Voice search tops nearly every list of 2020 marketing trends. However, there are still a number of questions that surround the trending technology and how it will shape the future of marketing. Specifically, SEO.

We break down the truth about voice search, how it’s changing SEO and optimization best practices for the impending voice search revolution.

What is Voice Search?

Voice search is any technology like Siri, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant that takes a voice query and delivers a result. Depending on the device, the result may be spoken or displayed on-screen.

In the case of a spoken result, there is typically only one answer provided. On the other hand, on-screen results typically offer a few. With the way voice search appears to be headed, more devices are attempting to satisfy searchers’ queries with a single spoken result, ultimately increasing competition in SEO.

Why Voice Search Matters

Over the past few years, the amount of voice queries has grown tremendously–35x since 2008–and is predicted to continue to grow as voice-based devices become more accessible. Voice search is 3.7x faster than typing, which also contributes to its rise in popularity. 

With younger generations already using voice search features and as the technology improves, adoption will only increase. Even in its infancy, voice search has already altered SEO by changing both queries and the results delivered.

How is Voice Search Impacting SEO?

Voice search is impacting SEO in the types of queries and the result delivered.

  • Types of queries

Compared to traditional text search, voice search queries are more conversational. In other words, people speak differently than they type. Queries are often longer and more question oriented, which changes the optimal approach to SEO. Additionally, “Near Me” searches have been growing exponentially over the past few years as location technology continues to improve and voice search becomes more commonplace. Here’s an example that illustrates the difference between text and voice searches:

Text searches in the past: “Pizza near me”

Voice searches today: “Where is the best pizza place near me that is open now and accepts cash?”

Voice search queries tend to have additional attributes that regular text queries typically don’t. More specifically, ratings, hours of operation and financial information require more specific, relevant results.

  • The results delivered

As stated earlier, voice search results can be delivered via voice or on-screen. In the case of the former, if your result isn’t first, it’s last, so it’s paramount that the website answers questions clearly and concisely for the best chance to be the selected result. 

Several studies have shown content that ranks well on desktop searches is also likely to rank well in voice search. As Google and other search engines focus on becoming more answer-oriented, results that are both complete and specific are going to perform best. In fact, these same studies showed that more than 40% of voice search results were from featured snippets.

How to Optimize for Voice Search

Keep in mind that while optimizing for voice search can be different from optimizing for traditional text queries, similar principles apply. For example, optimizing for voice search is quite similar to optimizing for featured snippets. Create content that people are searching for and clearly answer their queries.

Tips to optimize for voice search include:

  • Target long tail keywords
  • Use natural language
  • Create FAQ pages and local content
  • Optimize Google My Business profiles
  • Reduce mobile load time

If you’re interested in optimizing your presence on Google, elevating your SEO strategy and preparing for voice search, contact us.