What is Voice Search Anyway?

November 24, 2019


The phrases “Hey Siri”, “Ok, Google”, and “Alexa” are fairly new additions to our technologically-savvy world, but they are phrases everyone should be paying attention to, especially if they have any hopes of remaining relevant. 


While these phrases didn’t mean much of anything only seven years ago (when Apple first introduced Siri), they are now a part of our everyday culture. In fact, nearly 1 in 6 Americans own a Smart Speaker, such as a Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomePod. Because users can speak search questions much easier and quicker than they could type them, voice search will only continue to become further rooted in modern societal ways of life. 


With this in mind, it's important for any and every internet business to understand the impact voice search has on SEO. After all, SEO is key when it comes to gaining more customers or a wider audience. To help you put two and two together, let’s briefly review just that: voice search and its impact on search engine optimization. 


Voice Search and the Impact on SEO


Put simply, Voice Search is exactly as it sounds – it allows you to search the internet for specific information using your voice rather than typing. For instance, when you say, “Ok, Google” to your phone and ask, “What does SEO stand for?” or ask Siri to find the nearest vegan restaurant, you’re using the voice search feature on your device. 


Usually, voice search is found on either smartphones or Smart Speakers. However, voice search is becoming readily available on laptops and tablets as well (for instance, Apple’s newest Macs are equipped with Siri). 




How Does Voice Search Impact SEO? 


Featured Snippets


For starters, studies have revealed that voice search results more or less favor the results that show featured snippets. If you’re not sure what featured snippets are, these are search results in Google that directly answer your search question, and therefore show first in the search results. For example, if you ask what day Christopher Columbus was born and a website precisely answers the question, Google will show that snippet of text (and a link to the site, of course) at the top of the search results. If you can rank in Google’s featured snippets, voice search may drive a massive amount of traffic your way. 


Start with Why (or Who, What, When, Where, How)


Back in the day, people used to refer to books or one another for answers to their questions. Nowadays, however, Google is the place where everyone looks for answers. Especially as it relates to voice, searches tend to be question-based, meaning people usually start their search prompt with ‘how to’, ‘what is’, and so forth. This means that if you want to improve your website’s SEO, it might be a good idea to include these key terms in your title or body. If you can answer questions effectively, you’ll have a greater chance of gaining a larger audience via voice search. 



Mobile or Nothing


Since a large majority of voice searches are made using a mobile device, it only makes sense for your website to be optimized for mobile browsing. If people visit your website and it looks funky or struggles to load, they will quickly leave, resulting in lower search rankings for your website. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile.

Create a checklist:

  • Complete yearly site audits on your website.

  • Check your website for page speed.

  • All Your images are optimized with alt tags.

  • Make sure your site is responsive and mobile ready.

Adopt Natural Language


It might be tempting for you to use prestigious words in your articles, but you might want to refrain from doing so (unless you’re writing a scholarly or research article, then go ahead). The truth is, people tend to shorten their search phrases to a few simple words rather than complex sentences. Google’s AI has caught on and adapted, and you should too by using Bert.

In today’s world, people search how they speak and voice search results are written at a 9th-grade reading level at most. If your articles are written in a conversational tone, you’ll have a much easier time ranking in searches. So remember, simple, easy-to-read content may help with voice search SEO.

Can You Review Voice Search Ranking?

There have been some initial conversations from Google on the reporting of voice search commencing 2018, there is currently no way to track anything related to it. However, it was reported that digital agency called Roast build a automation software that ran various queries and report for their clients. So for now, voice search is important to increasing brand awareness. It was reported that voice search eCommerce resulted in $1.8 billion in Amazon revenue and it is expected to increase to $40 billion by the year 2022.

Your likely be ahead of the competition if you continue to optimize your site for voice search now. 

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