Or guest today is Nicholas Rubright from Writer, the AI writing assistant. Writer is trusted by top teams at Accenture, inVision, Deloitte, and many more. The topic for today is a burning one: voice search and how to optimize your website for it. Let’s roll!
Voice search has rapidly gained popularity as a search tool for people to browse the internet. The introduction of voice-activated search tools like Alexa, Google Voice Search, and Siri enable people to search by speaking instead of typing. Many smartphone users prefer the convenience of voice searches over typing on a smaller device. Voice searches are also a safer way of multitasking while driving, exercising, or working.
Over 30% of search queries on Google are voice searches, and this number is rising every year. Hence, optimizing your WordPress site for voice search is critical. Whether your goal is to answer questions, build a community, or sell your products, you’re missing out on organic traffic if your website doesn’t feature in the voice search results pages. Let’s change that.
Let’s look at six ways to optimize your WordPress site to rank higher on voice searches.
1. Use long-tail keywords
For a start, we need to understand that voice search fundamentally differs from typed search queries. Voice searches are more conversational because speech is more casual than typed search intent. Hence, instead of focusing on short keywords, ensure that your content is rich with long-tail keywords.
Let’s say someone wants to do a voice search for a pair of red running shoes. Hence, “best red sneakers” would be ideal for typed search intent. For voice searches, though, you need to add long-tail keywords like “best red shoes for running.” Established brands would add their name to the long-tail keyword. If you were Nike, you’d use the keyword “best red Nike shoes for running.”
Long-tail keywords have a dual benefit. They help you rank higher in voice searches and have a much lower monthly search volume (MSV) than shorter keywords. Hence, they are cheaper and easier to rank for than the shorter keywords. Another benefit is that they are more focused and drill down to the searcher’s actual intent. These searches also have a higher conversion rate.
To rank on voice searches, ensure that your WordPress site is optimized for long-tail keyword searches by enriching your content with these keywords. Make sure you use them in both headings and the text content. For instance, change “best vacuum cleaners” as a heading to the “best vacuum cleaners under $400” or “best alternatives to Dyson vacuum cleaners” Notice how you can use your competitor’s brand recognition to attract more voice searches.
You can use free tools such as Ubersuggest to do your keyword research.
2. Improve your site speed
How fast your page loads affects WordPress site performance. According to Portent, a one-second lag in your page load speed can lower your conversion rate by 4.42%. A slower page speed also means you are losing traffic to sites that are 0.01 seconds faster than yours.
Keep in mind that thousands of websites are trying to rank for the same keywords you’re using. Hence, every millisecond counts in how the search engines rank your site. These are some steps you should take to speed up your page load time:
- Use a Content Delivery Network: This is a geographically distributed group of servers that work together and ensure that the searcher gets a uniform loading speed irrespective of their location.
- Compress your images. Large images and long videos increase the load time for your pages.
- Reduce the number of files on your webpage. Every file in your webpage code will add to the number of HTTP requests. The more HTTP requests on your page, the slower your page will load.
- Check your page load speeds. Use a tool like Google PageSpeed or GTmetrix to check your page load speed and gather insights on how to improve it. You can also use these tools to check how you stack up against your competition.
Here’s an analysis of the Tesla website using GTmetrix:
The slow page load time impairs your visitor’s user experience. It lowers your search ranking. WordPress sites that load faster are more likely to rank higher on SERPs.
3. Use structured data
Structured data or schema provides the search engine bots context to the content on your website. It enables Google to know the difference between a set of random numbers and a telephone number. Structured data works like a nametag for each part of your content. According to Backlinko, 36.4% of voice search result pages used schema markup, making it an effective way of boosting traffic from voice searches.
Notice how the structured data or schema markup in these Google results when I type “Shang chi” tells the customer everything they want to know about the event, in this case, the movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Included in the schema are show timings, the genre, a snippet on the movie, and viewer ratings.
You can use schema markups to identify different types of content on your website, including:
4. Craft easy to read content
The next step for optimizing for voice search is to write better content. Since we’re trying to rank for voice searches, ensure that the content on your website and blogs are written in a slightly casual and conversational tone. The goal is to write conversational content that directly addresses the user’s core search intent.
For instance, you can look at this article as a long answer to the simple query, “How do I optimize my WordPress website for voice search?” There’s a reason this article is of a certain length and written in a conversational style. This style makes it easier for users to connect with the content. It’s friendly and human, and the search engines pick up on this.
Another way to optimize for voice search is to create pillar pages or high-level pages that broadly cover a topic and then branch off with links to in-depth articles about specific subtopics. Here are some additional tips for writing engaging and easy-to-read content:
- Ensure that the grammar is correct and cohesive by using a tool like Grammarly.
- Use a conversational tone that is relevant to your target audience.
- Avoid long paragraphs. Slice big ideas into smaller independent paragraphs or bullet points.
- Use visuals like pictures, infographics, and videos that help in increasing engagement.
- Have someone else edit and proofread your content.
Apply these points to make your content an engaging read. That applies to all your pages, including the landing page, product pages, and blog posts.
5. Add question phrases
Since voice searches follow a specific pattern, they feature more long-tail keywords and tend to come in question form. Let’s say you’re helping your teenager with a biology project, are you more likely to do a voice search for “mitochondria,” or will you ask a question like, “What are mitochondria?”
The personal assistant on your phone will even read out the snippets from websites. If you’re writing a blog, let the headings ask a question and use the body below the heading to answer the question. When you combine these question phrases with structured data, there are chances that the SERP may feature a part of your blog or website with a highlighted snippet, along with a picture from that page.
6. Focus on Google My Business Page
Voice search users frequently do local searches, like “restaurant near me” or “dentist near me.” Hence, your business needs to rank on these local searches. If it doesn’t appear on Google Maps, you may as well be nonexistent. Google ranks your business in local search results based on proximity and relevance. To increase footfalls to your physical establishment and traffic to your website, ensure that your contact details appear in SERPs.
Your Google My Business page is a critical part of your online visibility. Think of it as a listing in a phone book containing your address and contact details, business hours, and website, except that your Google My Business page contains much more data that is relevant to the user.
Google My Business marks your establishment’s location on a Google Map, enabling users to find you and work out the travel time. Another benefit is that your customers can directly leave reviews on your Google My Business page. The higher the star rating of your establishment, the higher it may rank on Google searches.
Here are some tips on optimizing your Google My Business page for a voice search:
- Be exact while filling your relevant business category on the page. If your business is a restaurant, ensure that you indicate this on your page.
- Add other subcategories that are also relevant to your business. If your restaurant serves pasta, add “pasta” to your subcategories.
- Include your WordPress website URL and contact numbers on your page. That will enable the user to visit your website or call you with another voice command.
- Stay connected with your leads by running email campaigns to encourage your leads to give your Google My Business page a review.
Google gives you free ad credit after setting up your Google My Business account, which you can use to run PPC campaigns.
Voice searches are quickly becoming a part of our everyday lives. From finding information on local business to news, trivia, and ecommerce, voice search finds a wide range of uses. The number of people using it is increasing daily.
Therefore, it becomes critical to rank your business for these voice searches so you can attract relevant audiences to your website. Use the six tips in this article to optimize your WordPress website, and you’ll see results.
Nicholas Rubright is the communications specialist for Writer, an AI writing assistant designed for teams. Nicholas has previously worked to develop content marketing strategies for brands like Webex, Havenly, and Fictiv.