Voice search SEO guide

Voice search

One of the most important developments in search marketing is voice search and it will change people searching for and consuming content.

We are in the early stages of voice search, with audio and visual responses being served; however it isn’t completely fluid.

Voice search will see people vocally asking devices to search for and retrieve information based on their search query.

As the technology becomes better, it is likely that people will migrate more towards voice search queries.

In this post, we will share the actions that’s needed for website owners and managers to take advantage of voice search, so their site’s content will be shared once the technology starts to grow.

Why is voice search important?

The oldest form of communication is verbal. If people want to express, share, or retrieve information, the first form of communication they will use is verbal.

Verbal interactions with computing technology has always been strong conceptually, however it is only in recent years that the technology has been developed enough to gain more usability.

As the technology improves across different devices, verbal communication with devices and voice search will grow in importance.

People’s behaviour will shift from typing searches on search engines or mobile, to requesting information from voice search queries on their devices. [3]

How can businesses and website owners prepare for voice search?

Business owners need to understand how information will be retrieved from voice search queries. They will then need to implement web formatting and categorization solutions so that the information from their website and web platforms can be retrieved in the voice search results.

How does voice search work?

Voice search works by search engines recognizing queries from vocal queries that are requested from devices.

Search engines will then retrieve information related to the query based on organic search rankings or the semantic web, structured data or schema, rich snippets, or information in business listings.

Watch the video below to see an example of voice search in action

Google has said the following.

We use written queries to google.com in order to bootstrap our language model for Google search by Voice. The large pool of available queries allows us to create rich models.

We start from written queries (typed) to google.com. After text normalization we select the top 1 million words. [3]


Bill Slawski mentioned his blog post covering voice search that there would be a number of issues and challenges in regards to speech patterns, dialogue, and context. However, he also cites several other patents that would aid in the development of voice search. Some of these included:

  • Speech recognition
  • Retrieving information from web documents and media


You can click here to see the original patent for voice search that was lodged by Google back in 2006. [2]

How will people use voice search?

People will use voice search in different ways. This will depend on the device and the request intent that is made on the search device.

People will typically make voice search requests relating to:

  • Geo-location results (such as maps)
  • Home device results (information and task based queries)
  • Watch (Assisted queries)
  • Mobile devices (Full search spectrum)
  • Desktop (Full search spectrum)

Which devices or technologies will use voice search?

Apple’s Siri (Across Apple products including Apple Homepod, Apple Watch, Iphones, IPads, laptops and desktop computers.

  • Amazon Alexa (via Amazon Echo)
  • Google’s voice search (Across Android devices, Google Home, and devices using Google search, apps, or technology)
  • Microsoft Cortana (Across Microsoft products or partner devices)

How can you start get ready for voice search?

You need to identify what queries you want to be found for via voice search, and then optimize your web presence so that content related to or from your website will be served for voice search queries.

You will need to learn how to categorize the information on your website and web assets, as well as create the credibility signals that will give the search engines the confidence to serve your content for the search queries.

You can reference the guides below, which will advise you how to optimize for voice search on each platform.

Google Actions for developers

Google actions allows developers to optimize their web content for broader reach via voice searches done through Google’s voice searches.

The main information data sources for Google voice searches will come from:

  • Google My Business
  • Google Snippets
  • Google organic search listings
  • Google Maps
  • YouTube videos
  • Other Google properties [4]
  • Web content optimization (Using Schema like HowToSection for guides and creating content with natural language patterns in a question and answer format.) [5]

Useful resource: Google’s Voice Search Rater Guidelines

Alexa skills for developers

Optimizing through Alexa skills will actually boost the voice search reach for Amazon and Microsoft voice searches that’s done through Alexa and Cortana.

The data retrieved is collected from Yext, Bing, Yelp. [4]

Apple Siri Shortcuts for developers

Programming can be implemented so that Siri will respond to voice requests via Apple products.

Something else to consider is that the information retrieved for voice search results on Siri typically comes from Bing, Apple Maps, and Yelp. [4]

Useful tool: Bing Webmaster Tools

Additionally, add FAQs to your website’s content.

This will help you to identify questions and queries, as well as craft answers and content that will allow your site to serve voice search answers. [6]

Bonus tip: Make sure your site loads fast.

People want to get their answers quickly, especially with voice search. So optimize your site’s page loading speed so that it can ideally load in less than 1 second.

Do you have any experience with voice search?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.


[1] Google voice search patent – SEO by the Sea

[2] Voice interface for a search engine – Google Patent

[3] Google search by voice: A case study

[4] How voice search SEO works

[5] Voice search SEO – The Hoth

[6] Voice Search Optimization – SEO Expert Brad

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