Digital Marketing

How to Get Your School Ready for Voice Search

July 24, 2019

Consumer purchases for smart speakers and smart home tech are rapidly increasing. Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are fast becoming an integral part of the family. By 2020, ComScore estimates that 50 per cent of all searches will be voice searches.

What does this mean for your school? It’s time to start thinking voice-first when it comes to your online presence. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean a huge overhaul of your current online strategy. Rather, it means putting a little extra effort into two things that you are likely already doing.

Ready to optimise your school website for search? Let’s dive in.

Use ‘natural language’ (or write like a human!)

Throughout the Digistorm blog, you’ve likely seen us bang on about keywords and search terms. We’ve told you to use keyword research tools. We’ve taught you how to pick the best keyword for your blog post. We’ve demonstrated how to include keywords in your meta title and description.

These things are all important. They show search engines what your webpage is about, and what kind of searches it should be appearing for. But there’s a catch -- up until now, you have likely been focusing on keywords that are typed into search engines, for example, girls + school + sydney.

Thinking voice-first means using the same language your audience uses when they speak. You can do this by:

1. Making sure your content is simple and easy-to-read.

Backlink.io studied 10,000 Google search results and they found that the average Google voice search result uses language at a 9th-grade reading level or lower. This means your school would do well to cut the technical and archaic language and write plainly.

2. Mastering the long-tail keyword.

People searching using voice will often use commands, “Tell me St Margaret’s uniform shop hours” or a question “What are some all-girls schools near the Sydney CBD?”. This means you will need to optimise your content to match phrases, rather than keywords.

 

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Source: Backlink.io

 

Find out more about mastering the long-tail keyword in our guide to choosing the right keyword for your blog post.

 

Make sure your business listings are up-to-date

This recommendation isn’t directly tied to your website, but still important nonetheless! Local businesses, including schools, need to ensure they have claimed and optimised all their online listings to capture potential voice searches. Search engines are likely to prioritise listings when the user adds a locational modifier (such as “Sydney” or “near me”) to their search.

Your school will likely be listed in a few different places, including:

  • Google My Business
  • Bing Places for Business
  • School comparison sites, such as Good Schools Guide and My Schools
  • Directories, such as The Australian Schools Directory
  • Your state’s Department of Education website

Our recommendation if you are time-poor is to start with your Google My Business listing. These listings will either be set up and managed by you or created by a third-party with the ability for viewers to make edits.

Voice assistants will scrape the information that they find on local listings to provide quick answers to localised searches. Having correct information available on your local listings is crucial to ensure users get a correct answer to searches such as, “What is Brisbane Boys’ College address?”

 

Check out our handy guide to claiming and optimising your Google My Business listing.

 

Have you considered voice search as a part of your website strategy this year? Tweet us and tell us how!