Voice Search for the Travel Industry: 9 Steps to Optimize Your Site for Voice Search
Voice search is surging. In 2016, 20% of all mobile Google searches were done by voice. In 2019, it reached 50%. According to statistics released by Microsoft, voice search for hotels has seen a 343% increase in the UK alone, and flight search by voice saw a 277% year-on-year increase! Needless to say, it’s best you jump on this trend’s bandwagon. In this post we will dive into all the details regarding voice search for the travel industry and guide you through 9 steps to optimize your site for voice search.
Voice Search Optimization (VSO) vs. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Voice search optimization is not here to replace SEO, but rather to strengthen it. While SEO relies on search keywords, voice search optimization relies on conversational keywords. Conversational keywords focuses highly on long tail keywords, which is also key for high SEO rankings that drive traffic that converts. In order to achieve this, survey your customers and ask how they would verbally search for certain topics. If you want to get an idea on how people search for a certain topic related to your site, enter the search term in the site AnswerThePublic.
These natural language phrases are full of insights. You can get an idea of the consumer’s mindset and search habits.
How to appear in Google Snippets
If you have ever done a voice search, you will notice that many times, the Google Assistant will dictate what appears in the Snippet area. Due to that, it is key to implement a correct optimization strategy in order to appear in the snippet area for certain search terms.
While there is no way to guarantee to be featured in the snippet area, there are a few best practices to implement in order to increase your probability of being featured in the snippet:
1. Answer questions - After generating ad revenue, Google´s main objective is to enhance user experience by providing them the answers to their questions.
2. Answer the questions thoroughly- Most likely, you are not the only travel site answering a certain question. You need to "one up" your competition and respond to a certain question with more detail.
3. Aim for question-based keywords - These type of keywords require research and can’t be answered in a single sentence. The end result is that we want the user to actually click through to our site, and not just get their answer from the snippet. Create a “teaser” answer that will require the user to click through to read more.
9 Steps to Optimize Your Site for Voice Search
Build an elaborate FAQ page
Fast loading time
Get 5-star reviews
Become mobile friendly
Blog = responds users’ questions
Add SSL security
Long content ranks better
Simplify your language
Use Structured Data
1. Build an elaborate FAQ page
FAQ pages are usually created the day the site is launched, but afterwards, rarely is it updated. However, since voice search is based on conversational keywords, many times voice searches are questions asked by the user. What are the most common questions asked by your website visitors? Do they ask if you have hotel inventory for a certain destination? Do they ask about your payment terms? Create an elaborate and updated FAQ page that will answer as many potential customer queries as possible. You can go one step forward by.
2. Fast loading time
Fast page loading times are directly related to a great user experience, since web searches actually reach your homepage, as opposed to slow loading sites that users abandon while it’s loading. These factors positively impact your Google search results, which translate into optimization to voice search as well. Travel sites tend to have many images on each one of their URL pages. In order to improve your site loading speed, make sure to compress all of your images. In addition, reducing redirects, leveraging browser cache and improving server response times will all help with your loading speed. Test your site’s loading speed with this link.
3. Get 5-star reviews
If a user is using a search query for a solution that has multiple options, Google can provide that user with multiple options and will organize those options based on online reviews. Focus on accumulating 5 star reviews on Google my Business, Capterra, Trip Advisor and any other platform relevant to your travel niche.
4. Become mobile friendly
The vast majority of Google voice searches are done via mobile. So make sure your site is mobile friendly, since Google favors these sites when a mobile search is being conducted. If you want to do a quick check to see how responsive is your website, you can use this tool.
5. Blog = responds users’ questions
In addition to creating a detailed FAQ page, elaborate independent blog posts to answer your customer queries. What are the common questions people ask about your business? Can you convert the answers to those questions into 400+ words blog entries?
6. Add SSL security
Google favors websites that have an SSL security certification. The HTTPS protocol ensures the visitor and the Google’s bot that your website can be trusted. As a result, you will appear higher in search results and can potentially appear in voice search results as well.
7. Long content ranks better
SerpIQ conducted a study showing that on average, the #1 result in Google Searches has a bit more than 2450 words. Note in the chart below that on average, all first 10 results have at least 2000 words. If you want to appear in voice search results, make sure you create detailed and lengthy content.
8. Simplify your language
When people conduct voice searches, they ask simple questions. Make sure your sentences are short, use simple wording, and answer queries in as few words possible.
9. Use Structured Data
Structured Data, also known as Schema data, allows webmasters to provide search engines with additional data about the information on their site. In essence, it is “data about the data”. This allows webmasters to better describe to search engines what your site is about. If Google better comprehends what your site is about, this increases the chances of appearing higher up in search results.
The rise of popularity of voice search is indisputable. While currently the majority of searches are not focused on booking flights, hotels or other travel services, rest assure that soon your customers will be able to do that as well.