Voice Search Evolution and its impact on Modern SEO

Posted by Bakul Sengal

April 25, 2019

My niece took my smartphone and said, almost like an order, “ShinChan” to Google. I saw the age of voice. I saw how voice is overtaking the power of typing. I noticed the presence of Google Voice, Siri, and Alexa almost everywhere with everyone. After this, if you still won’t switch to voice search SEO, you know well what you gonna lose.

A Brief Note on Voice Search

Voice Search is to search on Google or any other search engine using your voice instead of typing keywords. It uses audio technology to recognize what users’ are saying and give them answers based on their queries. Those with Google Voice and Siri in their pocket, know about it better.

Users use voice search to look for information online, to find the location of the product or services, to get answers to their questions, etc.

Voice Search SEO

Voice Search SEO is optimizing your website and content for voice search. In other terms, set your online business up for voice search – more on that later.

Why Businesses Need Voice Search SEO?

  •  As per comScore’s studies, 40% of adults use voice search once a day, resulting in 1+ billion voice searches per month
  •  In 2017, 33 million voice search devices were in use
  •  Google’s voice search received 35% more queries in 2016 as compared to 2008
  •  comScore predicts that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice-based, while 30% would be screenless

Users prefer voice search over typing

Voice search saves time and offers easier search. Generally, when you search online, you have to stop your present work to type a search query. With voice search, one can search anything on the go without disturbing their present work. E.g. one can ask about directions from Google without disturbing its driving.

Google’s Focus on Users’ Intent

Long before voice search started overtaking typing, Google released Hummingbird Update. According to this update, Google’s first priority is users’ intent and interpreting the correct meaning of their search queries. That’s the key reason why businesses and marketers switched to focus on solving users’ queries instead of promoting their own business.

All of them turned to create content targeting the pain points of users. That was the evolution that changed the way businesses promote their products or services. Voice Search is another one.

As I said earlier, Google focuses on users’ intent and improving users’ experience. There is a vast difference between how users type queries and how they voice them. It’s obvious. Now Google focuses on how users’ say it. Websites focusing on users’ tone, and having content answering what users ask for, will rank first on Google

Impact on SEO ranking

“According to a survey addressing SEO trends for 2018 and beyond, voice search took the 3rd place.”

Google ranks sites based on how quickly they respond, and to what extent they are relevant to users’ queries.

Looking at the increasing use of voice search and the comfort it offers, Google weighs voice search more than typing. Today, if you search something on Google using voice, you will find that Google answers quickly with short-term definitions having conversational tones. That particular answer will be of a company who understands users’ voice, have a conversational tone, and loads as quickly as possible.

The day is near when Google starts ranking sites that are optimized well for SEO voice search.

Voice Search SEO is no longer an option.

How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search SEO?

To optimize your website for Voice Search SEO, you have to understand how users talk to voice search and how voice search response is in return.

E.g. when you ask any question to Google, you receive an answer from the featured snippet. That’s one way how users interact with voice search.

Let’s discuss each interaction of users with voice search, and how you can optimize your website accordingly.

1. Users’ Intent

Users come first.

Before you put the effort into SEO, you have to understand users’ behavior and their expectations during voice search.

Users are lazy. They lack patience. They crave quick-fix solutions and immediate responses. In moments of emergency, they don’t intend to spend much time reading a whole article. That’s the reason why Google started focusing on snippets as they offer a quick solution to users.

I am not saying to stop writing articles. It’s still necessary. All I am saying is try to answer the question or solve the problem, in brief, simple and exact terms. So that Google can rank your business in Featured Snippets.

2. Featured Snippets

Moz found that voice search picks featured snippets to respond users 87% of the time.”

featured snippets vs voice searches


To optimize your website for voice search, your first target is Featured Snippet. Let’s discuss 4 ways how you can aim for Featured Snippet.

  • Answer Specific Questions: How, Where, What, Who, Why, and a lot more. Figure out how many ways users will question your business. And put answers on your website. Make sure the answer is to the point.
  • Answer General Terms: Users may not ask directly about your business. But they surely ask things relevant to your business. E.g. if you are a dentist, users’ won’t ask how you are better than others. They will ask about the risks of dental cleaning. It is similar to the content you create for your website. Just take care that your content has direct answers to users’ questions.
  • Long Tail Keywords: As per Purna Virji, the most influential PPC expert, speech searches would be longer in words than typing. It’s time to put long-tail keywords in work. Be cautious here. Long-tail keywords don’t mean all about your business. Instead, it’s more about users – their queries, their problems. Similar to questions they generally ask.
  • Conversational Tone: Voice search gave users the freedom to talk. They will ask like they are talking to Google. E.g. when users type, they ask “best restaurants near me”. While talking, they will ask “which restaurant serves the best candlelight dinner”. It means your content should have long-tail keywords with a conversational tone if you want to climb up to rankings.

3. Local SEO

Remember typing, “Best Chicago SEO Company

“Reports of Internet Trends 2016. found that 22% of people look for local business information”

With Voice Search, there won’t be a difference in what users search for. It’s just the way they say it. They will always look for whatever is best available in their local area. It’s your responsibility to be there whenever users look for you.

Keep your business updated with the correct location, contact details, opening hours, and holidays. This gives users a perfect idea of when you are available for them.

Tip: Mention any famous landmark around your address for easy location recognition.

4. Loading Time

Quick. Quick. Quick…

A webpage taking 5 seconds to load has a 90% chance of bounce back than the page taking 1 second.

Mobile users relying on voice assistants don’t have the patience to hang around. All they want is a quick result on the go. Google also emphasizes minimal loading time to stop mobile users from bouncing back.

If your site takes more time to load, that affect negatively on your rankings. It will never rank high for quick mobile and voice searches.

Test your site for mobile search and refine it to load in one second.

Wrap Up

The Voice search market is estimated to be $601 million worth by 2019. If you don’t step up now with voice search SEO, tomorrow you may not get a chance to rank higher. By that time, millions have entered the market leaving no room for your business to expand.


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