Using Voice Search to Boost Your SEO

Written by Newspaper Humor Columnist & Social Media Expert

January 19, 2024
Using Voice Search to Boost Your SEO

The growth of voice search with smart assistants/speakers is having a profound impact on marketers' SEO strategies. Thanks to Google's increased embrace of local SEO, users can now verbally ask their smart assistants and smart speakers for information and receive spoken responses.

Whether someone is asking their Alexa device to play music or asking their iPhone or Android to find the nearest Caribbean restaurant, voice search is the new frontier for marketers to explore.

Users are using voice commands for online queries, which means marketers must adapt SEO practices to stay competitive. Of course, the field is still new enough that you could be one of the first in your industry and dominate it when it finally becomes commonplace.

So how can voice search help boost your SEO?

1. Conversational Keywords and Long-Tail Queries

Ten years ago, SEO meant optimizing for specific, sometimes nonsensical exact keyword phrases: "best European WordPress host," "best WordPress host Europe," "best Europe host of WordPress," and so on. It was rather clunky and embarrassing.

You would write blog articles, do SEO, and have pages for each unique phrase. But once Google got smart, you only had to focus on "WordPress," "Europe," and "host" somewhere in your articles.

Local search efforts also changed a lot of that as people started searching for "WordPress host near me." Or, Google would look for the nearest WordPress host to the searcher based on your IP address or past searches.

Now, thanks to Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, people ask, "Hey Siri, who is a good European WordPress host?"

And, if you have optimized your website for voice search — and assuming you provide WordPress hosting for Europe, of course — your site can show up in the voice results.

People will likely ask full questions or make detailed requests in voice commands. They don't use awkward key phrases like we did ten years ago. That means marketers need new keyword strategies that use long-tail keywords and phrases that sound like people speak.

2. Content Optimization for Voice Search

Optimizing for voice search also requires a nuanced approach, just like you would do for text-based articles and landing pages. Your content should provide direct, concise answers to the most commonly asked questions you get.

Think of the short, simple answers you could give to your most frequently asked questions, plus the related questions that might follow up. That means not only addressing the primary question but providing follow-up options when the original has been answered.

This can not only give the users the information they need but enhance their experience with your sight. Creating options like "Would you like to hear more about ____?" can keep users engaged with your site a little longer.

Create content that lines up with the conversational tone of voice searches. People will ask questions like, "Are there any local WordPress hosting providers?" or "How late is the library open?"

3. Local SEO and Voice Search

Local SEO and Voice Search

Voice searches — when they're not asking about trivia or information or to play music — are usually done by people looking for information about nearby businesses, services, or events. That means local SEO is even more important to voice search.

That means businesses need accurate and up-to-date information on Google Business or other online directories. Keep your website up-to-date, and make changes to Google Business as soon as they happen. Add regular new content to your Google Business listing to keep it fresh.

Use location-based keywords in your web content. And link your Google Business listing to your website and vice versa. That increases Google's awareness of your location, which makes your company easier to find when a user looks for geographical information.

4. Technical Considerations for Voice Search

Technical aspects of SEO, like structured data markup, provide context about your content. It helps search engines understand the relationship between different pieces of information on your website, which can increase the chances of your content being used for voice search results.

Use schema markup as well. Explore specific markup types that align with voice search trends. This can include schema markup for FAQs, local businesses, or other relevant features that cater to voice-based queries.

Schema is a standard markup language that's shared by search engines like Google and Bing. You can describe your pages to tell the search engine what is on them. (Check out for more information.)

(What's the difference between schema and structured data? Schema refers to the way you present your content, but structured data is the actual content.)

Optimize your website for mobile performance and make sure it's mobile-friendly. Not only does Google favor mobile-optimized sites, but many voice searches are made on mobile phones.

Finally, improve your page loading speed. Voice search will often give higher priority to pages that return quick results. A faster loading speed will ensure your content is available to voice searchers.

5. Evolving Search Engine Algorithms

Search engines are constantly changing and adapting their algorithms to meet their users' changing needs. As the use of voice search has increased, Google and others have changed their algorithms to adapt to "natural language" queries. That is, understanding the way people talk.

Stay informed on algorithm updates. This is more than just keeping up with voice technology and changes to voice strategies; you need to pay attention to the actual SEO industry. Make sure your company's SEO strategies align with the latest changes and requirements.

Analyze user behavior to stay attuned to the dynamics of voice search. By identifying common voice searches and understanding users' preferred language styles, you can tailor your content to match the users' preferences and patterns.

Optimize your content for conversational keywords. Since voice searches are usually conversational, using long-tail and natural language keywords in your content will match how people speak.

Integrate Voice Search into Web-Based SEO Strategies

Implement the following strategies to successfully ride the intersection of voice search and web-based SEO.

  • Optimize for featured snippets: Google is using Featured Snippets more often, which means they also show up in voice searches. Structure your content to answer common questions clearly and concisely.

  • Create FAQ pages: Write comprehensive FAQ pages that answer potential voice questions. Write like people talk ("natural language") for both questions and answers.

  • Create additional blog FAQs: Most of your FAQ answers probably have more information than just two sentences. Write longer blog articles about your most popular FAQs.

  • Invest in local SEO: If your business has a physical presence, make sure your business information is accurate and consistent on all online directories. If necessary, hire an outside firm to maintain this.

  • Optimize for user intent: The way people use search engines changes constantly; you have to keep up with what they're doing and change with them. Update your content as you notice new trends.

