Voice search: optimize your SEO

Siri, Cortana, Ok Google… These robots integrated into our smartphones and computers aim to facilitate research on the internet. How? By allowing users to perform a voice search, easier and faster. Except that this new browsing habit has repercussions on SEO.

Indeed, we do not speak in the same way as we write… 75% of mobile users use voice search in their daily activities. They use voice recognition to call a contact from their phonebook more quickly, ask their GPS for directions, find help for their work or look for an application to download.

Voice search: optimize your SEO

Faced with this new trend, it is obvious that your natural referencing strategy must adapt! Here’s everything you need to know about voice search in a few steps:

State of voice search
The influence of voice search on featured snippets
How to optimize your pages for voice search (according to Google)?

State of voice search

In January 2018, there were already a billion monthly searches made with voice. Voice search is taking more and more place in user habits. Thus 70% of people who use it would not see themselves going back.

This practice is particularly common among millennials who use it, for 37.8% of them, at least once a month. Voice is already very present in commercial transactions and plays an important role in the purchase journey.

This landscape, therefore, confirms the need to take this change into account and to adapt its SEO so as not to sink into Google’s limbo.

Content that provides an answer

Generally, a voice request is posed in the form of a question: “how to do…”, “what are…”, “why the…”, etc. Therefore, your content must absolutely contain the question and a quality answer.

It is therefore time to rework the titles of your articles, as well as the subtitles, to take up the problems of your prospects so that they appear in the search results.

Put yourself in their shoes to choose the formulation that seems most relevant to you and does not hesitate to formulate the question aloud, to check that it is easy to pronounce.

The local search goes to the voice

Adults and teenagers mainly use voice search to find their way around. The voice assistant then uses the GPS built into the iOS or Android smartphone to show nearby results.

You will have to rework your SEO to appear in the queries of Internet users who are in your environment. This is all the more important if you have a business, a restaurant, or any other establishment with a storefront.

Be sure to work on the name of your city and to be correctly located on Google Maps. A Google My Business account becomes essential!

The influence of voice search on featured snippets

Featured snippets or position zero in Google are the pages highlighted when the results are displayed. They correspond to the page that the engine considers being the most relevant for a search.

Featured snippets provide quality, easy-to-read answers, and voice assistants like to use them when a user asks a question. What does that mean? That featured snippets have a big impact on voice search! When an assistant gives an answer, it relies on featured snippets. It is therefore essential to optimize your SEO for “voice search” and to take care of position 0.

There is no code or tag to force the creation of a featured snippet. Only Google decides on this choice. And in the context of voice control, this zero position will be the place of choice to appear in the results.

From keyboard to voice

In the distant days when the internet arrived and queries were entered into search engines via keyboards, internet users were adapting to search engines. They were adjusting the way they made their requests. Of course, as search engines have evolved, so has their ability to understand natural language patterns and the intent behind queries. The algorithms developed by Google have made it possible to adapt to the needs of users.

From now on, the search engine no longer takes the keyword into account: it performs a semantic search to find the most relevant content. Regardless of the query typed, the user is almost sure to find the answer to his question in the first links. Which is good news for voice search! Because the latter only works if search engines can interpret human speech and engage in conversation.

The era of voice assistants and artificial intelligence

By looking at how voice assistants search (what we say versus what they search), we can see how machine learning has advanced with natural language processing. This also gives you an idea of ??the types of requests to monitor to optimize your voice SEO.

According to a study by Moz, it seems that rich snippets are mostly displayed during a query that is interrogative or that has 3-4 words.

Among the words that generate the most featured snippets, you will find “how” at the top, followed by “best”, “done”, “a lot”, “what” and “is”. All of these words usually form complete sentences, which we shorten in writing, but not in speaking.

How to format the content?

Have you decided to optimize your SEO for voice search? If you want to optimize your voice SEO, create long-tail, natural-sounding keyword lists. Write informative and interrogative content to increase your result and reach, one day, position 0.

In writing, Internet users summarize their requests as much as possible. Orally, it’s just the opposite! This simplified way of searching encourages precision. It is therefore your long-tail strategy that will bear fruit.


Why such a success for these comparative or interrogative formats? Because they improve the user experience, a goal Google has pursued since its inception. With featured snippets, the search engine responds directly to the user’s question by offering a definition, a guide, or a comparison.

You can be a meta-description superhero, but if you don’t optimize your content to appear as featured snippets, it won’t help.

As a reminder, long tail keywords consist of at least 3 words, usually with an adjective. For example: “black evening dress”, “cheap summer dress”, “short green dress”, “long blue dress”, etc.

