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The Future of SEO: How to Optimize for Voice Search

By May 22, 2019July 30th, 2019Marketing
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As consumers, we’re switching to hands-free searches. Most mobile devices are now optimized with the latest AI technology, allowing us to search with our voices rather than typing our searches in a search engine. What we are learning is that we need to handle voice search differently than text. With voice search, we use natural language versus specific keywords. Because of this, SEO is changing. In this blog, we outline the impact natural language technology has on the way we search, and why it’s a big part of the future of SEO.

First, here are some interesting facts from dialogtech.

  • 65 percent of 25 to 49-year-olds interact with their voice-enabled devices at least once per day
  • Voice-shopping is expected to be a $40 billion consumer channel by 2022
  • 76 percent of smart speaker users perform local voice searches at least weekly
Voice search is the next frontier in online search

Voice search has seen a massive increase due to Google’s algorithm changes, mainly the Hummingbird update. Hummingbird released in 2013 and significantly changed the search landscape. Rather than relying on single keywords, this new algorithm placed more emphasis on natural language and semantic searches.

This update instantly led to more accurate search results as Google analyzed the entire phrase rather than individual words. And because this is how humans naturally speak, voice search became more and more prominent.

With new updates on how Google processes search queries, marketing teams have adapted to how they approach their SEO strategies and how to best optimize their content for voice search:

Focusing on critical sentences as opposed to keywords

Google processes voice searches on how people speak. According to dialogtech, the most used trigger words in questions are “How,” “What,” “Best,” “The” and “Is.” When you optimize your content with these keywords, you’ll be able to optimize your site for voice search.

Optimizing business listings for local voice queries

To ensure your listing appears in voice searches, you’ll need to optimize your Google My Business page. First, you need to update all of your online directories where your business appears and maintain consistency. Google will penalize you with lower rankings if there are discrepancies in information like your location or contact number.

Using the correct tools

There are many keyword tools marketers have been using for years. However, most of these focus on specific keywords or long-tail keywords. While questions are similar to long-tail keywords, long-tail keyword tools focus on alphabetical variations and specific keywords.

The trick is to use individual words to generate mass amounts of common questions. Tools like Answer the Public and QuestionDB not only allow you to see what people are searching for to optimize your content and answer your audience’s most common searches in your industry.  

Until next time!
Critical Mention

Ryan Gould is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing. From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.