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The use of voice search is rising!

June 1, 2018

How Google Home and Amazon Alexa are changing SEO

You probably already used it yourself or have seen friends and family use it. It’s widely spread across all mobile devices with the likes of Siri and Cortana, but also smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Home are gaining more popularity.

Amazon’s Alexa app, which is required to set up Amazon’s Echo devices and other products with the Alexa digital assistant built in, was even the top app for Android and iPhone on Christmas Day last year.

Google even announced in January that it sold “tens of millions of Google devices for the home” over the course of the last year.

The technology for recognizing human speech has improved and people who use it get better search results. So, the common use of voice search will be here faster than you think and a lot will change in the way we search the internet. 


How does Voice Search differ from traditional search?

People thought mobile searching would be different from desktop searching, but in the end it was basically the same. Will this happen for voice search?

We don’t know yet because there isn’t a lot of data released from the big players. But we can take an educated guess.

Imagine you’re searching for the address of Superkraft

In the traditional text-based search query you will probably type ‘Superkraft address’ or something similar:


Image 1 : Google search Superkraft address

When using voice search it doesn’t feel natural to say this, it’s more likely you will look like this:


Image 2 : Google search with more words


What are the SEO tools we can use to optimize for Voice Search?

Google Home uses Google Search to find answers to our spoken questions. Some research done by Moz.com revealed that 90% of the text only Featured Snippets they tracked yielded a voice answer. 

Featured snippets are therefore an important feature you can invest your time in. You can only benefit from it: in the short run on Google Search and in the long run on Voice Search.

After all the featured snippets are at position zero in Google, meaning the highest reachable point in google search results.

Below you find an example of a featured snippet.  


Image 3 : Example of a featured snippet


5 steps how to implement Feature Snippets for Google

Finding solutions for your customers, that's what marketing is all about, isn’t it?

  1. Finding Questions Phrases: maybe try Keyword Planner of Google Adwords?

    Eg. You can find on search advertising the phrase ‘What is search advertising? A possible other tool to further investigate what featured snippets your competitors use is Serpstat.com.


    Image 4: Use the Keyword planner tool from Google Adwords to find question phrases
  1. Structure your article so that every question gets an answer.
  1. Use header tags, bullet point lists, table tags and be concise (40-50 words max.): use following HTML-tags, to make it easily readable for Google and your readers.
    • h1, h2, h3 (headlines)
    • ul or ol (ordered or unordered lists)
    • li (bullet points)
    • td (tables)
  1. Add images and high-quality video’s: add voice transcript for all of your videos. Google will recognize the text and might choose it for a featured snippet. 
  1. Add a "how to" section or Q&A to your site.


Voice Search is often local

According to thinkwithgoogle.com 39% of the information people want to receive about a brand when using voice-search is related to business information. (e.g., store location, hours).

Businesses should therefore assure that their Google My Business profile is up to date.

Eg If a user is asking “where’s the nearest advertising agency”, you want to ensure you’re in the top position.


what the future of Voice Search looks like 

  • Advertising: that won’t be an easy one, a picture is still much more important than text or a spoken advertisement.
  • Autonomy: A.I. making appointments and ordering your products for you? This is interesting for marketers and businesses. Where will it buy it from? What brands will it choose? Will it go for the first result on the search query or something else?
  • Emotions: later the A.I. assistants should begin to understand the emotions and the state of mind of the users. It will then make decisions based on this. Will marketing be able to influence these decisions? Perhaps in the future we won’t have to market to humans but to the A.I. they use. 



Bart Van Costenoble Bart Van Costenoble
Data Analyst

Online Marketing