The Future of Content: How Voice Search Is Changing SEO

How many times did you need to Google something while your hands were busy? You’re standing in the kitchen, hands covered in flour, making your specialty homemade pasta carbonara. And then, you realize you’re out of pancetta. Instead of washing your hands and grabbing your phone to open Google, you simply say, “Hey, Google, what can I use instead of pancetta?” That’s the convenience behind voice search.

At the moment, voice search is a new trend in search engine optimization (SEO). In this article, we’ll talk about how voice search is reshaping the way we interact with search engines and the impact it has on SEO. 

What Is Voice Search Technology? 

Chances are, you already own a smart voice assistant, like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. Research by NPR & Edison found that 35% of Americans own at least one smart device assistant in their homes. 

Devices like Alexa and Siri use conversational AI and voice search technology to interpret and understand human speech, which allows them to understand you and chat with you just like another human would. 

Thanks to voice recognition technology, these devices are able to understand and process what you’re saying. First, the device converts your voice input into a format that can be easily processed by a computer. Once recognized and processed, the device can perform a web search, look up information in a database, or trigger a specific action or command. 

That’s how you can get Siri to tell you the weather forecast or ask Alexa to play your favorite song. This is also how you can use a voice command to search the internet. 

In a survey by Adobe Analytics, people use smart speakers mainly to play music (70%), check the weather (64%), ask random questions (53%), perform online searches (47%), listen to the news (46%), and get directions (34%).

What Is Voice Search SEO?

Now, voice search technology is also being used in search engines like Google to allow users to perform searches with their voice. This means that you can simply speak your question or search terms out loud and get the information you need without typing a single word. It’s fast, hands-free, and extremely convenient. 

This gives way to a new type of SEO that businesses must optimize their websites and content for – voice search SEO. 

Voice search SEO requires content to be more conversational and natural, mirroring how people actually talk. Also, since voice searches often deliver direct answers to long-form questions, your content needs to provide clear, concise, and accurate information. 

How Does Voice Search Impact SEO? 

Voice search is rapidly gaining popularity. In fact, almost half of us are already chatting with our devices every day. 

Latest statistics say that 41% of all internet users are already using voice search at least once daily. What’s more, it’s estimated that by 2023, more than half of all smartphone users will use voice search on their mobile devices.

With voice search on the rise, adapting to this new SEO style isn’t just an option. It’s a necessity for staying relevant and accessible in the evolving digital landscape. 

Here’s how voice search is impacting SEO and what to do about it. 

Changes in Search Behavior & User Intent

If you’ve ever had a conversation with Alexa or Siri, you know that interacting with these devices feels like having a chat with a friend. This conversational vibe means voice search queries often reveal a lot more about what you’re really looking for compared to brief, text-based keywords. 

Take the question “Where can I buy activewear for my yoga classes?” as an example. When you ask this, it’s clear that you’re not just looking for any activewear. You’re specifically after yoga gear, and you’re hoping to find a place nearby or one that offers quick delivery. This query shows that your intent is not just to browse but to make a purchase, and you’re likely interested in options that cater specifically to yoga enthusiasts. 

Understanding this broader intent is key for businesses. It’s not just about matching keywords anymore. It’s about truly understanding what your audience is looking for and offering solutions that meet their specific needs and preferences.

Longer, More Conversational Keywords 

Voice search is changing the way people phrase their search queries, largely due to its conversational nature. When people use voice search, they tend to speak as they would in a regular conversation, using full sentences and questions instead of the short, choppy keywords typically used in text searches. 

Ever asked Siri to search for information? You likely used one question that started with “How to do I,” “What is, “”Where can I find,” etc. These are the most common types of queries people make with voice search. So, instead of sticking to brief, often grammatically incorrect keywords, it’s time to start optimizing your content for more conversational, long-tail keywords. 

By optimizing your content to answer these conversational queries, you’re not just setting it up to rank high, but you’re also making your readers feel heard and understood, providing the answers they’re looking for just like a good friend would.

More Local SEO & “Near Me” Searches 

Because of the convenience of voice search, it’s mainly used to perform local searches. A study by Brighlocal revealed that in 2018, 58% of consumers used voice search to find a local business. 

Whether it’s hunger calling and you’re looking for “an Italian restaurant near me” or a last-minute crisis has you searching for “the closest car repair shop,” your smart voice assistant is like that one neighbor who always knows where to find everything in your local area. These searches usually mean you’re ready to head out the door to the car shop or order a pizza, which reveals purchase intent. 

For local businesses, this is a big deal. Optimizing for local SEO ensures your business is at the top of the local search results when people ask these types of questions. 

More Focus on Structured Data Markup

As voice search grows, so does the importance of structured data markup, which, simply put, is a way of formatting HTML that uses a specific vocabulary, telling search engines how to interpret content and how to display it in the search results. 

Since voice searches are more laid-back and conversational in nature, search engines tend to pull the answers to user queries from content that’s been well-structured and marked up. In short, structured data markup helps search engines understand the context of your content, making it more likely that your content will be chosen as a featured snippet or a direct answer. 

Better Mobile Optimization 

Because of the hands-free nature of voice search, most people perform voice searches on their mobile devices. 

According to Google’s report, 27% of the global population was using voice search on mobile devices in 2028, and this number has grown since. With the always-on-the-go lifestyle so many of us lead, voice search on mobile is a convenient way to get quick answers while we’re multitasking.   

When it comes to voice search SEO, this calls for an even greater emphasis on mobile optimization. Your website needs to be not only mobile-friendly but also voice search-ready. 

This means making sure your site loads quickly, as users expect quick answers when performing voice searches. It also means designing content that’s easily digestible for voice search – think concise, clear answers to user questions and content structured in a way that’s easy for search engines to understand and pick up. 

Prepare for the Future of Content Marketing

Without a doubt, the future of content marketing is changing. With all the latest content marketing trends on top of voice search SEO, it’s clear that the playbook for content marketing is getting a fresh new update in 2024. It’s time to think outside the box, get more conversational in your content, and really tune into what your audience is asking for. 

If you’re looking for a team of professional marketers and creatives to guide you through the changing landscape of content marketing, we’ve got you covered at Dorothy House. Get in touch with us.

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