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Google Voice Search Tips for Optimizing Your Website

Voice searches are not quite able to read your mind yet but it is getting there. Perhaps within a year or two it will become commonplace to perform very complex voice searches with your phone or computer. For this, you should be optimizing your site for voice search.

Top tips for optimizing for Google voice search.

Use structured data for all pages on your website.

There are many forms of structured data and it’s important you use the most applicable ones to improve search results.

  • Product or service pages: markup the price data, the business location, and the aggregate review ratings.
  • Homepage:  it should have local business structured data (location, contact info, hours of operation
  • Blog article:  author info, top comments,  aggregate review markup if you allow feedback in the comments.
  • Information pages: markup for questions and answers, FAQ markup, etc
  • About Us pages: people markup is important.
Sly tip: use the author box on articles and then link them to the about us page. This will help your site’s acceptance to Google News. Another untapped source of search traffic rarely talked about.

Choosing the correct information architecture for your site

Make sure you have a clear site structure in mind. Is it hierarchical? Are there pillar pages that feed into more specific pages? Is the site based on time-sensitive content? Is there a specific flow between pages that helps both user and Google understand your site?

Here are the most common site structures identified by SEO experts.

  • Hierarchical

This structure is logical and practical for almost all local websites with a limited range of services or products. A lawyer or a restaurant website should be in the hierarchical structure. The goal is helping Google understand your website without any confusion.

Image result for hierarchical site map
source: www.skyword.com
  • Sequential

For a website which requires customer consent before purchasing, this is the ideal structure. If signing of contracts before payment is part of your online business (for legal and customer service reasons) then sequential style of website makes the most sense. Although this probably won’t appear in Google voice search so easily, it is best to optimize a website for user intent before all other objectives. Google is constantly updating its algorithm and penalizing sites that attempt to confuse or trick users.

 sequential site map example
source: searchenginejournal.com
  • Matrix & Database models

These are most useful for very large sites. Either user-generated sites such as Etsy or Aliexpress or massive aggregators like reddit. For this reason, they are complex and often great for generating long tail traffic as the setup requires incredibly detailed metadata. Google voice search thrives on this kind of set up. Unfortunately, it is incredibly costly to set up and out of reach of most businesses.

https://slideplayer.com/slide/6347578/
source: https://slideplayer.com/slide/6347578

 

database website example
source: https://libguides.nus.edu.sg/c.php?g=332732&p=2236322

 

Just as site navigation is important for usability, so too for voice search. Google will not alert you which pages it cannot extract precision data from. Sometimes search console can provide warnings and errors but they do not give tips on optimizing your website for voice search as of 2019.

That structure would mean the dates determine which pages are at the top. Most recent at the top of the sitemap. Or is the site category dominant? A good example would be a travel blog that has top-level categories based on location. This is the cornerstone of the organization of the site. if it’s about mountains they could be categorized according to continents and the mountains in each country would be the secondary category. This is important for voice search because it allows Google to have a high degree of confidence what your site is about.

 

Keyword research is essential for voice search results.

People want to ask conversational questions when they are “speaking to Google voice assistant.”

“OK, Google, what is the best time of year to plant a vegetable garden?”

Google recently added supporting semantic questions to your search, you’ll see this on the search result page as “People also ask.”

Check these questions as to what you should highlight on your page with Htags and other forms of layout control you have on your pages.

SEO is important in this matter because there are popular keyword difficulty metrics such as Ahrefs keyword difficulty. A question you can provide the exact answer for should be emphasized so you can win the featured snippet.

Even for a competitive search term, there are long-tail possibilities. For example, you might not be able to rank for Best hotel in London, but there’s a pretty good chance you can gain the top spot for Best Hotel on Worthy Lane. make your content accurate and useful whenever possible. Overshooting your purpose in order to achieve higher rankings might not be ideal when it comes to optimizing for voice search.

How to identify Voice search queries through natural user behavior

Satisfying search intent, in this case, will get you far more traffic and generate more business for you. Spam doesn’t really work very well and Google is working harder than ever to ensure that users of search get what they really want.

