Using our voices to browse the internet is something which has become more common as Siri, Google Home and Amazon Alexa have taken centre-stage. More and more homes are now regularly using these smart assistants to control their homes, add items to baskets and search the internet.

Voice search and natural language processing are constantly being improved and, as more and more people use voice assistants to perform internet searches, getting your website ready and optimised for voice search should be a top priority. Voice search has changed the way leading search engines such as Google handle their search queries, and this has a direct impact on everything, including web design, marketing and search engine optimisation.

The Rise of Voice Search

Introduced eight years ago in 2010, voice search initially used a phone number which was called from a mobile device: the end-user would say keywords and Google would return webpages for their query. Although this wasn’t the best voice search solution, it paved the way for voice search as we now know it, helping Google develop its speech recognition technology which is used today.

Google voice search – and other voice search solutions – are compatible with a huge range of different products, services and applications, used by millions of people worldwide on a daily basis. As more people utilise the convenience of voice-based search, it is only going to get more intelligent and become a more popular way to browse the web.

Preparing for Voice Search

You cannot just sit by and ignore voice search; failing to get your website and its pages ready for the continued growth of voice search will have a detrimental impact on the amount of traffic which reaches your site and ultimately your conversion rate.

1. Make your copy less formal

Your website’s copy needs to be written in a way which is conversational and natural; avoid being overly-corporate and use phrases which are commonly used casually. Think about how you would chat with one of your friends about your brand, product or service and then turn that into content. Remember, voice search analyses an end-users speech to perform a search. Working with a digital agency in Birmingham, for example, is a great way to have your content updated for your Birmingham-based target market.

2. Make local search a top priority

One of the most common uses of voice searches is for “near me” purposes – i.e., where the end-user is looking for something in their local area. If you are a business which operates a physical location as well as operating online, tailoring your site for the local area is your top priority. On top of ensuring your Google My Business information is all correct and updated, your website should have location-specific pages, especially if you operate multiple units. Consulting a web design agency in Birmingham, for example, is a great way to improve your website’s design and add content for Birmingham-based local searches.

3. Target Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are phrases which are longer than a regular search query; they are very specific and lots of sites overlook them as they prioritise shorter ones. This is a good thing, and use of long-tail keywords can make your website competitive, especially if you operate in a niche industry. Because voice searches are typically conversational, targeting long-tail keywords puts you in a better position to appear higher up in search results. Keyword research is something a web developer based in Birmingham can assist you out with.

4. Answer questions on your website

Most voice-based searches are posed as questions and you should have a repository of questions and answers on your website which can be used to answer the question of a potential customer. This doesn’t just satisfy voice-based searching but also helps your overall SEO; optimised web content which answers questions related to your product, brand or business will put you well ahead of the curve.

5. Optimise for mobile and tablet devices

Your website simply must be optimised for use on mobile, even now, however, with the growth of voice-based search, having your website optimised for mobile is more important than ever. Google have already announced its “mobile-first search index” and, as voice-based assistants fall under the “mobile” category of devices, you will simply fail to appear in voice-based search results should your site not be optimised for mobile devices. It is important to get mobile optimisation right and it is something you should consider outsourcing to a website design company in the UK.

What Next?

It is important that both your content and overall website design are optimised for natural language searches and mobile devices. If you want to answer natural language voice-based searches, this is where you need to start.

Content which errs on the side of being more casual, scannable and user-friendly is much more likely to catch voice-based searches than content which is superfluous and complex. Getting your website ready for voice search takes time and research, however, it is an absolute necessity.

Speech is the Future

Although there is still a lot we have yet to learn about the future of voice-based search, there is one thing which is certain: it is going to continue to grow at rapid rates and become more responsive, accurate and intelligent as more and more people use it. Voice search utilises machine learning and as it is more widely used, it is going to get smarter.

Uncertainty is never fun, however, now really is the best time to get on board with voice-based search and get ahead of your competition. If you want a helping hand with this, we recommend consulting a web developer in Birmingham who can assist you with getting your site ready for the growth of voice-based search. You’ll be glad you did further on down the line!