6 Ways to Optimise for Mobile & Voice search in 2018
As we come to the end of our first month in this new year, there’s a lot of serious change on the horizon. With GDP due to come into effect in a few months, Google continuing to prioritise search mobile-first, and voice search becoming an integral part of everyday life, it’s now more important than ever to ensure you are optimising for these changes. Because GDP is such a huge topic, we’ll cover this in another article, but today our SEO team want to give you 6 actionable ways you can go away and optimise your site for mobile and voice search. To find out more about the other optimisation our SEO team provide, head over to our main SEO page.
To highlight just how vital it is that you are optimising for these kinds of search, last year Google announced that already 20% of queries on mobile were voice searches, and Hitwise found that nearly 60% of searches are now from mobile devices. With the expansion of the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices and voice search facilities on mobile devices, people are increasingly being trained to use and utilise voice search, making the whole search process more engaging and dynamic. This is making the industry more exciting as well as challenging, as this is now something we now have to optimise for.
How to make sure your business has an effective mobile website
We already know that the way people search on a mobile device can be really different to on a desktop. One of the things Google has made clear however is that the quality of a mobile website should be on par with the desktop website of the same business.
1) The Basics – Check Your Website is Mobile Friendly!
I know this is a basic, but it’s good to cover all areas here for those who are new to optimising for mobile. Nowadays it is really important to make sure that your website is mobile friendly and must have a responsive layout. One good way to make sure that your website is mobile friendly, is to utilise one of the many free testing tools/software available on the web to check the mobile compatibility of your website.
2) The Need for Speed
We’ve all heard that user attention spans are dropping, and this is even more the case on mobile, so if you have a slow site it will be losing you customers and money. You need to be aiming at loading your pages in under 2 seconds, ideally under 1, for best results. Pingdom is a really good tool for assessing any issues with your page load speed time, or you can implement AMP to serve a simpler version of your site.
Just make sure whatever you do, you ensure that every page is covered; some people try to cheat and load AMP on just a few pages to trick Google into thinking it’s rolled our across the site when it’s not, and that’s just not going to provide a good user experience (and Google’s going to suss you out pretty quick too). Similary, make sure you test your site speed across your site, not just on your home page and landing pages, as users will likely land on blog pages or product pages targeting longtail phrases, so these need to load well too.
Pro tip: Speed optimisation isn’t a one-and-done SEO solution – you have to keep working at it, keep your site code uncluttered by clearing out unnecessary plugins and compress images as you go.
3) Build Trust
As we mentioned above, with mobile searches often being more longtail searches when users search using voice, many of them with likely first land on your site through content relating to their query or find a specific product they are looking for. In both the former and latter, you may not be looking to convert.
Hold the phone – what?!
Yes, we usually always would want to convert traffic, but we may not want to convert this mobile traffic just yet. Why? User intentions. The fact is, the vast majority of mobile users go on to do their research while on the go, to answer questions and get an idea of the product or service before they buy. If this is the case for your business then the focus needs to be on building trust and offering valuable and comprehensive information (so that users don’t want to go anywhere else).
To do this, check where your mobile users are landing first on your site and optimise these pages specifically to improve the user experience and the content. If they are landing on product pages, make sure that everything they need to know (or may want to find out) about that product is in easy reach, within a few scrolls or taps. Make sure information is clear and easy to read. For content pages, again make sure information is easy to read, and for longer articles, add in links to the various points in the article to users can jump to where they need to be. Add images or headers every few scrolls to keep the page visually engaging, or add…
4) Calls to action
Whilst you don’t want to be too sell-sell-sell on mobile (no-one hates it more when you’re having to endlessly scroll past ads) there’s nothing worse than a user who actually wants to buy, but can’t because the website design makes life hard for them. Having contact details and calls to action regularly dotted around your site to allow users who want to get in touch to do so is key on mobile, and something many businesses forget about.
Having fabulous content that inspires and powerfully persuades users to buy from you is wasted if they have to scroll 15 times to get to the top or bottom of your page. They’ll lose interest, and you’ll lose money. Don’t let it happen! We recommend to have your details/a call to action around every 2 scrolls.
How to Optimise for Voice Search
Optimising for voice search mainly comes down to the fact that people tend to search in longer sentences when using voice search – for SEO’s this makes targeting longtail keyword phrases a huge priority.
The reason for this is simply that users are more likely to ask questions in a more conversational manner; for example, if they are searching for the nearest Pizza place, instead of saying ‘Pizza place near me’, they will now more likely say ‘Where can I find pizza near me’.
5) Optimise for Long-tail Keywords
The simple answer to optimising for voice search is write content that answers the questions people are asking. You can find out what people are searching for by utilising a number of tools available on the web; two I love to use are AnswerThePublic.com and Storybase.com. Both have their benefits and limitations, but they can give you a good idea of some of the long-tails out there in your industry that you can optimise for.
Research around your niche and topics, bounce of keywords and ideas you find to collate a huge array of related themes and keywords. I hugely recommend downloading the plugin for Chrome Keywords Everywhere which allows you to see the search volume for keywords phrases you type directly into the search bar. From here you can then utilise the Related Searches section at the bottom of the page to root around and find some great related topics.
Once you’ve found these, combine as many similar long-tail phrases as you can where the answer will essentially be the same and write a comprehensive article on that topic. Create a video or infographic to accompany it if you can to boost your overall SEO, but remember that those using voice search may not be able to see more visual content, so having a simple text answer is your priority.
For many voice searches, users are expecting (or hoping) for their chosen interface to be able to read them back a direct answer, so the key is to make it to the featured snippet for that query. To do this, you need to mark up your content with schema (visit schema.com) for more details – or contact our team and we can do it for you!
6) Keep Looking for New Opportunities
With over 50 million searches a day being completely new to Google – that’s 15% of searches – there are new longtail opportunities popping up left right and centre. And you could be monopolising on them for your business! Not only is it important to do your longtail research for your niche, you need to keep doing it. Schedule time to do re-do your deep dives and see what you find. In some industries things may not change much, and if so, just look to dig deeper into the topics and phrases you already have. Get more comprehensive. Talk to customers. Find out what people in your industry want to know. But for those who have regular new longtail opportunities, you’ll not only hit the goldmine of content driven traffic, you’ll most likely find they give you some excellent insights into where the industry is moving as well as some heads up about future trends, so that you can adapt and improve your business according to customer demands. Powerful stuff.
So, that concludes our 7 exciting tips for mobile and voice search optimisation for this coming year (and beyond). We hope you found some valuable actionable information that you can apply to your business today, and if you have any questions about further things you can do to optimise for voice and mobile search, get in touch with our team for some free advice on your website. Alternatively, if you’d like to learn more about the SEO training we offer to business overs or other marketing agencies, head over to our SEO Training page.