years ago. 


Increase Your Discoverability

The content needs to be valuable; it can’t waste the user’s time. Whatever you’re posting on your website has to answer people’s questions, and do so in a way that makes them glad they came to your website. 

What does great content look like? It’s content that answers questions when people are performing voice searches. Here are some examples: 

  • FAQs – answer people’s questions about your products or services 
  • Short-form content – short content (less than 500 words) that educates people about what you do
  • Long-form content – content that’s over 500 words (such as blog posts or articles) that explains what you offer 


Keep It Safe 

Search engines don’t want to send users to a site that doesn’t seem safe. Increasing your website’s security is critical for you to show up in voice searches. 

The best way to keep your website safe is to use HTTPS (secure hypertext transfer protocol). HTTPS is a system that sends and receives information over the Internet. The difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that there’s a secure socket layer (known as SSL) surrounds the information being transferred. 

Obtaining a website security certificate is an added step toward success in voice search rankings. A website security certificate is issued by a trusted third party. Security certificates show that a website uses an encrypted connection to keep information safe. 


Enlighten Designs: Helping You Optimise Your Site for Voice Search 

For over two decades, Enlighten has been creating amazing digital experiences for our clients. We offer technological leadership, implementation, and project management services so that your site delivers value to users and ranks high in voice searches. To learn more about improving the user experience, download our User Experience Guidelines white paper or contact us today.

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