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18 May 2018 by Alice Curtis

Is voice search SEO’s friend or foe?

Is voice search SEO’s friend or foe?

The voice search revolution is here.

With statistics like 41% of adults conducting at least one voice-based search a day and 30% of all searches are predicted to be made without a screen in 2020, there is no doubt Alexa and Siri are going to become our best friends in the near future.

But where does this leave search engine optimisation (SEO)? How does a method that relies on how users search for queries adapt to technology that is changing this exact process?

The impact of voice search on SEO

Voice search is definitely a key SEO trend for the following 12 months and beyond. The long-term impact it will have on SEO as we know it is yet to be concluded, but starting to prepare now can avoid being left behind in the future.

Voice search means digital marketers will have to consider…

  • High competition for top rankings
    The popularity of voice search is down to the user receiving the correct information they are looking for quickly. Therefore, targeting keywords with low competition but high rankings will be pivotal in order to create conversions.
  • Featured snippets 
    Google featured snippets are commonly referenced during voice searches, so ensuring you are including these and your brand is acknowledged is absolutely vital.
  • Mobile optimisation 
    As 20% of queries on mobile are voice searches, if you’re not putting mobile first when it comes to your digital strategy, you will definitely need to consider this when it comes to voice search.
- An example of a featured snippet in Google

How to optimise SEO content for voice search

So where does voice search leave traditional SEO?

The main difference is how people search for queries via voice. For example, if I wanted to know the weather in Bournemouth today, I might Google search ‘Bournemouth weather’. Whereas with voice search, I would ask ‘OK Google, what’s the weather like in Bournemouth today?’ Therefore, a long tail phrase and keyword strategy are needed in order to optimise for voice search.

Almost 10% of voice searches start with who, what, when, where, why, how. As voice search encourages the user to use natural language rather than static keywords, this paves the way for a new content revolution.

Voice search could banish keyword stuffing and irrelevant content; instead, we are now encouraged to produce content that solves a problem and provides the user with the answers they were looking for.

You can’t seem to read a marketing blog without the phrase ‘content is king’, but that’s because it’s true. Not only is there a king, there is now a queen — the user. Content should answer exactly what the user wants.

The ultimate conclusion? User experience (UX) is the bridge between voice search and SEO. Research into how users are seamlessly integrating voice search into their everyday tasks will guide content creation and optimisation, ensuring there is still a place for SEO within voice search.