12 Dec, 2017

As Voice Search Develops, Marketers Must Adapt A New SEO Strategy


Hey Siri, can you direct me to the most popular coffee shop near me? A man asks on a street corner of New York City, talking into his cell phone with enough conviction in his voice, one would think there was a human being on the other end. Instead, you hear a robotic voice answer through the phone. The man listens, nods his head and continues to the destination that Siri provided for him.

Does this situation sound familiar? Have you seen this encounter play out before in your everyday life? If the answer is yes, then you have witnessed what the current state of search is, and a tiny glimpse of where it is heading.

Hey Siri, You’ve Changed Search Forever

If you are unfamiliar with new technology tools, you may ask, who is Siri, and why are people trusting “her” to provide them with important information? If you are familiar with technology (or own a smartphone) you’ll have the answer. Siri is a voice search tool engine created by Apple that consumers have turned to more than ever before to gain valuable information that ultimately is the deciding factor for important buying decisions.

Voice technology has increased in recent years. Siri is just one example of a search engine that is changing how consumers look for information. Amazon’s Alexa has also changed customer’s search habits and preferences. But, one may ask, why do people prefer this type of search?

“Voice search is undeniably growing at a rapid pace, and for good reason — it’s fast, convenient, allows you to search on the go, and it’s just cool. Even better, as the technology behind voice search services like Siri and Cortana improves, it’s becoming increasingly reliable.” Forbes reports.

You heard it right. Voice search is faster, simpler and overall just innovatively cool. For something that is a complex application, the answer to why people use it is really quite simple. Consumers are on the go, which is proven when the rise of mobile smartphones emerged. People want answers, right now. Not later, not when they get home to a computer, but right now. Voice search provides the answers right away.

So, since consumers have adopted a new way to search for things, it has changed the marketing industry. Marketers are put in a unique position to reach a new kind of customer and to make sure their brand is the #1 answer that Siri gives users.

Marketers: Meet A New Kind Of Customer

Voice search has changed the way people look for things, and it is growing at a rapid rate. Customers are now expecting personalization from search experiences and changing their overall behavior while seeking information about a brand.

“By 2020, 50% of all online searches will be performed by voice, demonstrating a shift in how people will communicate and in turn how companies will operate.” My Customer reports.

Think about it. When you ask a question out loud, you are asking it the way you speak. This differs from when you search online because you will most likely be using shorthand to complete the request. For example, if you are like the man we talked about earlier, you may type into Google “coffee shops near me” as opposed to asking a detailed, complete question.

Voice search makes inquires more defined, and specific. This means that brands must adapt their voice search SEO to be successfully exposed to the customer. Marketers must align search strategies to reflect the context of the customer’s voice.

“You should also consider your online content in the context of voice search. To boost your search rankings, it’s important that you incorporate natural speech in your content. Consider using a more conversational tone to pick up on the nuances of everyday language.” Forbes reports.

Adapting SEO To Voice Search

In order to successfully create an SEO voice search strategy, you must first understand the ins and outs of voice search. After all, how can you create a strategy around something you are not familiar with? Approach voice searches the way you would approach any other new strategy, try to understand it by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes.

“And with 20% of mobile queries being voice searches and the ratio of voice search growing faster than type search, it’s getting more important than ever before to ensure that you’re using the right keywords to capture voice searches,” Forbes reports.

Find out what people are searching for. If you are a large business, a small business, or anything in between, knowing what consumers are looking for is crucial for success. Depending on age, your audience may be looking for businesses based on different reasons, like location or popularity. Understanding what keywords are being used the most can be an effective tool to help with this investigation.

You can find this information on My Google Business listing, as long as you are listed as a manager. Then, you can find out what people are searching for, and how they are doing it. Whether they are using long-form keywords, short form keywords or conversational keywords, you can then decide what you want your SEO to be focused around.

“Since many voice searches are local in nature, having your Google My Business listing claimed and up-to-date can help increase your chances of showing up when a voice search is done pertaining to your local business, location or business category.” Search Engine Land reports. 

