What to Know About the Role of Voice Search in SEO

With the world of technology always advancing, voice search has become very popular for people to use when they want to search for something. Whether a person is searching for the nearest pizza place or for new toothpaste to order, it can all be done through voice search. Devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home have been dominating the market making consumer lives easier when it comes to getting the information you want whenever you want.

Amazon Alexa device

What is voice search?

Voice search involves using digital assistants such as a smartphone or voice-enabled device to search for something using your voice rather than physically typing something. This type of search can be done through Siri on an iPhone, for example, or through home devices such as Amazon’s Alexa. This ends up being a sizeable portion of how people of all ages are searching today. For example, a device such as Amazon Alexa can perform a wide variety of tasks including questions and answers, setting an alarm, making a phone call, and even shopping. With such broad capabilities, it is important that you stay ahead of the curve and make necessary adjustments in order to get the most out of voice search for your business’s SEO strategy.

Key statistics of voice search

  • 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020. Gartner
  • 70% of respondents from Search Engine Land claimed to use voice search at least a few times a week.
  • By 2020, half of all online searches will be made through voice search. Forbes
  • Nearly twice as many men (46%) use smart speakers than women (26%) on a monthly basis. Bright Local

How to optimize for voice search

There are many different effective ways for your business to optimize for voice search. Even though voice search is still gaining ground and growing, it’s important as a marketer to make the move to optimizing your business for voice search, regardless of whether you operate a large or small business. The following areas are where you should focus your time and effort to better optimize your website for voice search queries.

1. Site speed

Site speed is incredibly important when it comes to optimizing your site. No one likes to wait forever for a page to load when they are searching for an answer to a question. Research shows that typically, voice search results tend to load about 52% faster than any other average page which translates to loading in 4.6 seconds. This involves compressing any images or videos you may have on your website to improve site speeds. Google has a handy tool called PageSpeed Insights that will analyze each page of your website and pinpoint the areas of your site that are contributing to a slow speed.  

2. Mobile friendly

Most voice searches are done via a mobile device of some kind. This is due to the fact that most people who are utilizing voice search are on the go and are performing searches that include “near me”. Therefore, this makes it extremely important that your website is optimized for mobile devices. Put an emphasis on your website having a responsive design that can be functional across different mobile devices.

3. Featured snippets

Featured snippets are crucial in voice search as answers are generally returned from a featured snippet if a person uses a voice search. So, what is a featured snippet? It is Google’s answer box that appears at the top of a search results page above the very first result. Due to its position that is commonly referred to as “Position 0”, the click-through rate is on average much higher. Usually, featured snippets are answering some kind of question. Therefore, you can use this to your advantage to incorporate an answer to a question in your website content in order to be in the position of the featured snippet which makes it more likely for your business to show up in voice search.

4. Local SEO

As I mentioned earlier, most voice searches are performed by people who are on the go and are usually location-based searches. Therefore, you can follow all the typical procedures for optimizing for local SEO. An important search term to include on your landing pages is “near me” to capture the people who are performing local searches. Also, it’s important to keep your Google My Business page up to date with current and correct information about your business.

Final thoughts

While the future of voice search isn’t entirely certain, one thing that is certain is that it has grown considerably and doesn’t look like that will slow down anytime soon. For your business, this makes it important to get ahead of the curve and begin to optimize your site for voice search so that you gain the most traffic when it does end up taking off in a big way.

Kelli Kaufman

Kelli joined the Netvantage SEO team as a Junior Search Analyst in April 2018. She assists the search engine optimization team as well as managing clients' social media accounts.

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