Voice Search SEO: How to Optimize for Voice Search

Voice Search SEO: The Definitive Guide 2020 - How To Align Your SEO Strategies To Win For Voice Search?

Published Under: SEO | Voice Search
Last Updated: September 21, 2020
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“Voice Search” is another latest addition to the list of SEO expert headaches.. Well, not the latest anymore, in fact, voice search is not a thing of the future but the present. And another interesting fact is, most websites are, unfortunately struggling. It is only natural given that as voice search technology experiences developments, market expectation also shifts accordingly. Don't worry, you are in safe hands. In this article, We have compiled the best tips that can help you in balancing the SEO strategies and rank your website for search listing and voice search.

Asad Butt

Speech recognition is a significant innovation that continues to increasingly pervade the world of business. In fact, the global market for voice search devices such as Google Home, Echo Dot, and Microsoft Cortana has exponentially grown to 187% in the second quarter of 2018. This fact only goes to show that the way people use the digital platform for search has changed in the past decade.

Every second Google processes multiple queries, and this is growing steadily every year. While the need for instant answers has not changed with time, what has changed is the way we search and google presents the information.

This completely alters the dynamics and scenario of digitalization. Voice search technology has become very advanced, adding many new additions in the digital framework. Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning have all aided the advancements in voice search.

The inception of Siri back in 2011 was a one of the major milestones.

It became the means to curb the efforts required during the research.

Indeed, Siri was a cool test providing the users with informative and other time laughable responses through voice detection. But since then Voice Search has experienced many changes.

Fun Fact: Did You know more than 20% of voice search queries are triggered by a combination of only 25 keywords.
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What Is Voice Search?

Voice Search is the speech recognition technology that enables the user to conduct a search by saying aloud rather than typing long texts.

This algorithm ingests the user’s voice command, searches for the queries and presents relevant information. Also, it enables multiple interactive sessions with the user that allows the software to clarify their request.

The combination of advanced technology and a means to solve the queries has become increasingly popular worldwide. The people across the globe search for multiple queries using voice search.

The concept is really simple - it’s searching the web through voice input as opposed to typing it on a search bar. The difference is in the way users structure their search.

Let’s say you live in Beverly Hills and are looking for a pastry shop that specializes in wedding cakes; if you are typing on Google, you would probably put in the phrase “popular wedding cake bakeries in Beverly Hills,” but if you are using voice search, you will say something more conversational like “Hey, Google, direct me to the nearest wedding cake shop.”

Voice Search, at its very core, is essentially a solution designed to satiate our constant hunger to do things faster and more efficiently. So to get you started, we’ve rounded up anything and everything that you could possibly need to get a solid understanding of Voice UI and how you can use it to boost your business and improve conversion rate.

How Voice Search Works?

A Voice Search is considered successful if it is able to understand a person’s query and offer a relevant, rational, and user-friendly response. To make this happen, what we call Natural Language Process or NLP is required. This is something that’s embedded into Google’s algorithms, specifically Hummingbird and Rankbrain. The role of NLP in Voice Search is to check, analyze, and evaluate five key components of a user’s voice query in order to serve a coherent answer:

1. Phonology

Analysis of the organization of sounds in speech such as syllable structure and intonation.

2. Morphology

Analysis of word parts and formation such as base words, suffices, plurality or even compound words.

3. Syntax

Analysis of grammar and sentence structure in relation to a user’s natural language.

4. Semantics

Analysis of context and meaning which includes word relations, reference, and logical form.

5. Reasoning

Analysis of user intent and planning in the context of the voice query being made.

Voice Search Future

All tech-companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have incorporated voice-enabled AI assistants. These are widely used to refine their queries for better results during the search.

Industry Analytics believes that in 2020 voice search traffic will account for more than 25% of the regular search engine traffic. This increase in the use of voice search artificial intelligence is a clear sign of a constructive future.

But the question arises, Is voice search sufficient to be on the top of the marketing trend? If not, then what are the other factors that must be looked upon?

According to research, 50% of search done online will be conducted via voice by this year, so to answer the question - YES. Voice Search is the future of SEO.