Note: spelling mistakes are intentional! Internet users’ requests are rarely granted or combined. And precisely, this is another point of evolution inherent in voice search! Internet users will correctly pronounce their searches and virtual assistants will write without fail. Consequently, it will also be necessary to work on expressions such as “black evening dress”, “short and green dress”, “long blue dress”, and “cheap summer dress”.

How to optimize your pages for voice search (according to Google)?

How can voice search shake up SEO practices? What are its specificities? And, above all, how to optimize a web page for voice search?

Luckily, during a “Google Webmaster Hangout”, John Mueller (analyst at Google) gave several interesting details on the subject:

Here is a brief summary of the lessons that can be drawn from it.

1. Use structured data

Structured data is, more than ever, an important SEO key. And their usefulness isn’t limited to getting Rich Snippets to stand out in search results: John Mueller recommends using them to optimize your pages for voice search.

The objective: to describe as best as possible what the page contains and the subjects it addresses… And that is what micro-data does wonderfully.

2. Content that sounds “natural” when spoken

Voice search involves the use of oral language, sometimes very different from that used in writing. In other words, the closer the wording of your content is to a person’s natural speech, the more likely it is to precisely match the question asked by the Internet user.


“Nearly 70% of queries via the Google Assistant are expressed in natural language. These are not the typical keywords people use to search the internet.” (Source: Google)

Imagine a person asking “What is the tallest mountain in the world?” to Google Assistant or Siri. Now let’s compare two correct answers, but worded differently:

“Everest is the highest mountain in the world”

“The peak with the highest altitude is Everest”

To simplify, the first answer is more direct and “natural” than the second, which would certainly favor it’s referencing for voice search.

3. Avoid “complicated” formats

Sometimes, the answer to a question is expressed in an “original” format (understand that it is not a simple text):

A painting
A graph
A list of links leading to sources of information

While there’s nothing wrong with that (a table, for example, is a great way to represent complex data in a clear way and is a good way to get a featured snippet ), voice search isn’t fond of it. of this type of content.

To reference well on oral requests, it is better to favor simple formats: for example, the question as a title and the answer in a short paragraph (just below).

This is not to say that simple “question and answer” pages are the future of SEO …

4. Don’t over-optimize

John Mueller warns us against the temptation to over-optimize for voice search. Indeed, those who would like to create long pages of a single paragraph aimed exclusively at voice requests are warned: Google does not see this very favorably.

Pages with real added value and significant content in substance (not just in the form!) will therefore always be preferred.

5. Improve loading speed

If the speed of display and the speed of loading of a site are already important criteria for Google, the ranking could become even more demanding with voice search. It will be 55% faster than text search.

To be able to keep up with this pace, it is therefore crucial that the site loads extremely quickly.

6. Secure with HTTPS

The most used search engine in the world is very attentive to the security of users. Among the pledges of good faith, HTTPS is a solid argument. Google has already indicated that it favors HTTPS sites in its ranking. This will be even more true with voice search.

7. Shorten snippets

Snippets are the descriptions of a web page intended to provide a relevant answer to a user’s questions. This is a summary of the page.

Google is increasingly experimenting with the concept of “quick response” and wants to provide the most effective and informative summaries to users. From the perspective of voice search, the snippet should be even shorter, not exceeding 29 words.

8. Leverage Domain Authority

More than ever, domain authority will be a great asset to appear in voice results. Good news if your site already has the trust of Google and significant work on the quality of your backlinks if this is not yet the case.

9. Easy-to-read content

The results selected by Google’s voice search should be intelligible to a college student. This means using a simple vocabulary, made up of easy-to-pronounce words.

Since voice search must be able to do without visuals, it is important that the content is explicit and understandable the first time.

10. Rich content and long articles

Proof has already been made that long content was the most efficient, both for ranking and for sharing on social networks.

This will always be true with voice control, for another reason. The richer the content, the greater the likelihood that it will match the search. FAQs have been found to perform well in voice searches.

11. Reach the Top 3 desktop results

As you probably know, the ranking of results in Google is not the same whether you are on mobile or desktop.

If today the Indian giant emphasizes mobile results with the Mobile-first index, voice search seems more friendly with fixed terminals. Thus, the results provided by voice search seem to largely coincide with the top 3 desktop results, for an identical query.


You know everything about voice search, its trends, and how to optimize your pages with it! And if you need help with your SEO.

About the Author: Rakesh Donga is the CEO at MagentoBrain, and MagentoBrain is Magento 2 development. Its services include but are not limited to Web development, WordPress development, Shopify development, Web design, & SEO Services.

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