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Voice Search SEO – A Complete Guide To Optimising For Voice Assistants In 2024

    Reposition Services UK
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    By Dev
    September 29, 2023
    ~ 6 minutes to read

    Voice Search SEO

    Voice search has exploded in popularity in recent years. With the rise of voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant, more and more people are using voice commands to find information, products, and services.

    This major shift in consumer behaviour requires a new SEO strategy focused on Optimising for voice search. Voice search results are very different from traditional text search, so traditional SEO tactics need to be adjusted.

    In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Optimising for voice search, including.

    How Does Voice Search Work?

    Before diving into strategy, it’s important to understand the basics of how voice search works. 

    When a user asks a voice assistant a question, the voice assistant records their voice and sends the audio file to the platform’s speech recognition server. Complex algorithms analyse the audio to determine the search intent and transcribe the speech into text.

    The text transcript is then sent to the search engine, which analyses the keywords and returns the most relevant results to the user.

    So the critical piece to understand is that voice search queries are translated into text before the search engine evaluates them. This means keyword optimisation is still central to voice search success.

    Why Voice Search SEO Matters

    Here are some key statistics that demonstrate the growing importance of voice search optimisation.

    Voice assistant usage is rising rapidly – Per eMarketer, over 83 million Americans will use a voice assistant at least monthly in 2023, up 9.5% over 2022.

    People rely on voice for local searches – 55% of adults have used voice search to find local information like businesses and restaurants, per Pew Research.

    Voice search queries are longer and more conversational – The average voice search query is 35 words long, while text queries average just 2-4 words according to Google.

    1 in 5 searches will be via voice by 2023 – Comscore predicts that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

    Voice searchers expect quick answers – Over 70% of voice assistant users say they expect an answer in 5 seconds or less, per Google.

    As more searchers move to voice, SEO strategies need to evolve to meet their expectations and Optimise for voice search success.

    Key Differences Between Voice Vs Text Search Behaviour

    Optimising for voice search requires an understanding of how voice search behaviour differs from text search.

    More conversational, long-tail queries – Voice queries are more conversational, using natural language and full sentences rather than just keywords. Queries tend to be much longer.

    Increased use of question words – Words like “who”, “what”, “when”, “where” and “how” are very common in voice queries.

    More natural language syntax – Sentence structure and grammar are more important to account for in voice search.

    Localised and contextual requests – Voice searches are often requesting something within the searcher’s immediate vicinity or context.

    Focused on quick answers – Voice searchers expect to get a specific fact, short answer or recommendation rather than browse lots of text results.

    Increased use of question words – Words like “who”, “what”, “when”, “where” and “how” are very common in voice queries.

    More natural language syntax – Sentence structure and grammar are more important to account for in voice search.

    Localised and contextual requests – Voice searches are often requesting something within the searcher’s immediate vicinity or context. 

    Focused on quick answers – Voice searchers expect to get a specific fact, short answer or recommendation rather than browse lots of text results.

    Understanding these key behavioural differences allows you to Optimise content and site architecture for voice search success.

    Steps for Optimising Voice Search

    Here are the key steps involved in Optimising a website for voice search.



    1. Identify high-value voice search queries

    Analyse search metrics and trends to identify the voice queries that are most popular for your brand, products or services. Tools like Google Trends, SEMrush and MOZ can help uncover these rising voice queries. 

    Look for conversational long-tail questions like.

     “How do I cook steak on the grill?” 

     “When is the next rocket launch?”

     “Where can I buy women’s boots near me?”

    2. Optimise pages for featured snippets

    Featured snippets are essentially the top #1 organic result in Google search, prominently displayed in a box. According to Moz, over 50% of voice search answers come from featured snippets.

    To Optimise, research the voice queries driving featured snippets for your keywords. Craft compelling titles, meta descriptions, and content that helps you rank for those featured snippets.

    3. Use natural language and conversational tone

    Since voice queries are more conversational, content needs to match that natural language syntax. Write useful, conversational content in complete sentences focused on thoroughly answering the searcher’s query.  

    4. Optimise for long-tail keywords

    Voice search queries are much longer, usually three or more words. Target these longer, conversational keyword phrases with natural language optimisation.

    5. Add structured data markup

    Structured data markup (schema.org) highlights key pieces of information on the page, helping Google understand the content and determine if it satisfies the searcher’s intent. 

