Optimizing for voice search

Voice search has become an important component of digital marketing today. In this post, we take a closer look at how search marketers can adapt appropriately and optimize for voice searches.
A lot of searches are done through mobile devices as opposed to desktops. It is, therefore, very important that marketers consider the emergence of smart wearable devices such as watches and home voice assistants like the Google Home.

By 2016, voice search rose with a great margin with about 40% of adults indicating they use voice search every day. Google indicated that voice search use in 2016 was 35 times more compared to the year 2008. On a similar trend, Bing reported that 25% of all its searches are now voice searches.

What exactly is voice search?

Voice search technology utilizes a combination of Text-to-Speech and Natural Language Processing software to understand voice commands and queries. Then, searches are processed via different databases to get a perfect match for questions.

In the initial stages, the voice search was indeed very poor. Many people got frustrated because their phones could not understand their searches. However, such issues have been addressed and common searches are now very smooth and fun. The error rate has gone down to only 8% by the close of 2016. It is no longer odd to see people make direct searches by simply asking their phones questions.

voice search

Voice searches compared to typed search queries

There are 4 main differences between typed searches and voice searches.

Query length

When you are making a query by typing, you type keywords to get results on the SERP pages. However, you talk to the phone to make a voice search. Voice search queries are more natural because people tend to use questions and get direct answers. For example, where is the nearest dental clinic?


Most of the voice searches take the form of a question as opposed to single keyword. Therefore, you will get better results by asking questions such as these;

  • Which is the best criminal law firm in New York?
  • What are the best five smartphones in the market today?

Strong intent

When users carry voice searches, they tend to be more natural compared to typed searches. This is the main difference between the common and voice searches. For example, if you type New York attorney, you might have any intent. For example, you might be interested in getting a quote, comparing with others, getting direction, or seeking services from there.
However, when you ask the phone for the best criminal attorney in New York, it means that you are more specific. Therefore, the results will filter all other attorneys to only display the best.

Optimizing for voice search

Optimizing for location info

When a user selects voice search to look for location details, the voice search app will mainly apply the user’s current physical location to retrieve the best results. To optimize for location, here are some useful tips.

  • Ensure that your details are updated on various third party sites such as Yelp and Google My Business.
  • Ensure that Google My Business profile is completed appropriately especially on the details that specify address.
  • Implement schema markup on the website.
  • Include readable data on the XML sitemaps. These include location, prices, and other details.
  • Continue creating quality local citations to rank locally.

Utilize Structured Data

If you want to use digital assistants to give content for every search queries, make sure to simplify things for them. This is done by implementing structured data markup on the website. The schema markups are meant to help search engines understand your site content and its context so that they provide them in relevant searches.

Putting more focus on mobile

Notably, people use voice searches mainly on their phones. Your efforts on voice searches should target providing better mobile user experience. Therefore, page speed is very critical.

Research and target conversation enquiries

Most of the voice searches take the form of questions. However, there are some such as the Amazon Alexa that allows users to make direct purchases as well as transactional search queries.
Note that while info content rarely drives traffic to the respective service page, your site will become an important font of knowledge. Make sure to utilize various tools to get lists of info search queries that are related to search topics.


Voice search is no doubt on the increase and a webmaster or site owner can only ignore it at great peril. Because most of the voice searches will be conversational, consider thinking on optimizing it from that line. Make sure to evaluate the content and ensure that it answers the main questions that the target clients ask. This means staying ahead of the targeted audience to know what they are looking for and how to answer their questions.

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