Developing a Voice Engine Optimization Strategy
“Hey Google, what is Voice Engine Optimization?”
Is your business prepared for the voice search revolution? In 2017, nearly 25 million smart speakers, such as Google Home or Alexa, were sold. Whether it’s a speaker or a smartphone, voice search usage is increasing rapidly. ComScore has predicted that 50% of all searches will be conducted via voice by 2020. Luckily for you, this means there’s still time to get ahead of the curve when it comes to Voice Engine Optimization (VEO).
What is Voice Engine Optimization?
I know what you’re thinking… “I finally have a basic understanding of SEO and now I need to learn VEO?!” Take a deep breath, I promise you know more than you think, and if not we’re here to help.
Voice Engine Optimization is our term for voice-based search engine optimization. Voice search refers to verbal searches made to devices with Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa or Cortana. Unlike SEO, VEO has an even smaller search window (top 3 results for mobile and 1 result for smart speakers) making it even more important to have a VEO plan in place.
Why does Local VEO Matter?
When it comes to local search, voice is 3x more likely to be used than text. Mobile users are relying on voice search to supply them with on-the-go information. The hands-free design of voice search is giving users the ability to search for a location while driving. This urgency makes the need for a VEO strategy essential if you plan to beat out local competitors.
Who needs a VEO strategy?
Before we get started on what goes into a great VEO strategy let’s decide if you need it. Although a VEO strategy only requires adding a few more steps to your existing SEO strategy, not everyone needs it.
Do you sell goods?
“I need to order an HDMI cable.”
“Where can I buy converse shoes?”
Are you in the food industry?
“Best sandwich shop near me.”
“Where can I find a vegan restaurant in downtown San Diego.”
Does your business offer immediate services?
“The sink is clogged, I need a plumber.”
“Where can I find a 24 hour pharmacy?”
Is your location essential to your company’s success?
“Apartments for rent near me.”
“Where is the closest ATM?”
“Where can I get my tires rotated today?”
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to start working on a strong VEO strategy. If you answered no to all questions, it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a VEO strategy, but it may not be as important as your SEO strategy.
Creating a VEO Strategy:
1. Keep your listings clean.
An estimated $10.3 Billion are lost every year because of inaccurate listing information. Keeping your listings clean and up-to-date is key to ranking in the first page of search results. A large majority of voice searches are on-the-go, searching for results in a user’s vicinity. Because of this, users are less likely to shop around, meaning if you’re not in the top 3 results… you’re out. Get this right, and you have a high chance of converting more shoppers for your business.
2. Increase focus on longer search queries.
When it comes to SEO we all know the importance of keywords. For your VEO strategy you’ll want to place more focus on long tail keywords. Voice search is designed to function like a conversation. According to Google, 41% of people who use voice search say it feels like talking to a friend.
Take for example you’d like to grab a sandwich for lunch. If you were to text search for a great sandwich shop near your work it would probably look something like this: “Best sandwich near me.” On the other hand, a voice-based search would sound something like this: “Where is the best place to get a sandwich near me?”. Using keyword tools such as Ubersuggest you can pinpoint the best long-tail keywords for your business.
3. Increase your site speed.
Each month, 1 in 5 online adults makes a mobile voice search. When making a mobile voice search most users are looking for immediate on-the-go results. If your website is not mobile-optimized you’re losing out on ranking in the top set of search results. If your page takes more than 5 seconds to load the customer is 90% more likely to leave. Test your site speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
4. Provide answers.
When asking a specific question such as “Does Wendy’s serve vegetarian options?” Google responds with a featured snippet. If your site is well optimized, this answer will come directly from your website. Google programmatically detects the web page that can best answer user’s specific question.
Because Google only features a single featured snippet, it’s important to answer the specific questions your customers have. An FAQ page is a great place to feature these answers, using an H2 setting for the question and body text for the answer, google will have a much easier time finding this information.
5. Test it.
The only way to truly understand how your customer will interact with voice search is by testing it. Get inside the mind of your customer and go through the voice search process. See where you’re ranking and figure out ways you can improve. Although voice search has been around since 2011, the functionality has grown rapidly since the introduction of smart speakers in 2014. According to MindMeld, only 11% of voice search users started more than 4 years ago. If you’re looking to get ahead of the VEO curve, now is the time to start.
Businesses who implement a strong VEO strategy before 2020 are going to be ahead of the voice search curve. Luckily, VEO doesn’t require much more work than your current SEO strategy. Want to see how we make managing your business’ VEO strategy easy? Sign up for a free demo to learn more.
What are your thoughts on voice search? Does the thought of implementing a separate VEO strategy give you a headache? Comment with your thoughts below, we’d love to hear from you!