SEO for Voice Search

By: Chris McCarthy

SEO for Voice Search

The expansion of technology and a demand for fast information has changed the way people search the Internet. Users now access search engines via their mobile and hands-free devices, often times using voice search as search queries. This has many asking how SEO experts should adapt to voice search.

As of February 2016:

  • Bing estimates 25 percent of all its search queries are voice according to Search Engine Land
  • Google estimates 20 percent of all its search queries are voice according to Search Engine Land

These percentages will continue to grow. Adults make up 41 percent and teens make up 55 percent of daily voice searches, which has doubled in the last year according to Search Engine Land. Products like Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s Siri have more people are gravitating towards the convenience of voice search. As these products evolve, voice search usage will only increase.

What effect does voice search have on SEO? There is no direct answer to this question, but here is what is known:

  • Voice optimized content is similar to optimized content best practices; it should provide valuable information that is important to the user in a conversational way.
  • Voice search is often long-tail keyword phrases with a user looking for an answer, so content should be optimized to reflect this.
  • Voice optimized content should focus on sentences and phrases and less on targeted keywords.

Voice search optimization all goes back to providing meaningful information to the user. This means focusing on how users are searching and delivering direct answers to user search queries in content. However, as content optimization evolves, there has been a major focus on incorporating semantic location-bases phrases. Because voice search is much more conversational, here is a list of principles to consider when optimizing for voice:

  • Voice has longer search queries
  • Conversational language has more question phrases
  • Conversational language tells intent clearly
  • Voice search focuses more on user’s local information
    • ex. “Best restaurants in Nashville, TN,” “Closest emergency room to me,” etc.

Adding more information about a location along with targeted keywords in a natural, fluid way is a step towards the evolution of content optimization. This is a great starting point as voice search becomes more prevalent.

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