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4 Website Priorities For Voice Search Optimization

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More than ever before, customers research online before they make a purchase decision. Too often, B2B companies make their customers work too hard to find the information they need. Despite the constant chatter about user-friendly content, many B2B websites still aren’t set up for voice search optimization with the end user in mind.

Patty Parobek, Director of Integrated Marketing Strategy
March 4, 2019

Originally published in Adotas

In the new age of voice search, SEO, and competition for consumer attention, failing to set up a B2B website for voice search optimization is a costly mistake for companies.

When considering a website redesign, the most important things to focus on are what user experience expert Gerry McGovern calls “top tasks.” These are the critical functions website visitors seek to accomplish, and they often are buried among other internally prioritized initiatives. Failing to focus on voice search optimization and your visitors’ top tasks will impede their ability to find what they are looking for. This negatively impacts their overall user experience and also the website’s ability to rank for key searches.

Let’s consider a construction company website with the goal of selling services locally. The website’s current homepage is taken up by news about the company’s sustainability goals, a blog post about the company’s 100th anniversary, and an article about employees’ recent charity work. Although these might seem like topics that local building owners would be interested in, the website analytics reveal that website visitors instead use the site navigation to locate the local portfolio of recent jobs and information about what industry sectors the company specializes in. The company is essentially making the customer dig around for the information for making decisions instead of presenting that information easily and quickly.

Like all great marketing, a successful site redesign should start with the end user in mind.

By focusing most prominently on what the visitor is directly looking for, you will greatly improve the overall user experience on your website. Companies should research which tasks visitors perform most often and what information they want to get first and foremost from their websites. Once established, marketers can connect customer behaviors to KPIs and make better websites.

Website Design Priorities for Better Voice Search Results

Website redesigns in 2019 should consider both what customers want to accomplish and how they plan to get there. B2B user research in 2019 uncovers new buyer behaviors that must be accounted for in new website design. Voice search is now one of the most discussed optimization topics in website design for a reason. Demand Gen reports that 61 percent of B2B buyers begin their research with general search queries. By 2020, 50 percent of searches will be voice searches. The world has changed, and B2B site design must change with it.

Whether informational and product searches come to your website through Google on a browser, Siri through an iPhone, or an Alexa on an office desk, these four components are critical for incorporating the new state of voice search in your B2B website redesign:

1. Long-tail content

Voice search is conversational. People treat voice assistants like real assistants: “Hey Alexa, what movies are playing tonight?” Customers will ask questions, not plug search terms into a text field.

In order for a website’s content to rank in voice search results, host content optimized to answer those spoken questions. Create blog posts that address common needs. Break up Q&A and FAQ sections into individual pages, then title them exactly as customers will likely phrase their questions. Don’t be afraid to address specific or one-off questions that aren’t necessarily your main message; this is the long-tail content that voice searches will scan for. Anticipate what people want to know specifically and provide answers that are easily accessible.

2. Speed

Just as Google optimized its search experience to satisfy the growing demand of mobile phones, the growth of voice search will cause even more focus on searchers’ preferences.

Just as Google optimized its search experience to satisfy the growing demand of mobile phones, the growth of voice search will cause even more focus on searchers’ preferences.

The faster the website can produce answers for a searcher, the better it will satisfy the searcher, and thus, the higher it will rank in all search channels. So get rid of those giant, uncompressed images that you are using only for aesthetic purposes; big images are major contributors to slowdown. With about half of visitors willing to abandon a website after three seconds, fast load times are essential. Make sure to check out Google’s free tool to measure webpage speed to see your personalized recommendations for improvement.

3. Locality

Search Engine Land reports that 82 percent of smartphone searchers conduct “near me” searches. What’s more, Google in recent years has seen a 500 percent increase in local searches that contain buyer-intent phrases like “to buy.”

The percentage of local product and company searches made by voice will only continue to grow. As a first step to take advantage of this trend, every business should claim its free Google business listing to ensure its local listing is up-to-date in Google’s business index. Additionally, any B2B company that does local business should ensure that its company name, address, and phone number are easy to find on the website and in notable local directories.

4. Schema.org markup

Schema.org helps B2B businesses build their websites with search engine optimization in mind, similarly to Sitemaps.org. This tool looks at the data and structure of a website and shows how to optimize the website for better searching. Markup metadata on Schema.org will be critical to the future of voice search optimization because of structured data’s ability to help search engines classify information. This markup can apply to multiple areas, including businesses, events, people, reviews, and more.

Many of these rules apply equally to B2C companies, but B2B operations should not overlook the importance of voice search. Executives and decision makers are still people, and they search the same way everyone else searches.

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During the next redesign of your B2B website, start with user research to understand your buyers’ top tasks and research scenarios. Use the results to spot opportunities to strengthen the website’s influence in a world where voice search is fast becoming the norm.

With 10+ years of experience in marketing, Patty specializes in search, lead generation, and a customer-first strategy across the holistic buyer journey.

Patty Parobek, Director of Integrated Marketing Strategy

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