It’s reckoned that over 400 million voice assistants are now in use. [1] One of the reasons for this popularity is that voice technology has become much more accurate in recent years, bring us much closer to the ‘Star Trek’ vision of simply being able to talk to your computer. So, with more and more people accessing the internet via smart speakers or voice assistants like Siri, it’s vitally important that your web presence is voice friendly.

The attraction of voice search for users is that it allows you to multitask; you can get instant answers when you need them without having to wait for a computer to boot up or a website to load. You can ask a question faster than you can type it, and it generally eases your daily routine.

Voice search usage

The adoption of voice search is still in its early stages, but businesses need to gear up for it now as it’s only going to become more widely used in future.

So, what do people want out of voice searches? One of the primary considerations is location information. People might ask, “Where is the nearest restaurant?” or “Where is the nearest petrol station?” so it’s vital that your site includes location information.

But research carried out by search giant Google [2] also reveals people want a personalised experience. They want to know about sales and promotions underway locally; they want to find out about upcoming events; and they want to be able to make customer service queries.

Making your site voice friendly

Employing a custom web development company can help you identify how to best optimise your site for voice. There are a number of things you need to consider. First is that people don’t all speak in the same way, you need to consider what questions people are likely to ask and tailor your keywords accordingly. Google has a useful tool [3] that allows you to see how questions relate to each other and what people ask on similar topics.

You also need to consider the structure of your site and map content to searches accordingly. This means considering the steps someone will take. The journey might start with location, followed by what goods or services you offer, moving on to price as a precursor to making a purchase. You then get on to post-sales questions like servicing or support queries.

The issue with voice search is that it’s rather harder for people to pursue follow up questions, by clicking a link for example. It’s therefore much more important to make your content as relevant as possible so that good results are returned first time. To help with this, you can use meta data to tell search engines more about the content without affecting what your users see.