As more and more people have adopted smartphones, smart speakers, and other smart devices, voice search is becoming a common way for consumers to interact with search engines. As this technology becomes more prevalent, businesses should be doing all they can to ensure that they are being found through this type of query.

1. Claim your business on Google

The first thing you should do, if you haven't already, is to make sure you have claimed your business on Google My Business. To do so, simply search for your business name in Google Maps, click "Claim this business," then "I own or manage this business." From there, choose a verification option and follow the steps Google gives you.

When a smartphone user asks Google (or Siri) for nearby businesses, Google (which powers Siri's search results as well) points them to local search results. These are businesses that have been claimed in Google My Business. Giving Google all the necessary information here is critical.

2. Include your location information on your website

It's a good idea to include your location information on your site regardless of voice search, but if you want Google to give this information to users, you should make it easy for them to do so. Your address would be included in your Google My Business listing, which will help with local results, but having it on your website will help Google display it in more generalized results. It might provide a signal to favor your site over others based on the user's location, if they are in your area.

3. Consider the user's intent

Google's voice search capabilities tend to prioritize user intent. This is the case for search results in general, but when people search with their voice, they're often looking for quick, specific answers, and Google knows this. This is why you should strongly consider user intent when it comes to the content on your site. Use clear, concise language that gets right to the point, rather than trying to tell a long story about your company or your product. Make every page as relevant as possible to what users who land on the page would be expecting or looking for.

4. Keywords vs. natural language

Keywords have been a primary focus of search engine optimization as long as the practice has existed, and even in the age of voice search, they are still important. These days, you should be thinking of keywords in terms of natural language. Although you may be talking to a machine, the voice search experience is ultimately a conversation, and using natural language on your website will make it much easier to attract the attention of voice search programs. The goal of search engines like Google is to provide as natural (and helpful) an experience as possible, so if you can create content that fits this, Google may see it as a good fit for users' queries. Google has gotten better and better at identifying natural language over the years.

As Sherry Bonelli at Search Engine Land explains, "Now keywords are no longer just keywords. Keywords in the voice search world are long-tail+. The 'plus' refers to the conversational phrases that you need to add when optimizing for conversational voice search. Your keyword strategy must now be more conversational in nature and mimic how real people talk and ask questions verbally. Start thinking about the types of questions you get when customers call you on the phone to ask questions about your business, then start documenting and recording the exact words they use when they talk to your customer service representatives."1

5. Use Q&A

Considering the conversational nature of voice search, it only makes sense that you include some form of Q&A on your site. Listing the right questions on your site gives Google some great material to work with for answering user queries. This could be as simple as setting up an FAQ page. Come up with a list of questions users may be likely to ask, and then answer them.

While it may take some time to go through your website and revise it according to these guidelines, it’s likely to make it easier for potential customers to find you while they’re online or on the road. And, bringing more viewers to your site or more customers to your store is what it’s all about.



The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC