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Voice Search: What It Is And How It Is Changing SEO

by Alice Riley | 08.04.2015

Voice search is a tool that allows users to search by speaking into a computer or mobile phone. The voice recognition technology can translate the vocal sounds into search queries, meaning the user can search without having to use a keyboard.

As the technology behind it is becoming more advanced and its use becomes more popular, voice search is fast becoming a rising influence in SEO. Marketers will need to adjust their strategies to accommodate voice searches, and it could be a possible influencer for future search engine algorithm developments.

Types Of Voice Search

  • Yahoo launched their first voice search in 2008, and are continuing to improve it with updates
  • Google Voice Search/ Search by Voice was launched in 2011, and is now available in over 30 languages
  • Apple have installed their Siri vocal recognition software on iPhone 4’s and later models

What It Means For SEO

As the use of voice search increases, SEO marketers need to adapt their approach accordingly. Here are the main changes to consider:

Longer Queries With More Natural Language

When using voce search, people are more likely to use natural language, for example asking your phone a question, than a concise search term. Spoken queries are also usually longer. Both of these things mean that semantic search becomes more important as it is needed to decipher the meaning of a search query. To rank highly in these searches, websites need to cover specific content and include more natural, long-tail phrases.

Search Becomes More Immediate

Voice search is usually more popular with users on the move, who dictate their query into their smartphones. The people who use voice search are more likely to be searching for an immediate need, for example finding a restaurant in the area. This means that content that answers questions or gives immediate advice will be favoured by the search.

Less Need For Keywords

Google has been gradually giving keywords less importance, as marketers sometimes use keyword stuffing to optimize content. This will become more apparent as voice search grows in popularity. People use more natural language when searching, for example instead of searching for “plumbing service London”, people would search “Where can I find a good plumber?” This makes keywords less important, instead rewarding sites which fall in line with the user’s request.

Voice search is a tool which could have a significant impact on the SEO landscape in years to come if the technology continues to develop and gain popularity. However, if marketers stay ahead of the trend and adapt their websites accordingly, voice search could bring great opportunities.

Further Reading:




Search Engine Journal