Voice Search Has Changed and Your SEO Marketing Must Adapt

First, it was mobile search upending ideas about SEO as we know it.

Now, as mobile matures, voice search is the newest search marketing opportunity.

Just as mobile gave rise to now-ubiquitous “near me” Web searches, voice has potential to transform how people conduct searches and sort information. Voice searches are far more likely to be phrased in natural language as a question, calling for an all-new approach to content.

Voice Search is Newest SEO Marketing Opportunity

Voice-First Devices Are Entering More and More Homes

Voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana are finding their way into the daily lives of more people. Not only are they a convenient, popular way to execute searches on the go, they also have many other capabilities – like placing orders or reading e-books, for example.

search voice seo

Voice Search is Growing Even Faster Internationally

Although voice search is huge in the U.S., that isn’t the whole picture. China leads in voice assistant usage, and technologies are being developed that follow voice commands in an unprecedented variety of accents and dialects.

Advertising Isn’t Native to Voice Search … Yet

As of now, voice-driven search has no native advertising capabilities like pay-per-click. Average users might roll their eyes at the idea that ads can ever be made “organic” or “unobtrusive” in this context, but that won’t stop companies from trying.

Voice search will require digital marketers to question their assumptions from the bottom up. How can you do it? First, think in terms of natural questions. Build content that answers:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?

Not only does this help with search strategy, but it’s been shown to better position websites to appear in Google’s highly-visible rich snippets, also known as “search position zero.” (Structuring content in terms of discrete steps can also help with this, but isn’t shown to affect voice search yet.)

Long tail keywords are another cornerstone of voice search success. It’s more important than ever to develop content around longer, diverse phrases, matching the many different ways your search users might choose to verbalize their thoughts.

On the technical side, Schema can make your content more attractive in voice search by sending search agents a variety of useful signals about your site’s content and purpose. This combines with relevant, succinct content to make your pages more “voice-able.”

Last, but not least, there’s mobile optimization. Mobile comes first in today’s search world and voice AIs are much more akin to mobile devices than to desktops. Structured data and metadata save the day here as well.

It’ll be years before voice search best practices are fully formed, but this will get you off to a sound start. The sooner you begin optimizing for the new voice-forward Web, the better!