Voice Search Optimisation
Voice search optimisation is all about getting your content to rank for voice-enabled search queries. There has been a distinct shift in recent years, as digital assistants – largely Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Assistant – have played a huge role in how users interact with the internet.
Initially a quick ‘Hey Siri, what’s the weather today?’ or ‘Alexa, bring me the latest news’, voice search has now evolved from the general to the incredibly specific.
In 2024, voice search optimisation is key to an effective SEO strategy. It’s 1 in 5 searches in the Google App, and only set to soar as the convenience it offers us continues to impact our browsing habits. But, which voice search SEO tactics work best?
Let’s take a look.
What Exactly Is Voice Search?
No surprises here – voice search is a type of speech recognition technology that allows users to interact with the internet through voice commands. Be it your smartphone, speaker, laptop, etc., users can search for whatever they like by simply activating voice control and asking away.
It’s faster, more convenient, and easier than typing out a traditional text query. And, with recent voice search statistics showing a 93.7% accuracy in users getting the info they need, it’s no wonder voice search assistants have become an increasingly frequent first port of call.
For the most widely used digital assistants, users can initiate a voice search with the following phrases:
- Apple’s Siri: ‘Hey Siri…’
- Amazon’s Alexa: ‘Alexa…’
- Microsoft’s Cortana: ‘Hey Cortana…’
- Google Assistant: ‘Hey Google…’
They will then follow up with a question or request (e.g., ‘What are the best restaurants near me?’ or ‘Give me a quick workout routine’), and the device will present the top options based on who has dominated the voice search rankings for that query.
Being information that is especially quick to get, voice search SEO is a core priority that marketers are prioritising in 2024. And, if you’ve yet to do likewise, we strongly recommend you get started with the below best practices to start showing up in their search results.
Voice Search Optimisation Best Practices: 4 Core Tactics to Get Better Results
1. Research & Target Long-Tail Keywords
Whereas people typically simplify when using a keyboard to find answers, voice assistants are interacted with in a more natural fashion. In other words, when we talk to our devices, we speak more true to real life.
This means that your keyword research will need a fresh approach, and conversational keywords should be the priority. To better optimise for voice search results, aim to target:
- Long-tail keywords – These are highly specific queries. Due to their more limited range of answers, long-tail keywords usually have lower search volumes and attract high-intent traffic. Example: ‘best practices for voice search seo’
- Question keywords – These are phrases that include question-based words like ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, and ‘how’. They signify the user seeking a direct solution to a specific search query. Example: ‘how do I optimise for voice search’
2. Embrace Mobile SEO
Here’s the thing: When people are on the move, they often find it easier to ask questions out loud rather than fussing over a tiny keyboard. To optimise for mobile voice search then, you’ll need to prioritise content that is both direct and concise.
No one wants to wade through waffle at the best of times, especially when they’re on the move, so addressing user intent is incredibly important here – namely, what exactly is your audience looking for?
Mobile Optimisation for Voice Search Tips
- Prioritise intent-rich micro-moments when keyword mapping
- Ensure your page speed is quick
- Use a mobile-responsive design
- Conduct some UX research on navigation features – e.g. clear and concise menu, buttons are easy to click, etc.
- Eliminate pop-ups or obstacles that hinder the user journey
Time to check how mobile-friendly your website is? Run Google Lighthouse for a performance audit.
3. Optimise for Local Search Intent
As you’d expect, many voice search queries have a local intent. This means that users are looking for a solution that is in a specific location – like ‘seo agency manchester’ – or simply one that’s within the range of wherever they happen to be – for example, ‘seo agency near me’.
Here, we’d recommend dedicating a chunk of your SEO strategy to producing content for location-specific keywords. This will ground what you’re selling within your chosen area, helping you to better scoop in the traffic of those refining their search parameters to what’s nearby.
Voice technology also uses local directories to gather facts for location-based queries. Therefore, two easy tactics for optimising your local SEO include:
- Checking and updating your Google Business Profile: This signals to Google precisely where your business sits on the map, giving it a physical location and, hence, more legitimacy of being seen as a real business.
- Making use of local directories: Whereas the above will primarily optimise your local presence for Google Assistant, other voice assistants – Siri, Alexa, and Cortana – use local directories to get their intel.
Optimise for both GMB and local directories to ensure you’re not pigeonholing your ranking potential.
Run a brick-and-mortar business that gets most of its football from a local crowd? Local SEO is particularly designed to help stores like yours.
4. Don’t Neglect Schema Markup
Schema markup (also called structured data) is another SEO biggie. A must-do for voice search optimisation, schema markup is essentially the code that tells search engines how to interpret your website’s data.
If your schema markup is clear and web crawler bots can digest your site’s information easily, the search engine more readily assumes a human user could do the same – hence, schema markup can help your chances of ranking.
As in the above tactic (#1), voice search favours conversational keywords and question-based queries. Because of this, FAQ schema is one of the main schema types you’ll want to optimise for.
When mapping out the content for a page, research common questions that a user seeking info related to that page’s topic might want to know. From there, you can create a series of FAQs and add a specialised markup – the FAQ schema – to the page’s code, which will prompt Google to generate a rich snippet.
Standout Voice Search SEO Statistics 2024
- Voice assistants can answer 93.7% of Google search queries.
- 72% of people with voice assistance say their device is used as part of their daily routine (Google)
- 1 in 5 searches in the Google App are conducted using voice search.
- More than 30,000 smart home devices are supported by Google Assistant. (Google)
- Google’s voice recognition technology now supports 119 different languages (Google)
- Experts predict 8.4 billion digital voice assistants by 2024 (Statista)
- Almost 70% of Google Assistant requests are communicated in natural language rather than the typical keyword-driven text search (Google)
For a more comprehensive look at how voice assistants are impacting search, here are our top 30 voice search statistics.
Voice Search vs Text Search
With 93.7% accuracy, voice search is at its most functional and well-adopted in 2024. And, the more we use it, the more voice recognition software will continue to advance.
But, whilst adopting voice search SEO is often a smart move, the call is not to abandon text search entirely. Instead, your SEO strategy should make use of each search type’s different features to extend the keywords you target and the audience you draw in.
Differences between Voice Search and Text Search
|Typed words or phrases
|More conversational and natural language
|Often concise and keyword-based
|Context and User Intent
|Relies on natural language processing
|Relies on keywords and query structure
|Common on mobile devices, hands-free
|Common on both desktop and mobile devices
|Hands-free and user-friendly
|Requires physical input, familiar format
|Speech recognition, NLP, machine learning
|Traditional search engine algorithms
Is Optimising for Voice Search Worth It?
Heck yes! It’ll come as no surprise that marketers are investing more time into diversifying their SEO strategies to ensure their brands are showing up across a wider spread of search results. That means that, if your brand isn’t yet active in voice search optimisation, you’re likely losing out to your competitors who are.
Today, more than 8.4 billion digital voice assistants are in use, which is more people than there are on the planet. And what does this mean for getting your website ranking in the SERP? Well, with more than 1 billion voice searches taking place every month, and more than 50% of adults using voice assistants daily, that’s heaps of potential traffic to capture for your brand.
At Embryo, helping brands to dominate the search engine results pages is what we’re best at. For businesses, especially local enterprises that could benefit most from local SEO and capturing foot traffic, we’re ready to talk strategy.
Interested in getting started? Get in touch today, and our award-winning SEO will get to work.