Just look around - smartphone models are equipped with voice assistants because it’s a convenient way to do search hands-free.

The instances are daily occurrences- you’re driving and trying to find your way, so to be on the safe side, you ask your phone to show you the best route. Or you are holding bags of groceries and want to know the closest cafe where you can take a minute to yourself.

But while voice speech recognition is extremely useful and relevant in a generation that’s fast-paced and ever changing, the number of businesses armed with a good Voice Search SEO is still low. This means that there is a great opportunity to meet your market at a micro-moment; a time when they are more likely to convert into a lead.

Voice Search SEO

Voice Search is ranking high on the list of marketing trends for many years and is expected to be on the same track for coming years too.

But managing your SEO efforts concerning voice search can pave the way for business leaders for substantial growth. They have the knowledge of managing the SEO efforts.

Trying to optimize for voice search using the same strategies won’t lead your business ahead in a competitive world.

Earlier, we discussed how to optimize your brand for Voice Search, here we will highlight the top five differences between the two. Our goal here is to give you a basic idea on what you should do to not miss out on the growing need for strong Voice Search SEO.

Here are some tips that can help you in balancing the SEO strategies and rank your website for search listings in response to voice search.

Use Natural and Moderate Language

There is a significant difference on how people express themselves on written and verbal mediums. This is something you have to consider when choosing your keywords and structuring your content. For instance, your market type in “high-rise condominiums” and “automotive rentals” but are more inclined to naturally say “high-rise condos” and “car for rent.”

In this light, it’s important to find the perfect balance on your content, so you’ll be able to address both types of searchers. For example, you can use short-tail keywords as header tags or titles, but opt for natural language on your long-form and supporting content.

The language of content plays a critical role in ranking your website.

With the quality of reliable and upgraded voice recognition system, the voice search has the ability to adapt quickly to the day-to-day language we use.

The developers of voice recognition systems analyze the user’s queries and then they develop the system accordingly. This enables the system to quickly adjust to the learning process and understand the natural language spoken by a human.

The tone and language used in your online content should be natural and moderate.

Using posh, uncommon vocabulary and sophisticated words may bring your website ranking down.

If the tone gets too formal, the algorithms won’t consider your content as a feasible response to voice search queries.

Your content should have a clear, moderate and conversational language that can enable your website to rank top in the searches.

Fact Check: More than 20% of voice search queries are triggered by a combination of only 25 keywords.
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Long Tail Keywords

Normally, SEO concepts are all about relevant keywords and great and unique content.

When a user performs a search using a search engine, they might end up writing two words or more.

But when a user uses voice search, is likely to speak lengthy keywords. This happens because while talking, we make use of descriptive sentences. As per the search of Backlinko, it is found that voice searches are mostly 29 words long and involve conversational language.

This means online content should contain relevant keywords that are most likely to be spoken.

It increases the chances of the website to be viewed in the search engine.

Voice Search is all about framing queries in a more conversational format. Here, searches and commands come in full sentences and are much more extensive and detailed which could also mean deeper intent and more qualified leads.

No worries, you don’t have to go in blind, here's a quick study by SEO Clarity on the types of SERP ranking queries usually used in Voice Search:

Embedded content: https://www.brightlocal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/best-keywords-for-voice-search.jpg

So from a type-search keyword like “best digital agencies near me,” a Voice Search could be “What are the best digital agencies near me that offer SEO and website design?

SEO Strategists must try to make use of long-tail keywords rather than short-tail keywords in 2020. This will improve visibility and increase the probability of conversion.

Semantic Searches

Google and other search engines are likely to use Semantic Searches Algorithms, rather than lexical searches.

Semantic Searches attempts to provide the users with the contextual meaning for the terms used. This search makes use of various factors including geolocation, search history, spelling variations and location of an individual. Using these factors enables the search engine to find the pertinent data.

Algorithm called Google’s Rankbrain, which is an artificial intelligence system which helps Google to process search results, recognizes various words and phrases and provides the user with relevant search results.

