Making sure your website is easy to find in search engine results is critical to the success of your firm. Meeting SEO standards, particularly Google’s, is the first step to improving your findability online. With that in mind, one of the most important topics you might have overlooked when planning your SEO strategy is voice search.
With smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home being widely adopted, and people interacting with and getting voice responses from their phones and watches, voice search isn’t just a novelty anymore. It has become part of our daily routine as it provides convenience like no other search method.
More and more, users are turning away from conventional computer-based searches and using voice to search online. In fact, 14% of all mobile queries are done by voice. It’s estimated that 132 million Americans will use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month in 2022. Given this trend, it’s time for law firms to make sure their websites are ready and optimized for voice search.
Why does your website need to be optimized for voice search?
Think of voice search in the same way you would responsive design and intuitive navigation for your website: an integral part of the user experience that affects the way your firm is perceived by both search engines and your target audience.
The list of reasons why people continue to welcome this technology with open arms keeps growing, but the most common factor is that voice search delivers answers faster than traditional search query methods. Voice search also provides convenience for anyone on the go who owns a smartphone, which means prospects are more likely to find your firm if they can access the information by speaking into their device. Simply put, between typing and speaking a query, we will always choose the latter when the answer is only one sentence away.
With voice search on the rise, one question we are frequently asked by our clients is, “How can we improve our website’s voice search ranking?” This might sound like a simple question but producing the desired results from voice search requires thinking outside of the parameters of the conventional content strategies we are all familiar with. Why? Because searching with our voice is different than typing a query on a desktop.
What are the main benefits of optimizing your website for voice search?
- Higher search engine rankings: As mentioned before, optimising for voice search can boost organic traffic to your website and therefore, increase your SEO ranking.
- Higher authority: When you rank for voice searches and increase your audience, you boost your website’s authority. This will benefit you in terms of search engine rankings and it will give you something much more valuable: reputation.
- Higher revenue: Having more visitors means higher revenue. Listening to your content on a smart speaker is likely to put your business at the top of your target audience’s mind and this will help you generate more leads for your firm.
One of the main differences between voice and typed search is that when we do a voice search, we typically say full sentences in a conversational tone. This means that optimizing your content will require stepping away from using a specific set of keywords and keyword combinations and moving to a question-based approach.
For example, when we interact with a smart speaker, we tend to ask questions that start with “who,” “when,” “where,” “what,” “why,” and “how” which makes voice search keywords longer compared to text search keywords. One way to get started is to create a FAQ page that reads like a conversation, not a formal document. Do research on what your target audience might need answers to and structure your FAQ page accordingly.
Google’s current algorithm is designed to favour websites that are designed to help users. To get a sense of what your website visitors might need help with, look at your Google reviews and post the corresponding answers on your FAQ page.
Local results—Google My Business
Recent research shows that local listings are prioritized in voice search results. A significant percentage of mobile voice search queries consist of “near me” questions. So, make sure to keep your Google My Business listing up to date to be featured in “near me” results. Often, people are searching for a business’s location and hours of operation so it’s important to pay attention to these details.
Also, try to target local keywords that contain location-specific phrases to drive results related to the same geographic location.
Optimize Google snippets
Snippets are short bodies of text designed to give searchers a direct, concise definition or description. These direct answers are read back to the user when they resort to voice search for a specific query.
The results of our voice searches are mostly the featured snippets that we get on traditional searches. This is because when we make a voice search, we are generally looking for a quick result and not a list of pages to browse. So, in the case of voice searches, where direct answers are a priority, we want to aim at having our result featured in these snippets.
Structuring your FAQ and question-based keywords using a conversational tone of voice and optimizing for local results are the most efficient ways of getting featured snippets. Additionally, loading speed time plays a major factor in being ranked for this highly coveted spot on search results. Since voice search queries are expected to deliver immediate results, Google will prioritize websites that take less than two seconds to load.
Improve content readability
It is important that your website delivers jargon-free straightforward messaging that allows users to find resources with minimum effort.
Try using The Hemingway app to make paragraphs more concise for your readers. This will likely increase your readability score and improve your website’s voice search ranking.
Voice search is a great way of interacting with your target audience and it requires a unique approach to online marketing. This is not something that can be ignored by law firms, as the technology becomes more popular, your clients will be using it too.