Experts believe that using conversational, long-tail keywords boost SEO the most. This means that the words are longer and more specific, which can be used to bring people to the product while looking to purchase something. Being detailed can help with this, like using keywords that describe specific features as well as benefits that are offered by the brand.

“Your keyword strategy must now be more conversational in nature and mimic how real people talk and ask questions verbally. Start thinking about the types of questions you get when customers call you on the phone to ask questions about your business, then start documenting and recording the exact words they use when they talk to your customer service representatives.” Search Engine Land reports. 

Set Yourself Apart

There are obvious things you can look out for while creating an SEO voice strategy. What marketers may overlook, however, is using more than one language to target an audience.

“Currently, the top three languages in terms of users globally are English (26%), Chinese (20%) and Spanish (18%). But with over 50% of all content online is published in only English, demonstrating a huge difference between languages and the vast opportunities for non-English markets.” My Customer reports.

Creating a multilingual approach to search results puts marketers in a position to target a broader audience, which creates more brand awareness, like being #1 for Siri search options.

Along with using multiple languages, marketers must focus on mobile efforts to be successful in voice search. It’s pretty much a no-brainer that brands must be compatible with mobile devices, otherwise, they will miss out on a huge group of people who are seeking answers through mobile searches. By now, marketers should be pretty much aware of this, and their strategies include mobile over desktop.

“And since most voice searches are done on-the-go via smartphones, this means that you need to make sure your content is optimized for mobile devices to appear higher on voice search rankings.” Forbes reports.

If you have not yet adapted your strategies to be mobile, taking the step towards this approach is not difficult. Forbes suggests taking Google’s mobile-friendly test, which gives you a clear idea if your website ranks in mobile search. If you don’t pass the test, you are not compatible with mobile devices. If you do, however, then you are one step closer to being first options in people’s search options.

Customer’s Intent And Execution

The power behind voice search is made possible through artificial intelligence that learns people’s personal preferences and patterns of behavior. The power of this technology can understand the intent of the question and the context in which the content is used. Once this is figured out, the relevant answers can be given in order to support the execution of the query.

Because search results are successful based on the content that is provided, marketers must strategically produce content that will ensure that customers will recognize the information and the meaning. Using a natural tone is the most effective way marketers can reach their audience.

“Understanding the nuances of conversational search queries can help you discern consumer intent and make sure that your website contains the right content to adapt to voice search. As technology providers find more and more ways to improve user experiences and interactions from voice search, content and context will replace keywords.” Search Engine Land reports. 

All in all, the way people are searching for things is changing, which means that marketers must learn how to change their strategies as well. Voice search is impacting SEO, which impacts brand awareness and being first in search results. As technology grows and mobile becomes more prevalent, marketers must learn to adjust their strategies in order to achieve a high SEO ranking.

“Because of this, smart marketers are developing ways to tailor their SEO strategies for voice search. As typed-out search terms become less popular, it’s going to get more and more important to start making those adjustments.” Forbes reports. 


With 53% of Marketers planning on adopting Artificial Intelligence in the next 2 years, the digital marketing revolution is just getting started. CMOs and CDOs alike are seeking new ways to maximize their digital reach to attract new business to, as well as deliver enrich, personalized experiences to existing customers.

As new technology emerges, the marketing landscape is changing. Marketers must learn to adapt to new digital tools in order to meet a new customer that is evolving. Voice search is one example of the new tools that customers are using which changes the way people are trying to find things. Because of this new tool, marketers must make sure their strategies are compatible with mobile capabilities and that they use content that will provide for a strong SEO rating.

Learning from experts in the industry is one way that marketers can learn how to adapt strategies to meet these new digital tools. Hearing insight from experience sets you above the rest.

On February 15-16, 2018 at The Park Hyatt Aviara in San Diego, CA,  the Digital Marketing Transformation Assembly will bring together North America’s most prominent digital marketing technology and business leaders from all major consumer-driven industries to discuss the latest technology, innovations, and strategies driving digital marketing in 2017 and beyond.

Download the sponsorship prospectus for information on how to get involved >> Spaces are limited, so reserve your seat now >


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