If you are unsure what people are searching for in order to create questions and answers that satisfy searcher intent, try some of these techniques:

1. Check the related search terms

2. Check semantic search questions

3. Use search engines like answerthepublic.com

4. Perform social media surveys on topics related to the pages you are building. Either formal surveys or bring up the topic in Facebook groups or Reddit. Don’t spam forums though, this can actually penalize your SEO efforts.

Google My Business for Voice Search

Spell your services and brand correctly on your listing! Anything that helps voice automated search queries to be properly filtered in local search benefits your traffic. It was only a few years ago that directories were the best place to have your local SEO generate phone calls to your office. Things have definitely changed and now the #1 way to get more phone calls is to optimize your Google my business listing for the least sophisticated searcher.

Nowadays a significant amount of company sales comes through digital marketing. And while content marketing as a whole isn’t ideal for voice search (it’s far too nuanced and rarely answers strict questions), they can pop up with long tail voice search queries.

The amount of user data you can collect about your target audience is virtually unlimited on social media. Devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa are gaining massive popularity and already account for a rapidly growing segment of search queries.

In another post, I’ll cover how to collect user data on your site to create more relevant pages for your current and target user base.

So as you can see there are quite a few things you can do to prepare your site for Google voice search. Because let’s face it, the internet is convenient but it’s far from painless to achieve your desired search result, voice search is the next step in the evolution of  SEO.

 

Technical SEO Tips facebook

Duplicate Content Warning: when media attachment files index

Recently there have been reports of  WordPress websites indexing media attachments as pages on their own. This is a problem as it creates duplicate content on your site.

Normally you can redirect these images back to the parent page (ie, the actual blog page) but nowadays this option is nowhere to be found with the free version of Yoast.

Where did you go oh faithful redirect option in Yoast?

 

 

There are multiple solutions suggested for the problem. However, one warning from most in the know is that you should never handle the issue via robots.txt.

Update: A very easy fix popped up which renders this a minor issue from now on. Take that YOAST!

The easy steps to fixing the duplicate media attachment file issue.

After completing these steps, media attachments should not be a problem any longer. They simply won’t index.

  1. Find your xml sitemap and confirm that it has an xml url with the following: /attachment-sitemap.xml. If you see this you will need to request deindexing.
  2. Make a list of all the urls in the xml file by opening the sitemap for inspection.
  3. Collect the urls for submission in your search console/ webmaster tools. Not sure where that is? Check here.
  4. Install the bulk removal plugin on your site so that the files do not come up when your site is reindexed.

Why is this such a priority for SEO? Google will be unable to access the page to deindex it. You will hurt yourself twice and won’t know why you can’t get the page to stop appearing in your search.

Yoast used to be very helpful in this matter. They allowed you to deindex media attachments and it worked without incident. Recently, they have been pushing very hard to get WordPress site owners to upgrade to Yoast Premium and it’s been suggested that this is the reason why the deindexing option is not always available in your plugin settings as it used to be.


  1. How to check if your site has indexed media attachment files?

    Use this simple search string in Google search:
    site:yoursite[dot]com + inurl:”attachment” on Google.com

    The solution: Once you have deindexed these nasty attachment media files you’ll need to head over to search console and with the list of URLs you discovered above you’ll need to submit them for deindexing. This is time-consuming and sadly there is currently no tool on the market to speed up the process. Hopefully, you have a loyal and trusted assistant as most technical SEOs do nowadays who will plug these in and request they be taken out of the search results.

    As this can potentially be a serious duplicate content issue if you have 100s or 1000s of media attachments on your site, it is imperative that you find a solution to the problem before it affects

    a)your crawl budget 

    b)your quality score

    Both of these will directly affect your keyword rankings in search.

    Having trouble making sense of this technical SEO issue? Help is just a call away. Schedule an appointment with me below or simply reach out on facebook and I’ll get you sorted in no time. As I like to say, hard problems are no problem when it comes to SEO.