What is Voice Search and How Does it Impact SEO?

Just like mobile has taken over desktop for overall search volume, we are now seeing something very similar with voice search over text searches. As technology advances, so does the way consumers use it, with more and more people using voice search to get the answers to their questions instead of typing them into a search box. Here we explain what voice search is, and how you can take advantage of this latest search trend to help increase your SEO with Google Voice Search.

As mobile devices such as smartphones are becoming more readily available, more people are using the technology bestowed to them to make life that little bit easier for them when searching the web for products or services. What essentially started with Siri — the voice search system on Apple iPhones — has now become a universal commodity for the major technology providers. Noticing a small gap in the market, Amazon released the Amazon Echo — a device which users know as ‘Alexa’ asking for anything they want — be it a general web search, order items and even tell jokes, much the same as Siri. Google made a voice search option available on their Android OS for mobile devices, and not to be outdone by Apple, they released ‘Google Home’ — their own voice device, and Microsoft developed ‘Cortana’ which is their own voice search operation available on desktop and mobile.

Siri Voice Search App

When did this all happen?

Although Google voice search has been commercially available for around 4 years, its popularity has really boomed within the last 12 months, with the majority of users jumping on board the voice search wagon within the last 6 months.

· 41.8% within the last 6months

· 19.0% between 6 months and 1 year ago

· 18.7% between 1 and 2 years ago

· 9.5% between 2 to 3 years ago

· 11.3% more than 3 years ago

With the major technology companies competing to incorporate voice activation in as many useful products as possible, voice search is set to become a part of everyday life. Apple has ‘Apple Play’ which allows users to have full control over their media in their cars and home entertainment systems, and Google Automotive allows users to manage all aspects of media and communication while on the road. Many devices are now able to allow people to have complete automated control of their homes, enabling them to use voice commands to turn lights on and off, control heating — the list is endless.

But what are people asking?

While voice commands can be configured to be anything the user wants them to be, voice web searches tend to be more literal — they’ll ask their device as though they were asking a person. Most of the searches are made up of:

· What…?

· When…?

· Where…?

· Why…?

· How…?

This is important from an SEO perspective, as these questions pertain to intent. When a user is asking their device these questions, it is because they — either immediately or eventually — want the service or product they are enquiring about.

How can this help me improve SEO with Google Voice Search?

One of the ways businesses can take advantage of the popularity of voice searches is to provide the answers customers may have regarding their product or service on their website. In the early days of the internet, this was accomplished through providing an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page. Well, the FAQ is back with a vengeance! By using Google Analytics, you can find the most frequently asked questions in relation to your product or service, and provide the answers on your landing page.

Thankfully, people tend to be more natural when using voice search. For example, someone might ask Siri or Google ‘What are the top 10 Italian restaurants in Sydney?’ when they might have simply typed ‘Italian restaurants near me’ or simply ‘Italian Restaurants’ into the search box. These long-tailed keywords and phrase are what you need to incorporate into your website’s copy to improve SEO.

How do I know what my potential customers are asking?

There are many ways you can find out what voice searches are being asked about your product or service, such as:

· Google Analytics — this can provide many of the common actual questions asked.

· Reviews — read your customer reviews to see if there are any questions you don’t have answered on your site

· Common sense — you probably already know many of the questions customers might ask about you product or service, such as “how much does … cost?” or “where’s the nearest … to me?”

The challenge doesn’t end with just knowing what web users are asking, though. You need to be able to provide the answers to these questions within your website’s copy. The best way to do this is to incorporate an FAQ — ideally on your landing page — and using different ways to answer the same questions, all of which will organically help you to rank better for these long-tailed keywords and phrases.

In this video, I give you the facts and make a modest suggestion on how to optimise your online presence for voice search. Basically, a key element to capture visitors who search via voice using SEO.

Senka is the founding Partner and Principal Consultant at SEO Services Sydney, based in Australia. As an author, creative director, speaker and consultant, she has advised and worked with companies and organisations across two continents in web analytics, regular testing of Google algorithms, web design and development, and online search marketing.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.