Voice search is no longer a novelty. Statista projects that there are 4.2 billion digital voice assistants worldwide, and this number will double by 2024. These include smart speakers like Amazon Echo and iOS and Android devices running Siri and Google Assistant.
One-third of the US population use voice search, and half of those use voice search daily. Alexa users can just ask, “Alexa, what are the best running shoes?” and get suggestions. iPhone users can just tell Siri to search for “how to make pesto?” as they chop onions.
Personal assistants accommodate an active lifestyle, and perhaps your target demographic has this lifestyle.
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WordPress Voice Search
Here are six ways you can optimize your WordPress site for voice search.
Use Structured Data
Your website should tell Google and other search engines what each element of your WordPress site is.
Structured data, or a schema, is the context for your website. Think of it like the tags on a YouTube video or the inventory description of an item you’re selling.
Voice search users typically expect instant results. Using structured data for your site will maximize the functionality of leading search engines such as Google. How?
The search engine results page, or SERP, doesn’t just show the highest-ranking domains for a particular search query. When you search for a specific recipe, like the one for pesto pasta above, you’ll find similar recipes. The same goes for the cast of a TV series, products in an eCommerce website, or cities in a state.
You’d want your WordPress website, or sections of your website, to appear on these carousels and featured snippets. It would be nice to have your catalog featured on a carousel on the SERP.
Embedded code tags called markup throughout the HTML of a webpage tell Google what each element is. It helps Google determine whether that body of text on your WordPress website is a step-by-step tutorial, an answer to a question, a phone number, etc.
Once you have the necessary markups in place, your search-engine-optimized blogs may look like the image below after a voice search.
However, structured data is just one part of the equation. Your content needs to be optimized for SEO first to ensure that it appears in searches for specific keywords. If you’re an online business trying to increase local traffic, you will need to optimize it for local searches.
Focus On Google My Business Page
Voice search users also tend to do a lot of local searches, like “restaurant near me” or “dentist in [insert name of city here].” If your business doesn’t appear on Google Maps, it might as well be nonexistent.
Google ranks business search results according to distance and relevance. You increase foot traffic to your business and inquiries made through your contact numbers by appearing on SERPs.
A Google My Business page is a must-have for every business with an online presence. It is similar to a phone book listing in that it contains your address, contact details, website, and business hours. However, it contains so much more than these data points.
Google My Business places your location on a Google Map so users can easily find your business and calculate their travel time. More importantly, your customers can leave reviews on your Google My Business page. The higher your star rating is, the better it will perform on Google searches.
How do you optimize your Google My Business page for voice searches?
- Fill in your most relevant business category. If your store sells pizzas, you need to indicate it on your page.
- Add other categories that are relevant to your business. If you also sell buffalo wings, you need to add “buffalo wings” to your categories.
- Add your WordPress site URL and contact numbers. These pieces of data will allow users to visit your website or call your business even without touching the screen.
- Send emails encouraging your leads to give your Google My Business page a review. You can add notes in Gmail if you’re manually handling communication. Otherwise, you can automate the process using an email provider.
Google will even give you free ad credit after setting up your Google My Business account. You may use this to run PPC campaigns.
Improve Site Speed
Your page load time affects WordPress site performance. According to Portent, a delay of just one second can lower your conversion rate by 4.42%.
Slower page load time would also mean you lose potential customers to sites that are 0.01 seconds faster loading than yours. With thousands of websites out there ranking for the exact keywords you’re ranking for, every millisecond counts. Conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of page load time.
Here are steps you can take to improve your page load time:
- Improve your backend. Upgrade your hosting if you notice you’re getting more traffic than your system can handle.
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). A geographically distributed group of servers ensures uniform loading speeds for your site anywhere in the world.
- Compress your images. Huge image and video sizes slow down the overall load time for your page.
- Use fewer files on your webpage. Every file that makes up your webpage will result in more HTTP requests. The more HTTP requests, the slower your WordPress page will load.
- Test your page load speeds. Use a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights to compare your WordPress site’s load speed against your competitors.
The load time will not only affect the experience of your visitors. It will also affect where you rank on search engines. A WordPress site that loads faster is more likely to rank on SERPs.
Include Long-Tail Keywords
The search habits of voice searchers differ from those who type in their queries. For one, voice searches tend to be more genuine and conversational because users speak to their phones. Instead of “best vacuums to buy,” you may want to try ranking for “best vacuums to buy for carpets” or “best vacuums with a long battery life.”
These search terms, also known as long-tail keywords, have a significantly less monthly search volume (MSV) than general searches. As a result, it’s much easier to rank for them than short keywords, which have higher search volume.
In addition to helping your site get better search rankings, long-tail keywords are more focused. Users who search for long-tail keywords know what they’re looking for and are more likely to convert if they see that your content addresses their needs.
To optimize your WordPress site for long-tail keyword searches, use those keywords in your content. You may also use them in your content headings. For example, instead of using “best vacuums” as a heading, you can use “what are the best vacuum cleaners under $500” or “best cheap Dyson alternatives.”
Include Question Phrases
Voice searches tend to follow specific patterns. Aside from featuring more long-tail keywords, they also tend to come in question form. If you’re helping your teenager with their biology homework, you won’t search for “mitochondria.” Instead, you’re more likely to ask, “What are mitochondria?”
The personal assistant on the user’s phone would even read the snippet aloud to the user. If you’re writing a blog, you’d want to include questions as one of your headers. Have the body below that header answer that question.
When paired with structured data, the SERP may even feature a part of your blog or website through a highlighted snippet, complete with that page’s inline photo.
Create Content That Is Easy To Read
After all the tips on this list appealing to search engines, you’d still want your WordPress site to be readable to humans.
Here are some tips for creating engaging and easy-to-read content for your website:
- Use correct and cohesive grammar. You can use tool such as Grammarly.
- Be conversational. Use a tone appropriate to your target audience.
- Avoid lengthy paragraphs. Slice big ideas into smaller paragraphs and bullet points.
- Use visuals. Imagery such as photos and videos helps convey the idea of your content.
- Have someone else edit and proofread your content.
Applying the above bullet points will make your content engaging to read through, whether a blog post, a product page, a landing page, or your website’s home page.
Voice Search For WordPress Summary
Voice search is becoming increasingly popular. You’d want to be riding this trend by optimizing your WordPress site for voice search.
Use structured data to label the elements on your WordPress site. That allows Google and other search engines to feature you on carousels and highlighted snippets, thus increasing your CTR.
Focus on your Google My Business page to optimize your ranking for location searches from nearby users. Improve your site speed. Remember, voice search users want instant results.
Include long-tail keywords and include question phrases. That will appeal to the conversational nature of voice search results. Finally, create content that is easy to read.
Follow all these steps, and you will have a voice search optimized WordPress site.
David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.
DISCLOSURE: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, I might get a small commission, without any extra cost to you. Read more about it here.