Voice search is growing rapidly. Voice search is expected to account for 50% of all searches
by 2020, according to ComScore.
As Voice Search grows and becomes more widely used, businesses need to prepare for it
and optimize their websites and SEO strategies to voice queries.
Mobile grew very rapidly and had people scrambling to make their websites mobile-friendly
so that they did not lose SEO rankings and mobile customers. As voice search becomes
more popular, we need to prepare our SEO strategies and websites now to handle the rapid
growth of voice searches.
What is Voice Search?
Voice search is a method of online search which allows users to use a voice command
instead of a typed query to search the web for information, or to make online purchases.
The devices used for voice search queries are voice-enabled smartphones or smart
How Popular is Voice Search?
Voice Search is getting very popular because it is easier and faster to search the web with a
spoken command instead of typing in a search query.
Here are some recent studies on the popularity of voice search:
- 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, per ComScore
- 55% of teens and 41% of adults are using voice search more than once a day,
according to Google.
- As of January 2018, there was an estimated 1 billion voice searches per month,
according to Alpine.AI.
- A recent voice technology survey by Adobe found that 48% of consumers are using
voice for online searches. 85% of the 1000 people Adobe surveyed said that they
were using their smartphones to conduct voice searches, and 39% said they used
- 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020, according to Gartner
- 1 in 6 Americans own a voice-activated smart speaker, according to Edison Research
- Voice commerce sales grew to $1.8 billion in 2018. It is projected to increase to $40
billion by 2022, according to OC&C Strategy Consultants.
These projections make it clear that voice search is projected to grow rapidly. As voice
search grows to become a large percentage of all online searches, businesses need to
optimize their websites and search engine marketing strategies for voice search.
What do People Use Voice Search For?
Voice Search is being used by both adults and teens for common tasks more than once a
day. People are finding it more convenient and faster to talk to their smart phones and
smart speakers instead of using a keyboard to type in queries.
We are talking to our phones, smart speakers and even desktop computers to
- Ask for directions
- Make phone calls
- Dictate texts
- Check the time
- Play songs
- Check movie times
- Make online purchases
And, we are using voice search to multi-task during the day
- while watching TV
- while exercising
- while cooking and more.
Popular Voice Search Devices and Smart Speakers
70.6% of Americans who used a smart speaker once a month in 2017 used an Amazon
Echo; and 23.8% used a Google Home, according to eMarketer.
Google Assistant, an app you download on your smartphone, is available on more than 400
million devices, according to Google.
Popular voice search devices and smart speakers include Amazon Alexa, Amazon Echo,
Google Assistant, Google Home, Apple Siri, Apple HomePod and Microsoft Cortana.
7 SEO Strategies to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
In addition to on-page SEO optimization for your website content, here are 7 SEO Strategies
to optimize your website for voice search.
- Optimize for longer, conversational queries
Voice queries are longer and more conversational than conventional typed queries.
For SEO optimization, focus on optimizing for long-tail keywords and longer,
conversational phrases that are 40 to 50 characters long.
For example, instead of optimizing for a keyword such as “digital marketing”,
optimize for a long phrase such as “Which digital marketing strategy is important
Voice searches are also more oriented around asking questions, so it is also
important to target question keywords. Optimize your content for questions that
begin with Who, How, When, Where, Why and What.
- Optimize for Local SEO
22% of voice queries are focused on finding local business information, according to
the Internet Trends Report 2016. “
500% growth in “Near Me” mobile searches that contain the terms “can I buy” or “to
buy” between 2015 and 2017, according to Google.
To optimize for local voice searches, you should optimize your website content for
local SEO with local city and geographic information. You should also optimize your
content and meta tags for “Near me” searches.
Your Google My Business listing is important for local voice searches. Completely fill
out and update your business information in Google My Business with the correct
name, address, phone number, business hours, services and plenty of images. For a
local search, Google will present information from your Google My Business listing.
You want to make sure that accurate information is provided to the searcher.
- Your Website must be Mobile-friendly and Responsive
Most voice searches are being made on mobile devices and smart phones. Your
website must be mobile-friendly and responsive to provide an optimum user
experience to mobile users. Mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor and mobile-
friendly websites get higher SEO rankings on Google.
Since the majority of online searches are now made on mobile devices, Google has
adopted a Mobile-first search index focused on mobile users. Google crawls, indexes and ranks the mobile version of a website as the primary version. The Mobile-first index ensures that a searcher on a mobile device gets directed to the mobile version of a website for a relevant search query. This ensures consistency and a good user experience.
- Your Website must Load Fast
- Since mobile devices such as smart phones or smart speakers are used for voice searches, a fast website speed is very important for voice searches. Page speed is a ranking factor for mobile searches and impacts the SEO rankings of mobile websites. Make sure your website loads fast, images are compressed and small and web page size is not large. According to Google research, 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. The recommended values for website page speed are an average page speed of 3 seconds or less.
- Optimize for featured snippets
For voice search optimization, your website must be optimized for featured snippets.
Featured snippets are the short answers to search queries that are featured on top of
the organic search results and below the paid search ads. They are also called
“position zero”. Featured snippets are important for voice search and mobile search
because the answer to a voice query may be drawn from them.
For spoken featured snippets, Google states the website source page in the spoken
answer and provides a link to the source page in the Google Home app that people
can click. This helps to drive traffic to your website and increase brand awareness.
Most featured snippets are drawn from the top 10 search results on the page. To be
featured in “position zero”, you should optimize your content. Use customer
questions as headings and follow that with a one paragraph answer. Also provide
FAQ for major sections of your website.
See the image below for an example of a featured snippet.
6. Use structured data “schema” markup
Structured data markup on your website helps search engines to better understand
the intent of your web page. Structured data helps to provide information about a
page and classify the content on the page for search engines to understand. For
example, page content can be classified as an article or a recipe. Structured data is
coded using schema.org markup.
7. Answer Customer Questions in Blog Posts
Since voice queries are mainly questions, your website content must provide useful
answers to customer questions. Write blog posts and FAQ sections to answer
common customer questions. This can help your website content get selected for a
featured snippet or the answer to a voice query.
When structuring the page content, use the questions as headings and follow it with
answers in short paragraphs or lists.
<h2> Conclusion </h2>
Voice Search is getting more popular and is projected to be 50% of all online searches by
2020. Voice commerce sales are expected to grow to $40 billion by 2022.
As Voice Search queries increase, conventional SEO strategies may not work for voice
queries and can impact SEO rankings and website traffic. We need to optimize our websites,
content and SEO strategies specifically for Voice queries. This will ensure that our brands
are positioned to improve SEO rankings, provide a great customer experience and increase
leads and sales as Voice search begins to dominate search.
Written by Tanuja Mahdavi, MBA, digital marketing consultant & owner of Gold Mango Design LLC.
Gold Mango Design is a digital marketing and web design company in Plano, TX.
1. WordStream, 33 Voice Search Statistics to Prepare you for the Voice Search
2. Google, OMG! Mobile Voice Survey reveals teens love to talk,
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1. How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
2. How “OK Google, “Hello Siri” and “Hey Alexa” are impacting search engine results