    Important markup for voice search includes FAQ schema, HowTo schema, local business info and review snippets.

    6. Optimise for Local SEO

    Many voice searches are seeking Localised information like “restaurants nearby” or “hotels in San Francisco”. Make sure Google understands your business location and key local intent keywords.

    7. Focus on quick answers and summarisation

    Voice searchers want concise, quick answers, not long text blocks. Use concise sentences, bullet points, numbered steps and other summarisation tactics to deliver information rapidly.

    8. Optimise site architecture

    Ensure your categories, tags and site architecture match natural voice query language. If users ask “What toys are good for 5-year-old boys?” make sure your tags match that query language.

    Voice Search SEO Tips and Best Practices

    Here are some important voice search optimisation tips to keep in mind.

    Use conversational language – Write naturally as if answering a question from a friend. Don’t use overtly keyword-optimised content.

    Answer the query fully – Provide lots of helpful details, context, and examples to completely satisfy the voice query intent. Stick to the topic.

    Optimise for featured snippets – Research and target queries that trigger featured snippets in Google’s voice search results.

    Localise content – For local businesses, Optimise pages for voice queries including “near me”, city name, zip code, etc.

    Enhance on-page SEO – Incorporate keywords in titles, headers, meta descriptions, and content to boost ranking potential.

    Leverage lists and FAQs – Lists and FAQ schema markup can be very effective at ranking for voice search queries.

    Add media – Include images, charts, videos and other media to satisfy voice searchers. But make sure it’s supplemental and not overly promotional.

    Simplify navigation – Complex site navigation frustrates voice searchers. Simplify site architecture with clear, descriptive categories and minimal menus.

    By Optimising content for featured snippets and ranking for popular voice search queries, brands can reach this emerging audience and stay ahead of the competition.

    FAQs Around Voice Search SEO

    Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Optimising for voice search.

    How important is the speed for voice search SEO?

    Very! Voice searchers demand rapid results, so site speed is critical. Google has said pages with the fastest response times are more likely to rank high in voice search results. Aim for load times under 2 seconds.

    Should I create separate content for voice search?

    It’s generally better to Optimise existing text content for voice search rather than create separate content assets. Take your existing pages targeting those topics and Optimise them for featured snippets ranking potential.

    How does voice search SEO differ from traditional SEO?

    Voice search requires more conversational, long-tail optimisation with Localised context and quick answers. However, many traditional SEO best practices around keywords, titles, headers and site architecture still apply.

    How can I tell if my site is ready for voice search traffic?

    Test it yourself by searching for your own brand, products or content topics using Google Assistant or Siri. If your site appears in featured snippets for key queries, that’s a good sign. If not, more optimisation is likely needed.

    What’s the best way to monitor my voice search visibility?

    Google Search Console provides some voice search visibility data. There are also third-party tools like Semrush, BrightLocal and Moz that offer more expansive voice search analytics.

    Should I be concerned about voice search cannibalising my organic traffic?

    Voice search provides a new channel to reach searchers, not replace existing channels. Since voice searchers have slightly different intent, quality content Optimised for voice can attract incremental searches rather than cannibalise traffic.

    The Future of Voice Search

    While voice search is already popular today, it’s projected to continue growing exponentially in the coming years. As more people become comfortable conversing with voice assistants, search behaviour will shift even further toward conversational queries.

    For brands and businesses, voice search SEO must become a core component of long-term digital strategy. Ranking highly for natural voice search queries enhances visibility and drives conversions from this emerging audience segment.

    As Google, Apple, and Amazon continue innovating and improving natural language processing, the technology will become more seamless and ubiquitous. Consumers will increasingly use voice search for more diverse use cases, well beyond simple informational queries. 

    In the near future, tailoring content strategy, on-page optimisation and site architecture for voice search will soon be just as essential as Optimising for mobile and visual search today. Adapting SEO best practices to the unique nuances of voice search behaviour is key to future success.


    Voice search is fundamentally changing user behaviour and expectations of the search experience. To connect with voice searchers and be discovered, brands must take an optimise-first approach to crafting SEO-friendly content

    By leveraging featured snippets, Optimising for conversational long-tail keywords, and enhancing on-page SEO for voice, companies can build organic visibility in voice results. Voice search optimisation will only grow in importance, as more consumers make their voices heard.