mobile search marketing

SEO for Voice Search

SEO-for-voice-search
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

SEO-for-voice-searchHave you ever asked Siri to find something for you on an iPhone?

If not, chances are you will soon. If not Siri, then maybe one of her sisters – Cortana, Alexa or Google now.

When we’re sitting at a computer, its quick and easy to search by typing our search query. But it’s kind of a pain to do that from a phone. Many people find it much easier to push a button and speak their search query into their phone.

Apple broke new ground when it released its voice-based “digital assistant, Siri in 2011. Since then Bing (Cortana), Google (Google Now) and even Amazon (Alexa) have developed their own voice-based digital assistants.

I use Siri quite a bit, and to be honest I find it’s search results to be frustratingly poor, and more often than not after I ask Siri for something I end up typing my search query into Google to get better results. But the fact that I keep asking Siri shows I find it more convenient.

I believe it’s only a matter of time before the quality of the voice search results improve, and the number voice searches surpasses text searches on phones.

How is voice search affecting search marketing?

1) Optimize for natural language. When people search on their computers, they tend to type phrases like “website builder.” But when people use voice search, they use natural language and questions much often like, “Where can I build a new website?” or “What’s the best website builder?” Therefore, a good strategy is to create content which has titles that match common questions in your field.

2) Focus on Bing… for now. Siri is by far the most popular voice-based digital assistant, and Siri gets its search results from Bing. So, if you want your website to come up in the voice-search results, it makes sense to focus on Bing. However, Bing is owned by Microsoft and these relationships between search providers often break up faster than a Hollywood marriage. Plus Google, Microsoft and Amazon will all be battling Siri for market share, so Siri’s reign as the dominant voice assistant may not last long.

3) Go big or go home. Siri only shows the top 5 search results. If your site is not in the top 5, you won’t be seen. Therefore, its best to focus on improving your search results for queries which your site is already in or near the top 5.

Share your thoughts in a comment:

  • Do you do voice searches on your phone? Why or why not?
  • What if anything are you doing to get your website to rank better in the voice search results?

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

8 Comments

  • I have to say, I was thinking that this would be about getting Siri-specific searches, but this is actually a pretty creative way of refocusing/reframing typical SEO discussions to how people *actually* search for stuff. I do not personally use voice searches on my phone that much. It seems easier for me to type than to speak, usually. But I understand that the sorts of things i use voice search for are different than the sorts of things I type to search — on Google Now, for example, if I ask for the weather by voice, it'll tell me by voice (so there's that benefit over typing it.) It would not make sense to try to optimize my site for weather results, however, lol.

    • Hey Andrew, thanks for commenting. I also tend to use voice search more for quick lookups like scores and weather but I think as digital assistants get smarter people will ask for more complicated information. Perhaps more and more people will speak into their phone, "Siri, show me stories from people who have left the Mormon church" πŸ™‚

  • Hi! Nice post. I tend to voice search with Google on my phone (Android). My searches from my phone are usually current events like"when do the NBA finals begin?" Or when does the Women's college softball championship begin.
    As far as SEO, I've been using YouTube videos to rank and link back to my site or landing page. I do optimize the title, description etc. based on the best question someone might search with, ex. "Where can I buy $5 visitors to my website?".
    Nice website as well!

    • Laurie, thanks for sharing your perspective. That's cool that you're creating YouTube videos to ask questions people are asking. I think that correlates well with questions people are asking their digital assistants. In my use of Siri, I haven't seen videos in the results. Perhaps they're there and I just haven't seen them. Or perhaps if digital assistants don't return videos in their search results you could post text transcripts of your videos.

  • Hi Paul, do you mean the voice search and words search via google, the result not the same? πŸ™‚ And I have not done any voice search by my phone, but i will try πŸ™‚

    • Hi Robby, no – if you use the same words in voice search as text search you will get the same results in Google. What’s different is most people use different words when they speak their search rather than type it.

  • Hi Paul, thanks for your great reply, I was thought that maybe google rank difference between the voice search and the words search, if the result is same, of course by voice search ,it is great and amazing since the customers not necessary to type the words into the search bar, maybe it is the new search way in the future, I am in China, in our country, we can not visit google, but I visit by VPN, in your site, I learned many much knowledge of SEO and Social Media, site building, all advance ideas and tips, Paul, you are expert, if you rank a SEO company, I think you are expert and powerful, not only Churt sites:) Of course, the site of you, great!!! I am your fans, and back for your new articles and the old ones times and times, since you shared me many much, thank you Paul πŸ™‚ Really πŸ™‚ We are friends now πŸ™‚

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