The independent ability of this system enables us to carry the query in a sophisticated manner. Also, Hummingbird is another Algorithm by Google which recognizes the natural language by the user. This program enables the search results to be contextual and relevant.

Search Engine Research Pages (SERPs)

SERP Optimization is crucial to rank in the top three positions in the search engine result pages and voice search optimized websites have an upper hand.

Chances are if your page ranks in the top three, it might get the winning spot for voice search queries as well. With voice search, there is only one spot, the top one. It's all or none.

It is not necessary to acquire the first position on SERP to appear on the top in the answer boxes. If your website is providing the users with relevant results to the queries, then they will appear on the top of the featured snippets and also as a result for a voice search query.

To appear on the top of the featured snippet, your website should be optimized and should contain relevant information.

The marketing team can learn and improve on content writing tactics which will help them to learn the basics of using an appropriate keyword for optimized voice search content. For guide to

All the contents should have proper and logical answers to users queries and keywords. The efficient way to appear is to use reliable keywords that are most likely to be used by the users.

Search Intent And Question Phrases

Keeping answers for the search terms for voice voice queries short and straightforward is the right way.

Using terms as headings that users are most likely to utter is one of the best ways to go for voice search optimization.

Question Phrases is another factor that can influence your website ranking.

Using the most common question phrases like where, when, why, what and how are preferred. We humans tend to search for their information with question phrases. Headings in the form of questions are more likely to match to voice search queries.

This factor turns out to be beneficial as it allows creations of questions and answer format targeted to voice searches.

Create content that is grounded on answering questions

Voice Search relies heavily on a person framing their search through a complete question, so it’s not entirely surprising if they expect answers that directly address those. Our advice is a strategy that’s not only easy, but also proven and tested - publish a dedicated FAQ page on your website.

Collect the most frequently submitted inquiries you receive through your site, email, or social media then set up a page, so you can draw your market in at the time of their specific need. You may also use web accessibility resources such as Answerthepublic and StoryBase to identify your site’s top FAQs.

Voice Assistants In Marketing

The onset and continuing growth of voice search is becoming a contributing factor in the changes we see in marketing today. To give you an idea, here are five ways voice assistants are transforming the way businesses should do their marketing:

1. It’s putting a spotlight on Featured Snippets

Featured Snippets are specifically selected search results designed to answer a user’s question instantly without having them click on a particular website. These usually appear on top of organic results just below paid ads.

Since the majority of voice search queries are structured in question format, Google has been known to pull the most direct and relevant answers from sites. To take advantage of this, make sure to present a potential query in a subheading using an h2 markup and the direct answer close to the question in a p markup. This makes it easier for search engines to read through your content and pull out the most relevant information.

2. It’s yielding better content and brand stories.

Voice Assistants are pushing brands to explore more creative ways to craft content. At the end of the day, the popularity of Voice Search owes to the fact that consumers want better customer experience. It’s not about who you are as a company, but what you can do to make your audience’s lives easier. From this standpoint, being top-of-mind of your target market means communicating in their preferred language - more narrative and natural.

3. It’s driving variety in advertising

As Voice Assistants encourage brands to change their content strategy, it’s only expected that advertising will, too. While Voice Search devices like Alexa and Google have yet to capitalize its advertising potential, it’s a very likely future scenario.

To quote adjunct marketing professor Robb Hecht of Baruch College,

“In the future, we can imagine a pick-your-own-story type advertising, so, for example, if Ford wanted to advertise on Alexa, they might do so within a skill about ‘how to buy a new car.’
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4. It’s enhancing personalization

Both Google Assistant and Alexa have capabilities for individual voice print identification. For instance, a husband giving a voice command such as “Show me the direction to my favorite coffee place.” will receive an entirely different result compared to his wife with the same order.

With Voice Search being at such a relatively young age, there is more room for innovation like factoring in accent and tone.

5. It’s helping generate web traffic

It’s found that 99.58% of Featured Snippets are taken from sites ranking on the top 10 of search results. So, in the context of Voice Search, it can actually help you generate more traffic to your site as a user normally looks for supporting content to validate the initial answer provided after a Voice Search query.

