Voice Search and SEO: Optimising for The Future

Conversion Rate Optimisation
Digital Marketing
Paid Media
Performance Marketing

Voice Search and SEO: Optimising for The Future

Technology has continuously evolved, bringing us to an era dominated by innovation, notably in voice search. Voice Search has emerged as a powerful and convenient tool, transforming the way people search for information online. One might argue that voice functionalities have been around for a fair amount of time, with most people using AI assistants that help set reminders, calls, or even alarms. Voice search has taken this a step further to help people surf the internet using virtual assistants like Google Assistant or Siri.

SEO professionals now have the opportunity to optimize for voice search. This involves tactics such as targeting long-tail keywords, focusing on Name, Address, Phone number (NAP) accuracy, and enhancing mobile device compatibility. In this article, we dive into the nuts and bolts of voice search and how SEOs can leverage this to a brand or business’s advantage in the future.

Understanding Voice Search

What is Voice Search?

Voice search is when a user performs an online search using voice functionality through smartphones, tablets, or even desktops to look for information. This functionality is different from text-based search whereby users have to type a query to search. This allows users to phrase queries differently and can be quite lengthy depending on what the user searches for.

For example, a text-based search can include something like ‘hair salon Sandton’ while a voice-based search can include ‘where is the nearest hair salon? or ‘what hair salons are open right now in Sandton?’.

Both searches will have the same or similar text-based search results in SERPs but are phrased differently, which means that each of these variations require specific SEO optimization.

What is voice search optimisation in SEO?

According to SEMrush “Voice search optimization is the process of improving your online presence so you appear for voice search queries. The primary goal is to get selected by and/or read aloud by voice assistants when users perform a voice search. Those digital assistants include Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa”.

Using Voice Search and SEO for Business

How does voice search work?

There are generally two ways users can use or perform voice search: either smartphone voice search or smart speakers. Smartphone voice searches are usually done via a phone or tablet on the go and are quick queries like ‘how to get to Sandton from my current location’. Smart speaker searches are mostly done at home for in-depth kinds of searches like ‘Who was the first president of South Africa?’.

How to optimise your website for voice search using SEO?

As voice search becomes more apparent in users’ day-to-day world, SEOs and businesses are trying to leverage voice search to ensure that their website is visible for these searches. Here are key 3 tactics to employ in your strategies when optimising for voice search:

  1. Use Conversational Keywords:

Conversational keywords are long-tail keywords such as ‘restaurants in Sandton that are open now’. These keywords are likely to be phrased in the form of a question. These kinds of keywords are usually the most relevant type of content that voice searches will display or answer in SERPs.

Example of short tail keyword: ‘Sandton restaurants’ ‘restaurants in Sandton’

Example of long tail keyword: ‘Sandton restaurants open right now’ ‘restaurants in Sandton that offer free delivery’

  1. Optimise for Location-based Searches:

People who use smartphone voice searches are mostly on the go and are looking for quick answers on the internet. This is why it is good to optimise for local searches through on-page content, Google My Business listings, and ensuring all business information is accurate for local search. Your website’s chances of showing up in voice search will increase if you are a local business with content or offerings that speak to local users.

  1. Technical Optimization (Mobile Friendly):

Since most voice searches come from mobile devices, it’s important to ensure that your website is technically sound from a search perspective. This includes making sure the website can be crawled, indexed, ranked, and served in SERPs as per each search engine’s guidelines. Furthermore, the site needs to be mobile-friendly so that the user’s experience is seamless from a page speed and responsiveness perspective.

How does AI impact voice search & SEO?

The rise of AI (artificial intelligence) and NLP (natural language processing) has made it easier for search engines Google to understand user intent not only because of keywords but also considering other factors such as meaning, context, situation, and language used to determine what is the user is looking for.

This means that SEOs need to create content that resembles natural human behaviour when it comes to the flow of conversation and make sure that a user’s search query is answered in a meaningful way.

Voice search is not just a passing trend, it’s a fundamental shift in the way people interact with their devices. As the usage of voice-activated devices and virtual assistants continues to grow, businesses must proactively adapt their SEO strategies to align with this evolving landscape. Embracing longtail keywords, local optimisation and a focus on user intent will position your brand for success in the dynamic world of voice search and SEO. Stay ahead of the curve and make your online presence resonate in the soundscape of voice-activated searches.