Voice search SEO has long been flagged as one of the latest digital trends.
There are a growing number of branded virtual assistants such as Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana and Google's Assistant. These clever tech-helpers apply speech recognition to understand what users are saying before delivering highly customised results.
Since a majority of voice searchers are looking for local information, 4&5 Star hotels are a great fit for being found via voice search and it is an excellent tool for driving your hotel bookings.
The key is to make sure that you feature the facilities you offer in your luxury hotel in natural, conversational language.
In this article, we will offer some insights into why you should take advantage of this new technology and how to prepare your hotel website for voice search local SEO.
Step 1: Write the way you speak
Voice searches using smart speakers, mobile phones or even desktop computers are different from traditional text-based queries. People automatically speak in longer sentences with 3 to 7 keywords when using voice technology to search for information.
They might type "5 star hotel Dublin" into a search bar but they are more likely to ask out loud "what is the best luxury hotel in Dublin?"
Why is this important?
And of course, as more people use voice technology for everyday tasks, search engines such as Google place greater emphasis on voice search optimisation.
Your hotel's SEO plan needs to adapt by inserting more natural long-tail keywords into your content with 7+ words.
As an additional benefit, key phrases containing more than two words (for example "city centre hotel with a spa and a swimming pool") face less competition and have a better chance of ranking at the top of Google searches.
Step 2: Get featured with a snippet
These features aim to answer the user's question right away without even having to click on a link. It is often referred to as 'position zero' in SEO terms.
Why are they so important for voice optimisation?
When customers use voice to conduct the search, Google returns the featured snippet as the ultimate answer and this is what gets read out loud to the user.
Step 3: Create FAQ content
A top voice optimisation tip for hotels, which helps you to rank for multiple question keywords, is developing an FAQ page. This requires you to research the type of questions your target audience regularly pose to their voice assistants.
You create content which performs several functions such as increasing trust with your visitors, making their search easier and leading them to a conversion.
The content should be created based on conversational but specific questions. A great idea is to take each question and provide a fuller answer in a blog post.
Step 4: Go local
When creating content for your website, concentrate on search phrases related to your location as voice search tends to be more locally driven.
People need information on the go, so naturally many voice searches which are carried out on mobile devices have a local intent. As this report explains, voice search is 3x more likely to be local in nature.
Take 'where is the nearest 5 star hotel?' as an example. As well as your luxury credentials your website profile needs to include accurate location details, opening hours, contact details etc.
Businesses that use local content for their optimisation have a better chance of ranking well for voice searches.
Local search is especially important to 4&5 star hotels as they often offer additional amenities such as a restaurant, golf course or spa. Complete the Google my business profile for each entity with accurate information and updated images, reply to guest reviews, and answer guests' questions.
Step 5: get up to speed
Just like traditional search engine optimization, Google's voice search prefers websites which load swiftly. As users' attention span declines, speed has become one of the most important requirements for an e-commerce business.
Page load time will be a crucial factor in deciding whether your hotel website will show up in voice search results or not.
Think of your guests!
Guests using voice search to find your hotel are often on the move and likely to be in a hurry. Serve them better by offering his speedy experience.
- Quality photos are crucial to luxury hotels, but very large files can significantly slow down a site’s load time. Reduce image sizes by rendering them to proper dimensions and file type to speed up your website.
- Utilise third party platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo to host large video files.
- Enable browser caching so when guests return to your website, only a few components need to be downloaded again for their visit.
- Reduce the time to first byte – this is a measure of how responsive your website server is. You should be aiming for less than 200ms.
- Remember to uninstall any unused plugins.
Step 6: Prioritise mobile
According to Google, over 20% of all mobile queries are made through voice search. While many of these activities may only be 'incremental' search - such as asking Siri to look up a phone number or to play a song - it is still important to optimise your mobile website for voice search.
Follow these mobile best practice examples to help your hotel keep up with customer demands.
- Test your mobile site’s speed on a regular basis to ensure that it doesn't slow your business down.
- Implement a mobile-friendly design with intuitive features, easy navigation, clear call-to-actions as well as strong mobile SEO.
- Make sure that the mobile version of your site offers the same engaging content as your desktop website.
So, can we say that voice search has transformed the 4 and 5 star hotel booking experience?
At the moment the answer is no and it is likely to remain that way in the near future. The very essence of travel research is to browse photos, watch videos and read several guest reviews before committing to a destination. Currently voice search is not particularly suited to this process.
Can we say that hotels will benefit from voice searches?
A resounding yes. As bricks and mortar businesses, they will pick up custom from people looking for accommodation because of last minute changes to their plans or for add on services such as a great restaurant.
Hotels absolutely need to optimise for local search as potential customers use voice technology to look for nearby places.
The biggest takeaway here is that both search trends and customer expectations are constantly changing. Hotels must change with them to stay ahead of their competition.