In fact, Voice Assistants usually provide search results to give you the freedom to choose which content you find more relevant to your question, so at the end of the day, it’s all about being able to attend to the intent of a searcher.

Voice Search And Local SEO

Based on research, those who utilize voice search through their mobile phones are three times more likely to inquire about local-specific information. “Near me” searches are common on Voice Assistance, so it’s paramount that you not only exert effort in your Voice Search SEO, but also on Local SEO. Here are a few things you can do to make this happen:

  • Sign up for relevant online directories such as Google My Business or Yelp.
  • Open up avenues for your past and existing clients to leave reviews about their experience.
  • Make sure your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) are consistent across all digital platforms.

If you want to learn the ropes, you can check these Google-published tips or give their Structured Data Markup Helper a try.

Focus on mobile responsiveness

With mobile devices providing a more convenient way to use Voice Assistants, you can expect that the majority of Voice Search users prefer it more than desktops.

Add that to the fact that Voice Search results load 52% faster than average pages, then brands are definitely pushed to create a mobile-first business website in order to give users a good digital user experience.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Analyze how mobile-friendly your site is through Google’s free tool which can provide you previews and recommendations.
  • Keep images and file sizes to the optimum minimum to improve mobile load and page speed.
  • Focus on conciseness when it comes to content. It should be direct, clear, and helpful without requiring a long scroll.
  • Make elements easily clickable, readable, and mobile-responsive, so it’s easy to use no matter the device.

Voice Search Benefits For Businesses

The voice search innovation is contributing to search engine optimization for sure, and it is expected to yield more benefits in 2020.

With the aforementioned tips, you can easily rank your website and utilize voice search to your advantage.

New technology has given entrepreneurs and business leaders massive opportunities to explore and reach out to prospective customers.

Being an excellent method for all scale businesses to attract customers, voice search along with SEO helps in benefiting the business. Here are some benefits Companies can avail using SEO trends of voice optimization.

Voice Search Optimization Increases Website Traffic

Before creating and uploading any content, it is necessary to look up the needs and demands of the users.

Publishing the content with reliable resources and often used keywords will lead to more traffic to your website.

Voice Search Optimization Raises Brand Awareness and Visibility

Voice Search Optimized content helps in proving the visibility of the websites.

It uses relevant keywords that are most likely to be used by the people for their voice search.

When people search through voice search, the results returned are kind of endorsement for a website, product or a brand by Google.

Most often, at the end of the answer, the voice assistant mentions the name of the website where the answer is taken from.

This is like free advertisement for a brand, helping improve visibility and awareness.

Voice Search Optimization Can Direct More Users To Your Website

Once the users are fascinated with the answer provided by your website's content, they are most likely to head to your website.

Your website should be captivating in terms of visibility and content, satisfying the needs of users. Doing this will lead the users to your stop to buy the product or service.

Voice Search Optimization Can Help With Effective Conversion And Sales

For better conversion and sales, your website should satisfy the customer in and out all.

All the needs regarding the product and service should attract the customers. To appear in the product or service, make use of keywords that are likely to be used by the user for search.

Final words

Now, Voice Search is not restricted only to the norm of Search.

It is evolving in an efficient manner and is expected to out grow other SEO technologies in an exclusive way. It is providing its users an abundance of opportunities.

With all this information at hand, knowing and maximizing the full marketing potential of Voice Search is crucial to staying relevant in the online marketplace. And while it’s not yet a platform as saturated and overused as normal search, now is the perfect time to take advantage and get ahead in the game

To sum up, voice search in relation to search engine optimization is clearly changing the dynamics of digitalisation and is expected to communicate and connect with the audience more.

And the businesses are expected to experience considerable benefits with this.

Earn links that produce results. Create content that wins traffic

Meet The Author

Asad Butt

Asad Likes anything creative, but mainly, developing web-applications, optmizing websites for search engine algorithms and writing about all stuff creative.

He could be reached at LinkedIn or Twitter. He is also an active contributor at stackovrflow.com

Learn more about Asad Butt


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