How is voice search redefining SEO?

Voice search is the future.

Do you remember using a search engine in the late 1990s? Just before the turn of the millennium? No? Well, if you don’t, I’ll remind you. See, things have drastically changed since then, and it’s mad to think search wasn’t as sleek as it is now.

You’d have one of those big, bulky PCs, you’d dial up on your modem (to that oh-so-satisfying tone), click the browser, and type in your query. Remember Ask Jeeves – before it became Ask? Wasn’t he a butler or something? This played on exactly what search was like back then; like asking a friend; a friend who tries their hardest to give you a fulfilling answer. In fact, that’s exactly what search was like.

Luckily, thanks to the Knowledge Graph (circa 2012), the Hummingbird update and more, the search we know today is much more than just asking a friend. It’s probably more like asking God. It isn’t about the best match to your query, it’s the best match to your query in relation to so many factors. Factors from location to previous search queries. To quote Google, it’s about “things, not strings.”

Now, it appears, search is changing once more. This time it isn’t to improve our queries as such, but to encompass our new search behaviours. Voice search.

Apparently, 55% of teens and 41% of adults already use voice search on a daily basis. Although I’m yet to unleash the possibilities of voice search, it’s clear that as more people adopt AI, such as Amazon Alexa, OK Google, and Microsoft’s Cortana, we’ll see a growth of voice searches.

So, the question on every marketers’ lips is…

How will voice search affect SEO?

Well, as you can presume, how you search online and how you voice search is different. Online, you’re more likely to search keywords, such as “digital marketing agency Manchester”. Using voice search, however, you’re more likely to string a full sentence together, and ask – “Where’s the nearest digital or creative agency to me in Manchester?”

In other words, voice search adopts long-tail keywords, while online search makes use of short-tail keywords.

What can you do to assist voice search and SEO?

Keeping the above in mind, you should include long-tail keywords in your content strategy, and add FAQ pages that answer common questions in relation to your industry.

What both users want to get out of search will be different – and this is worth remembering. For example, users of voice search may want a quick response to an inquiry, while users who type a query might be researching a topic.

You’ll need to target both of these in your content.

According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Although the future of search is ever-changing, you can guarantee that the days of bulky PCs, dial-up modems and Ask Jeeves are far behind us. If you have a query, you don’t need to set up your PC and ask a fictional butler, you can ask a bot on your phone.

Isn’t it crazy?

Want to increase your search visibility? Read our blog – how to avoid 5 common SEO mistakes!