Emerging SEO trend: Voice Technology

Alexa dot and iphone awaiting voice commands

Alexa dot and iphone awaiting voice commands

Veronica Morrison is a Circle member and freelance SEO Specialist, and provides SEO consulting services to a wide range of businesses and site developers worldwide. In this guide, she shares her insights on an emerging SEO trend, voice technology, which includes services like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

Key terms and concepts

SEO (Search Engine Optimization): The method(s) by which we increase a website’s ability to be found by the users of search engines like Google. SEO refers only to organic (un-paid) search results and does not include paid results like PPC campaigns. 

Voice Technology: Refers to a user’s ability to submit their queries to a voice assistant like Alexa or Siri and have a search engine like Google provide them with the most relevant result for their query, through voice exchange on their device.

Google, the leading search engine in the world, dictates many of the ‘rules’ by which SEO is conducted. Google changes their algorithms (rules or instructions on how to catalog and present websites in search) about 500-700 times per year. 

Because of the speed at which search technology changes, SEO is constantly evolving and it is essential to stay ahead of emerging trends to take advantage of future standardized SEO practices.

For more Squarespace SEO basics, visit the help guide.

Voice technology in search

Voice technology, as it relates to site SEO is currently positioned where mobile technology was about 4-5 years ago. Leading digital marketers and professionals will optimize for voice technology now to be early adopters and be in a position to take advantage of future voice search functionality in the future.

The best way to understand the importance of voice technology on search is to read some of the recent studies that have been conducted on the subject. Several such studies have found that…

Half of all online searches will be voice searches by 2020. (Source: ComScore).
15% of the voice searches conducted included the question words, ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘best’. (Source: SEOClarity)

How to optimize your Squarespace site for voice technology

1. Incorporate search queries into your overall content plan. 

Consider what questions your target audience is asking, and answer those questions thoroughly in blog posts and succinctly in landing pages. 

Don’t forget to apply changes to your keywords and phrases to your page description, SEO description, and URL (if applicable) to maintain consistency.

2. Have a well-structured site map (submitted to Google via the Search Console).

A clean site map ensures that Google can index all parts of your site accurately which increases your chances of having a page served as a voice query result. Remove unused and outdated pages, clean up any broken links, and correctly name your URLs to update your Squarespace site map automatically. Then re-submit your map to Google.

3. Incorporate schema where applicable.

Schema is a type of microdata that provides Google bots with more detailed information, helping them understand your site content in relation to a person’s query. A detailed guide of how to use schema is provided on schema.org.

Schema is typically how sites are able to appear first in search engine result pages (SERPs), though you can’t control this placement, only optimize for it.

Types of schema markup include business information, events, people, products, recipes, videos, and reviews. So if you have any of these on your site, schema is a good thing to look at incorporating.

The easiest way to provide schema to Google is completing all of the fields in a product, event, or video description when you’re setting it up. 

However, you may find schema errors in Google Search Console. If that is the case, there are multiple methods to fix or fill in missing schema on your Squarespace site. Your best bet is to speak to an SEO specialist for your specific schema type requirements.

4. Ensure the site is mobile friendly

The days of mobile-first indexing are here. Google now crawls and indexes the mobile version of websites first, meaning that your mobile presentation and usability are more paramount than ever. Because Google hasn't published information on how they identify voice-optimized web content, we can assume that a mobile-friendly site will be the most optimized for voice as well.

While all Squarespace templates are inherently built to be mobile-friendly, you also have to put thought into how a mobile user would browse the site. 

Take the time to test your site on a mobile device. Look for things like usability and readability of menus and body text and overall speed and load time.

5. Keep an eye on the news

When you see articles relating to Google and voice technology, don’t skip over it. Read it and keep up to date on the latest so you can incorporate any changes into your sites.

While Google confirmed they receiving voice search data via the Google Search Console, they have not yet provided a way for users to filter that data. However, they have made it clear that this is something they are looking to add, so keep an eye out for it.

Special thanks to Veronica for sharing her expertise.
Find out more about Veronica’s work on
her website.

Written by Maddie Smith

Heather Shirin Neff