4 min 30 sec read
We live in a world of online marketing and SEO, there’s an oft-repeated phrase: “Content is King.” Polished, easy to read, and high-quality content is an essential part of any well-developed SEO strategy, and the rise of voice search in home builder marketing has done little to change this. In fact, it has actually made it even more important.
Welcome back to our series on SEO for voice search. If you’re joining us for the first time, be sure to get caught up with my first two articles for more information on what voice search is and how you can increase your chances of achieving success with this rapidly advancing technology. Today I’ll be discussing how improving your content can help push you up the ranking of voice search results.
I will primarily be focusing on the importance of readability for your website’s content. Also, the different ways certain voice search assistants prioritize backlinks and how your page’s optimization affects your results. Generating quality information will be a topic for another article. As this guide will primarily focus on ways you can improve your existing content to increase your SEO and voice search viability.
When creating content, you should be primarily focusing on creating high-quality content that is both unique and informative. But it’s equally important to ensure that your content is easy to understand for the average consumer. Findings indicate that the top returns from voice searches are at roughly the reading level of an average 9th grader, so keep this in mind.
That is essentially the reading level of a Harry Potter book. Presenting your content at this level means 80% of your audience will be able to comprehend your website. Google places a very high degree of importance on readability. In addition, the algorithms they use prioritize well-written, well-structured content that is simple to understand.
Interestingly, Android voice assistants consistently return answers with fewer complex words than Google Assistant does. This split seems to be a result of Android smartphones returning both a visual and audible result while smart speakers like the Google Home are purely audible.
Top-level content is great, but making sure it has high visibility is also important. Generating backlinks to other websites that post quality content, and links from other websites that lead to your content help push you up Google’s search rankings. Since being a high ranking result is one of the best ways to appear in a voice search, you must use backlinks.
However, different voice assistants place different value on backlinks on a page. Google Assistant, used in the Google Home and Mini as well as the Pixel, returns results with anchored backlinks slightly over 50% of the time.
Meanwhile, Android phones returned few results with backlinks. Those sites performed consistently under average compared to their ratings on other assistants, including traditional search results.
These websites did not necessarily do worse. As a whole on Android, the sample size of the study returned results below the remaining average and there is a lack of relevance for backlinks here. They don’t hurt your chances of ranking as a result. Rather they just don’t seem to help it here either.
While Apple, on the other hand, seems to be more compatible with voice search features. In fact, Apple is only going to improve the accuracy of voice search features. For example, according to the new features of the iOS 13, Apple improved voice with neural TTS, added Siri intelligence and can even recognize the voices of family members.
An important point to add is that Android phones have access to a variety of voice assistant apps, including Google Assistant. Because of the Google Assistant’s popularity, we still recommend backlinks should be a main focus of your optimization efforts.
The last topic I will cover in this article is the load time of your web pages. Another key factor in Google’s ranking algorithms, faster load times are an absolute SEO advantage. Across all tested voice assistants, the returned voice search results tend to be between 50% to 70% faster.
These numbers speak volumes for themselves. Load times are something you have to address to compete in voice search results. Well laid out content, properly optimized images, light and efficient graphics, and a streamlined code are all necessary for your website to shine in the search results for both traditional and voice searches.
Again, there is an interesting difference between Google Assistant and Android’s voice search options. Google Assistant places more relevance on the page speed. Returning answers that are approximately 200 milliseconds faster than the average result for Android.
For reference, the average load speed of pages provided by Android in studies are 416 milliseconds. The results from Google Assistant average at just over 231 milliseconds.
Meanwhile, the average speed of the other top 10 results that were not returned as a result are 2,907 milliseconds or just under 3 seconds. Such a small difference for such a drastic change in results highlights why fast load times are important.
There was a small study done by CNBC which compared Google voice assistant to Apple’s Siri and Google won almost every time. Google presented new options which allowed the user to dig deeper into every topic. Although you can launch apps with Siri, Google’s assistant lets you type in queries. Overall, both have their strengths and differences.
Hopefully, this series has been informative. I hope you come away from it with a better perspective on how you can make your website the best it can be. Voice search is a new and exciting opportunity for any home builder, but the challenges that come with it are notable.
It will require a well thought out plan, an excellent website, and lots of upkeep to ensure your success in this realm. However, the results are definitely worth the effort. What are you currently doing with your website to improve voice search compatibility? Share your methods below or ask questions in the comments.
About Terry Zelen
Creative Director | Consultant | Author | President of Zelen Communications
Terry Zelen is a seasoned Creative Director with more than 35 years of experience in Home Builder advertising and marketing.
He is the founder of The Punch List, which is an online blog to help inform home builders and developers on strategic marketing insights to fuel their firm.
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