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SEO & Content

How Does Voice Search Impact Your SEO Strategy?

By a Verblio Writer

(811 words)

In the modern marketplace, voice search is king — and marketers know this. Today, 20% of searches in the Google App are done by voice. 

Meanwhile, a recent 2020 Edison Research study found that 62% of Americans use “some kind of voice assistance technology” regularly, while 62% of Americans above 12 years of age have used voice-operated assistants at least once in their lifetime.

Between Google voice search apps and interfaces like Siri, tech innovations in the area of voice search have created new opportunities for many companies.

That said, how can this rapid shift towards voice search alter your SEO strategy and marketing tactics? Below, we explore the relevance of voice search in modern SEO.

Natural Language Processing

When we perform searches on the Internet, we tend to use long-tailed keywords to find our desired content. If we’re searching for how to design an SEO-friendly page, we may type “SEO-friendly webpage” or “design SEO-friendly webpage” in the search bar. Similarly, a search for a nearby sushi restaurant will involve the use of the long-tailed keyword “sushi restaurant [my city and state].”

When we use voice prompts, on the other hand, we’re much more likely to use natural language in asking questions. Instead of typing in a long-tailed keyword, we may ask, “How do I design an SEO-friendly webpage?” or “What’s the most popular sushi restaurant near me?” As natural language processing becomes more sophisticated, these two distinct types of searches are likely to converge. 

Common Industry Use Cases of Voice Searches

Many consumers use voice search to purchase or research products online. Research shows that voice-based shopping is expected to jump to $40 billion in 2022. 

But, within that larger framework, which industries will see a greater focus on voice search in 2021 and beyond? 

  • Small businesses relying on local customers. According to marketing guru Neil Patel, 22% of voice queries relate to local businesses. If you’re targeting local consumers, be sure to use the phrase “near me” in your digital content.
  • The food and restaurant industry. According to a study, 80% of respondents regularly use voice search to find directions to a restaurant. And, 1 in 4 respondents will visit a restaurant that turns up in voice search. In 2021 and beyond, voice search will continue to dominate, as platforms like Uber Eats and Seamless see continued demand in a post-pandemic world. 
  • Healthcare. According to a HomeCare study, 51% of respondents would be interested in using a voice assistant for healthcare purposes. 
  • Banking and finance: Many financial institutions are now offering voice as a form of biometric authentication for online banking services. 

The fact is, these aren’t the only industries that can be helped by voice search. Any business that engages with customers online can derive value from adjusting its SEO approach and optimizing for voice search. 

Accounting for Voice Search in Your SEO Strategy

There are two strategies for making the most of your SEO strategy. Changing the focus of your website will allow you to gain more site visitors, whether you’re aiming for traffic that’s coming through traditional channels or more specific traffic from a voice query.

1. Become “Position Zero”

If your webpage answers exactly the question that the searcher is asking, you can become Position Zero in search engine rankings. Position Zero is the answer that pops up when an individual performs a simple voice query, such as “Where is the closest Starbucks?” Position Zero results are also known as featured snippets.

Becoming Position Zero means several things:

  • Having a webpage that is already at the top of the rankings for that question.
  • Designing a list-style answer or a short answer that’s easily scanned.
  • Providing highly relevant content that answers the specific question.

It can’t be understated: When it comes to voice search, becoming Position Zero is critical to your success. With typed searches, users can reference more than one result. But, with voice searches, Position Zero is the coveted spot in search engine rankings.

2. Focus on Voice-Based Keyword Research

If you’re unable, for whatever reason, to optimize your keywords for voice search queries, evaluate your keywords again and adjust accordingly.

That said, there are several types of keywords that won’t ever show up in that short answer box. They include:

  • Case studies and white papers
  • Tutorials
  • In-depth comparisons

In short, if the answer to a query requires depth — more than can be explained in a short snippet — then it’s safe to dodge the short answer requirements.

Developing a new SEO strategy to account for voice searches will help many marketers improve search engine rankings for their brands. If your goal is to show up as #1 in SERP results, you’ll want to create timely, relevant content that resonates with your target audience.

In addition, you’ll want to leverage another tool at your disposal: voice search. Using question modifiers in keyword research and optimizing content based on that research will help your business experience greater business success.

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