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Ok Google: How to Make Voice Search and SEO Friendly?

The famous mathematician and inventor Alan Turing predicted that at the beginning of the 21st century, people would invent the machine that would be able to carry on a conversation indistinguishable from a person.


It's 2020, but there is no machine that can pass the Turing test. Nevertheless, modern people sometimes talk with their smartphones more often than with colleagues.

Is it because colleagues are boring?


No. Simple voice search "smxlr8" and Google allow you to quickly find the most accurate information. Speed ​​and accuracy are two qualities that busy metropolitan people value most.


If your site is not optimized for voice search, sooner or later you will start losing traffic, because the popularity of voice queries is growing rapidly.


Why is optimization for voice search relevant?


According to a Backlinko study, 41% of US adults use voice search on a daily basis. They prefer this method of entering a query over the traditional one - typing through the keyboard. Among adolescents, the share is even higher - 55%.




People have begun to use mobile gadgets more often to find information. Typing on tiny “keyboards” of smartphones, when the T9 also constantly strives to fit in and ruin everything, is not a pleasure. It's easier to dial by voice.


Laptops and desktop PCs are likely to soon become “rudimentary” like tablets or “niche” devices like games. However, even on the desktop, the percentage of voice requests from the total number of requests was impressive. Here are the stats for Windows 10:



But considering that progress from overseas comes to us with a five-year delay, it is better to start optimizing the site for voice search now - in order to be at the table by the time when the largest pieces of the pie will be handed out.


How the website can be configured for voice search?


The goal of optimization for voice search is to occupy not even the first line in the search results, but the zero one (the so-called zero position). According to statistics, Google responds to every third request with a featured snippet - a special block with a short answer that is placed above the search results.


On a PC, in addition to the recommended snippet, the user sees 2-3 links in the search results, and on the small screen of a mobile phone, the featured snippet, as a rule, takes up the entire space. And if the user finds the necessary information in the recommended fragment, he will not go further into the search results.


We've laid out the top SEO guidelines for voice search by block. This is what will help your site to appear in the search results on the first screen of a mobile gadget.


Semantics


Voice prompts are usually longer than typed ones. A person wants to get a specific answer and therefore uses a maximum of qualifying words. You can verify this by looking at the graph provided by Backlinko:





Alas, within the framework of optimization for voice search, and SEO will have to work out low-frequency queries - even with a "quotation mark" frequency of 1-2.


These are the same queries that could have previously been thrown out without a twinge of conscience when cleaning the semantic core. Now it is better to collect FAQ from them and give a concise answer to each.


The second feature of semantics for voice search is the use of add-ons "near me", "not far."


Most mobile phones have geolocation enabled, so the gadget understands where its owner is in the city and can suggest the right place nearby. For the sake of fairness, Yandex. Maps also calculate a shawarma stall or a Sberbank ATM near the user from the desktop, but owners of PCs and laptops rarely enter requests with the addition “near me”.


Optimization for "mobile phones"


Is there a separate issue for Voice Search - a controversial issue? If it is, then it differs from the mobile one very slightly. Therefore, optimizing for voice search requires that the site is well-tuned for smartphones.


We will not talk about the presence of a mobile version and the absence of horizontal scrolling - these are basic things. There is one more important point - site loading speed. And it's not about the speed shown by Google PageSpeed ​​Insights, but about the real speed of page rendering.


PageSpeed ​​is a service from the category "grandma said in two". It can draw green circles when the site on the smartphone takes 5-10 seconds to load. The user who made the voice request will definitely not wait that long.

How to solve the speed problem?

  1. Use AMP pages that load in a split second. Google loves them.

  2. Ditch Flash elements - they don't appear in many mobile browsers.

  3. Clean the code from the garbage. If you can't do it yourself, send the TK to a freelancer on some exchange. For 1000 rubles, the order will be torn off with hands.

  4. Set up automatic image compression. The site is probably slow due to the heavy image in the background.


Local search


To optimize for voice search, highly accurate toponyms are important ("where to eat pizza near Novoslobodskaya metro station"). If you are promoting, for example, a pizzeria that has several restaurants in the city, it is better to create a separate page for each restaurant on the site, registering the name of the metro, street, or district in the Title.


Content


The key to getting into the recommended snippet on Google is an unambiguous and concise answer to a user's request. Research shows that Google picks up a complete snippet of text with an average of 29 words in the featured snippet.





This literally means that if a copywriter in the text "spreads his thoughts along the tree", the page will not get to the top of the mobile search results.


It is important to write briefly, succinctly, without water and without the desire to show erudition and skills in using complex terminology. The text should be written at the ninth grade level. Recall that it is teenagers who use voice search more often than other age groups. The text should be divided into paragraphs of 300-400 characters, it is better to highlight the key ideas.


Don't forget about videos - start a YouTube channel. In a voice search on Google Chrome, a selection of videos often comes first. Especially if the user was interested in a procedure that is easier to show than to describe in words ("mix concrete").


It will not be superfluous to resort to hidden marketing. In one screenshot, we saw that Google pulled up a response from the famous service otvet.mail.ru, written in 2010, into the recommended snippet. "Yandex" is pushing its new service "Q" to the top lines of the search results - although among the answers there is often nonsense.


Register on such portals (there is also bolshoyvopros.ru), answer questions on the topic, and leave links to your site. This way you can "entice" users from the featured snippets and the "sorcerer" Yandex through the "responder" site.


Microdata


In the presence of a micro-markup, the search engine understands the content of the site better. This means that the chances of getting to the "zero position", as well as in the issuance in the blocks of Google Maps and Yandex.


Maps are significantly increased. Schema.org is considered the most popular micro-markup format, but we also recommend using JSON-LD. Why? There are two reasons: firstly, Google openly declares that it likes JSON-LD better, and secondly, the micro-markup of this format is easier to apply. You don't need to mark up the entire HTML document - just place the script inside the <head> container.


In pursuit of the goal of optimizing your site for voice search, do not forget about general optimization - including external. When issuing a page by voice request, search engines do not look at its link rank but check the total link mass of the site. PS prefers to put in the "zero position" answers from sources that have the greatest authority.


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