How Voice Search Influences Rankings and Its effect on SEO

Voice search is an ever-increasing component of marketing and search engine optimization. In fact, with the announcement from Google that mobile search has taken over vs the traditional desktop search, there is no doubt that voice search will surge in popularity.

In fact, a recent SEO case study suggested that 38% of those that use voice assistants such as “SIRI” or “Google Assistant” have made an online purchase with this one feature alone, and in striking contrast it is said that only 38% of marketers plan on optimizing for voice assisted searches based on our findings.

Now is the time to jump on the voice search bandwagon if there ever was one. The trend is only expected to grow, especially with chatter from Google about switching to a mobile-first index over the course of this year, which ultimately means more traffic from mobile users if optimized correctly.

Optimizing Your Website for Voice Search Friendly Results

How Voice Search Influences Rankings
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The way people search the web is an ever-changing phenomenon and with the introduction of new technologies such as Alexa, Cortana, and other voice-activated tech trends, this will be the next thing marketers will be chasing. If you are a marketer or SEO who shakes their head at this fact, consider yourself in left behind.

Devices utilizing voice search functions are more common than ever. Users can now interact with devices in a natural speaking voice. This, of course, begs the question of how to optimize for these types of queries.

The typical voice search is statistically longer than that of traditional searches. Voice search also comprises of around 22% for locally related results. Meaning if you are a local business and aren’t taking advantage of longer tailed keywords in your website’s content, you are ultimately missing out.

Keywords That Are Conversational

How Voice Search Influences Rankings

Taking away the traditional way an SEO does keyword research is important for voice search.

Before, keywords were typically 1 to 3 words in which Google was happy to provide you with search volume and statistics that were relevant to those 1 to 3 words.

Now, voice search enters the picture and creates long tail keywords on steroids. As things have evolved in this direction, so has Google’s algorithm, especially in regards to website content. A little thing called Rank Brain, Google’s machine learning algorithm, is changing the game.

In the “old days”, search engines would cluster groups of words from search queries and serve results based on if a website had these words on the page, thus serving a list of results. This was among other factors, but you get the point. With Rank Brain, this has changed.

Rank Brain is designed to handle complex queries that are rarely searched and produce results based on the user’s intent. This is tied directly to voice search if you think about it. With so many different vernaculars in the world, the increase of never before searched items was starting to confuse Google and Rank Brain was born.

You Might Like: Why Keyword Research Is Crucial for Your Website

Content Tips for Voice Search and Rank Brain for The Win

How Voice Search Influences Rankings

With this understanding of how search engines work you should take a few factors into consideration when developing content for your website.

  • Write towards user intent and NOT keywords. Yes, you should have keywords in mind, but addressing what it is the user wants is what sets brilliant content apart from the mundane.
  • Develop personas of who your typical customers are, so you know who you are writing for.
  • Make your content as clear as possible. No need to divert your wording to other topics. That is what personal blogging is for.
  • Make your content as useful and as relevant as possible.
  • Add content in the form of a question, much like Jeopardy. People ask a ton of questions, more so on mobile voice searches.
  • Create ultra-long tailed keywords by combining words around the main focuses in mind such as “best”, “close by”, “near me”. I have even seen the addition of zip codes within content to help with voice search.

You might say, “These keywords have little search volume though?”, and that is a good point, but what is happening is that you are thinking in the past in regards to keyword research. Keyword research is still very much practical, but these days I tend to reserve these large volumes and shorter length keywords for things like title tags due to limited space, but powerful impact.

In fact, this tends to pull everything together and increase rankings around voice and traditional search. A sound tactic and music to every SEO Specialist’s ears.

Google is taking a look at the entirety of your website’s content and creating a big picture of what you should rank for. Chances are, if your content is sound, you will also rank for the generic keywords, as well as push them to the next level.

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What’s Next?

The bottom line is that voice search is our friend and not our enemy. Constantly updating your content to work better with what an end user wants and how they interact with your content is a step in the right direction. Focusing on content and continually optimizing it to address user needs is the key to capitalizing on search engine results. Addressing a user’s needs is the end game. Voice search is still in its infancy and will only continue to evolve and become a force to be reckoned with. The time to jump on the voice search bandwagon is now.



  1. You should start by identifying your typical website visitor’s persona and create content directly geared towards them. From vernacular to what appeals to them from a conversational standpoint. Write directly toward your typical user.


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