  • Monitor and adapt: SEO is not a one-and-done practice. Keep up with changes and best practices to stay up with current trends. Read industry articles and listen to podcasts. Monitor your results, improve what's working, and discard what isn't.

Focus on Featured Snippets

Focus on Featured Snippets

If you've ever done a Google search and seen a little "card" at the top of your search results, that's a featured snippet. They're short, concise pieces of information that Google extracts from web pages to directly answer a user's question.

The upside is that users don't have to click a link to find the information they want. The downside is that this has hurt many companies' traffic results. The companies that are showing up in the featured snippets feature are the ones optimizing and hoping the answers will lead to more clicks.

In voice search, featured snippets are the best source for voice results. When users ask questions to their smart assistants, the answers usually come from the snippets. It's the information that your smart speaker provides when you ask about the weather, a recipe, or the answer to a trivia question.

How to optimize for featured snippets in voice search

1. Understand common questions: Use tools like Google's Keyword Planner or other keyword tools to see the questions your audience asks the most.

2. Create content that directly answers questions: Keep it clear, short, and easy to understand. Break down complex topics into small chunks. Direct users to find more information.

3. Use clear headings and subheadings: This article uses H2 and H3 subheadings so Google can identify the content. Break up long sections into smaller ones with subheadings.

4. Use lists and tables: We use a lot of lists in our articles for the same reason. Google loves content that's well-organized and easily scannable.

5. Optimize meta descriptions: This helps search engines understand your content, it also entices users to click the search results.

6. Provide comprehensive answers: Longer and more thorough is better. The more thorough your content, the more likely Google will choose it as a featured snippet.

7. Include FAQs on your website: We've said it a lot in this article, which means it's critical. Google often pulls from FAQs when they generate featured snippets.

8. Regularly update and refresh content: Search engines prefer fresh, relevant information. Update your content regularly so they recognize it as fresh and new.

Five Industries That Can Benefit From Voice Search

While many industries won't benefit from voice search — I'm sorry, not many people are going to ask Alexa for recommendations for benefits analysis software — there are several industries that are seeing an increase in the use of voice search.

1. Home Automation and Smart Devices:

Ideal audience: Homeowners and tech enthusiasts.

This is a great time for companies that sell smart home devices or products that can integrate with voice-activation applications. Showcase how your products can integrate seamlessly into smart homes and improve homeowners' lives and experiences.

Teach customers how to use smart speakers and voice assistants to set up and operate their devices with smart plugs or even smart appliances. Give classes onsite or publish informational videos. Better yet, create a voice app that answers users' questions.

2. Recipe and Cooking Services:

Ideal audience: Cooking enthusiasts and busy professionals.

Create content that provides cooking instructions and integrates with voice-activated recipe searches. Show users the hands-free convenience of hearing recipes while they cook.

This can make the cooking experience more efficient, and users don't have to worry about spilling or getting food on their phones or laptops.

3. Local Services and Businesses:

Ideal audience: Local residents and tourists.

Optimize your online presence to ensure your business is featured in local voice search results. Promote the idea of people asking their voice assistants for guidance: "Ask Siri for directions to our nearest location."

Work with other businesses in the area to promote the use of voice directions for everyone. A rising tide lifts all boats!

4. Educational Content and Tutorials:

Ideal audience: Students and lifelong learners.

Make your educational content easily accessible through voice search. Just like companies answer frequently asked questions, create the same kind of Q&A pages for students. Emphasize the convenience of learning new skills or accessing information hands-free.

5. Travel and Tourism:

Ideal audience: Travelers, adventure seekers.

Promote your travel services and travel destinations by showing people how simple it is to gather information through voice searches. "Just ask your voice assistant for the weather conditions at our location."

Provide details for local attractions, travel tips, weather updates, and special events through voice-activated searches. Appeal to those who want a hassle-free travel experience.



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Final Thoughts

Voice search is a new shift in how businesses connect with their audience. Companies that ignore voice search will soon be left behind by those who embraced it early.

Remember, voice search won't replace web-based SEO: it's an evolution. You have to continue to follow SEO practices, but now you have to take the new methods into account.

By optimizing your content for search, focusing on local SEO, focusing more on long-tail keywords, paying attention to the technical makeup of your website, and keeping up with the industry changes, you can make sure you're staying ahead of the curve and ahead of your competitors.

As smart speakers, mobile voice assistants, and AI-based assistants continue to grow and improve, more people will use them and do business with the companies that are providing the information and services that take advantage of the new technology.

One of the easiest ways to do SEO on a website is to start with WordPress. If you want to learn more about how to host your company's WordPress website in the cloud, please visit our own site.

Frequently Asked Questions

How web hosting can affect SEO?

If you choose a web hosting company that isn’t that good, your site will load more slowly for visitors. Besides providing a bad user experience for your visitors, search engines also penalize slow sites, which makes your rankings in results go down.

How does SSD hosting impact my website's SEO?

Website speed is a crucial factor in SEO rankings. Since SSD hosting improves your site’s loading speed, it can positively impact your SEO, making your site more favorable to search engines and potentially improving your rankings.

How does cloud hosting affect the SEO performance of a website?

Cloud hosting solution improves SEO by making websites load faster and stay online more consistently. This is great for search engine rankings. It's also good at handling many visitors, which helps websites perform better for SEO.

How do I incorporate SEO best practices into my WordPress theme development?

Use semantic HTML, implement schema markup, create SEO-friendly URLs, optimize images, and ensure proper heading structures for improved search engine visibility.

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