Optimizing Voice Search for SEO Ranking  

Voice recognition in smartphones isn’t exactly new, but pairing it with AI and this level of functionality is. Here at 4GoodHosting, part of what makes one of the best Canadian web hosting providers is the way we don’t need to be coaxed to keep up on developments in the digital world. We realize the immediate relevance all of these mobile trends that keep coming fast and furious have for both us and our customers who are in business on the web.

Nearly every business or company has been working to optimize their local SEO, and now voice search optimization has become more of a priority as well. Given the increasing predominate of searches and queries submitted by voice and process by digital assistants like those mentioned above, there’s good reason for that.

Here’s what we know about the best ways to optimize pages and content for voice search.

Ensure Good Page Speeds

Siri has made quite a name when it comes to helping people get the information they need without having to enter anything manually, and they don’t have to follow any set method or tradition for conducting their search. They’re free to use the feature in whatever manner they want. But if a page doesn’t load quickly, they’re going to move on.

Voice search engine optimization is important, and let’s note that page speed plays a major role in voice search SEO. The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds, which is 52% faster than the average page. This definitely raises the bar of what’s ‘acceptable’ and you need to make sure you’re in line with it.

HTTPS is Better

That extra character at the end of your URL prefix makes all the difference in the world now.

HTTPS websites dominate Google’s voice search results, and more standard HTTP sites lag far behind in popularity with voice-based search results. Take note again that 70.4% of Google Home result pages are secured with HTTPS.

Voice search results are significantly more likely to use HTTPS than other websites ranking on Google’s first page. As a result, implementing HTTPS may improve your chances of appearing as a voice search result.

Keep it Simple

Google prefers short, concise answers to voice search queries. The typical voice search result is only 29 words in length. When optimizing your content to rank in Google Home or Google Assistant, make your answer snippet as short as possible, while of course still providing a thorough answer to the query. However, it’s unclear how this applies to Amazon Alexa, Siri and other voice search platforms.

It’s safe to say it’s a good practice to get into, and brevity is always beneficial in the digital world in general.

Schema not so Big

Many of you will be familiar with schema.org and the way it helps search engines better understand your content. 36.4% of voice search results come from pages that use Schema, as compared to the slightly higher worldwide average of 31.3%.

While it’s true that voice search result pages tend to use Schema slightly more often than your average web page, the difference is not significant. Also, 63.6% of voice search results don’t use Schema at all. Conclusion? Schema has a direct impact on voice search rankings.

Assert Authority

Authoritative domains tend to produce voice search results significantly more than non-authoritative domains. In fact, the mean Ahrefs Domain Rating of a Google Home result is 76.8.

Unlike traditional searches, Google Home gives you a single answer to your question. Offering only one response means that Google feels the need to be extremely confident that they’re giving you accurate information.

The voice search algorithm may rely on domain authority over page authority to determine this certainty. Once Google finds a plausible voice search answer on a trusted website, the number of links pointing to the page itself aren’t that relevant.

Socialize and Thrive

Content with high levels of social engagement tends to perform well in voice searches. Consider that the average voice search result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets.

However, it’s extremely unlikely that the voice search algorithm uses social signals. But where’s there’s smoke there’s fire. Valuable, engaging content performs well in any search engine environment, and voice search is no exception. Try to publish valuable, highly-shareable content to improve your chances of ranking as a voice search result.

Easy on the Advanced Syntax

This is the surprising one of the bunch it seems. Simple, easy-to-read content may help with voice search SEO. Apparently the average Google voice search result is written at a 9th grade level. Which is not surprising when you consider that voice search results:

  • Need to contain simple words that are easy for Google to pronounce
  • Need to be comprehensible without any visual reference
  • Can’t contain challenging words or phrases

While it’s not proven, it’s quite plausible that Google may measure reading level and use it as a voice search ranking factor. Publishing simple, easy-to-understand content may help with voice search SEO, and overall it’s a good habit to get into, particularly if you’re in e-commerce.

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