Voice Search is Finally Being Heard

By Sara Sommercorn, Digital Storyteller

Published: March 12, 2018

“Siri, why is voice search important?”

More than 325.8 million people use voice search each month. Fifty-five percent of teens and 40 percent of adults use voice search every day. In fact, nearly a quarter of all Google searches come from voice searches.

Voice search makes it even more important to optimize content to provide the most relevant information to capture all potential searches. The best part of taking time to optimize for voice search is that it improves overall search engine optimization (SEO) as well. Mobile optimization and page load speeds are already ranking factors, long tail keywords and featured snippets can drive traffic by securing a position-zero result. Voice search SEO isn’t really a separate initiative — it’s just an expansion or reprioritization of existing SEO best practices.

How do you optimize for voice search?

Natural Language

It’s growing more important for voice search and SEO to pick up on users’ natural speech patterns. Focus on long-tail keywords and conversational phrases. Use tools like Rank Tracker, which helps you develop language that better reflects the natural speech patterns of voice search users. Answer the Public is another tool to find long tail keywords. They append search terms with words like “for” or “with” to dig deeper into searcher intent.

Search My Business

Updating or adding specific pages to your website and listings outside of your website will help your SEO efforts. Optimizing your Google Business Profile (Google My Business) and Bing Places for Business profile is key for searches with this phrase. All information on various listings should be aligned.

FAQ Pages

An effective way to utilize questions users are searching for is to create a thorough FAQ page. Voice searchers typically ask a question to fill an immediate need. Make sure your FAQ page is using subjects such as, “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” “Why,” and “How,” to better capture the answers to the searcher’s questions. If a FAQ page is not applicable to your website, just remember to incorporate these question words throughout the content on your website.

Bing vs. Google

Google is currently the top dog in most aspects of search, but when it comes to voice, Google might not have much of an edge over its competitors. Microsoft is also a major player in the field of voice technology, and its search engine, Bing, may be poised to dominate voice search in the future. There are a number of differentiators between Bing and Google to keep in mind when optimizing for voice search.

  • Bing considers it natural for brands to have more backlinks with the name of the brand in the link text alone, known as “brand links,” and not rate them negatively as they might with others.
  • Bing tends to put more emphasis on social media signals than Google. Well-positioned results tend to have a higher number of shares, likes, retweets, and specific URLs stand out in top results that have a high mass of social signals.
  • Sites with more backlinks tend to rank higher with Bing, just as they do with Google, though the quality of those backlinks is increasingly more important than their quantity.
  • Bing seems to be more likely to reward pictures, videos, audio and more, due to what is known as “entity understanding,” while Google relies much more on text-based content.
  • Bing has a strong correlation with homepages outranking internal pages in results to a lesser degree than Google. When Bing crawls a site to rank it for SEO purposes, it weighs a homepage more heavily than other pages on the site. Google has evolved to be much more intuitive when it comes to the context of a page, while Bing is still much more straightforward, relying upon keywords in page titles, meta tags and specific keywords.

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