Voice Search and SEO: Trends and Results

author image Written by: Lia           Categories - Digital Marketing, SEO Tips>Content Marketing

Is Your SEO Primed for the Boom of Voice-Driven Searches?

There’s no denying it; voice search is taking over. More and more people opt for their digital assistants over typing or tapping on a keyboard. Whether it’s Siri, Google Home, or Alexa, around 41% of adults and 55% of teens use voice search at least once per day. So, why do we use voice search?

  • Voice search is easy and convenient;
  • Multitasking is easier and safer, as you’re not constantly staring at your device;
  • It makes your searches more efficient, and;
  • It’s the future.

Voice search won’t make text obsolete anytime soon, but it’s clear we are on the brink of a revolution in how we interact with these devices. To be proactive as a business owner it’s important to understand how you can leverage voice-search to improve your client’s experience with your product or service.

Almost Identical results

You might be wondering: “Is there a difference between voice search versus searching using only keywords?These cats agree, you should consider voice SEO optimization for your business.The short answer? No. Both searches yield identical results. The not-so-short answer? Voice search is based on text search. That means there’s no difference between speaking or typing out the query. You can try this yourself! Use the voice search feature on your phone and compare the results by typing the same search terms. Same results, right? But of course, no one uses Google search the way they speak. For example, chances are you’ll see a difference in SERPs if you type out “pizza restaurant Ottawa” compared to saying, “I’m hungry, find a pizza restaurant near me.” That conversational tone actually reveals the needs of the user in a subtle way, and search results reflect this shift.

Phrases Over Words

When people type into their devices, they often use text-based queries instead of questions. The way we communicate with our phones or tablets through voice-search, however, offers much more nuance. We tend to speak to our phones and digital assistants in full phrases or questions. Marketers must optimize content for this new way we interact with search. Think of it as a conversation. You’re more likely to ask, “Where can I find sofas on sale?” as opposed to “sofas for sale.” As we begin to understand that people search by formulating a written question over keywords, it’s important to consider how you can optimize your content for this transition. One of the best solutions is to incorporate an FAQ page on your website. FAQs contain several conversational questions about your business, services, products, etc., and are incredibly useful for voice-driven searches. For example, if your website contains answers to common questions people may have, then Google will see your websites as the ideal place to get answers to those same questions. For example:

  • How much does a smartphone cost?
  • What equipment do I need for my new pool?
  • When is the next sale for electric cars?

These natural, conversational questions used in voice-assisted searches can be used as titles and the subsequent paragraph or content provides answers to these questions. Are you ready for the voice SEO revolution?

Demand, Don’t Ask

So, where is voice search heading? While questions will take precedence over keyword searches, demands will soon hold priority over both. Instead of simply asking, “How do I get to the ByWard Market?” a statement such as “Take me to the ByWard Market” will likely be the norm.

The Takeaway

As voice search is quickly evolving, marketers should begin to put a little more emphasis on optimizing for this new way of interacting with search. That’s not to say drop what you’re currently doing and put all your focus in voice-search. There’s no real way of knowing exactly where this wave is taking us, but preparing yourself by keeping up with trends, adapting your SEO practices, and evolving your content accordingly should get you ahead of your competition. Ultimately, at SEO TWIST we no longer focus on just offering information. We look at conversational queries people use to find what they need and blend those natural language questions into our clients’ content so that their websites answer voice-driven questions searchers are looking for, perhaps even directly. Passion led us here! Let us help you with your digital marketing strategies.


Mueller Explains Success of SEO Content Copycats


Plagiarism is one of the most irritating problems in the world of content production. SEOs and content creators are constantly finding their content taken word-for-word by other sites. It’s particularly frustrating to see another site rank higher on SERPs than yours after stealing your content.

Google pushes back against pages that plagiarize – so why do so many make it through the cracks and rank higher than the creators they stole from?

Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller spoke about the issue on a recent installment of Office Hours, Google’s SEO-themed livestream series.

A viewer asked Mueller what to do if their content was copied by a page that would go on to perform better – and what Google’s stance on the issue would be.

Mueller confirmed that Google does, in fact, check to see which page is the original.

“From my point of view, it’s something that we can determine to a large extent,” said Mueller. But even if we know which one is the original and which one is the copy, sometimes, it makes sense to show a copy in the search results.”

Mueller provided an example: the original page may rank lower if it does not appear trustworthy or if is ‘low quality.’

“If a higher quality website were to take some of content and publish it, we would say, ‘well, we know more about this website and actually, maybe, we should show this content in the search results.”

Mueller suggests investing in the quality of your website to avoid this problem.

Publishing relevant content with solid metadata and a good supply of backlinks can achieve this result.

You can view the Office Hours episode here.

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Google Offers Up Advice for Improving Content


From Proper Use of Headings to Interstitials – Google Talks Improving Content Focus

As what we can only assume is an early Christmas present, Google has offered up some sound advice for improving web content. During a recent Webmaster Hangout this week, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, was asked how content marketers can go about improving page content focus. More specifically, Mueller was asked about poorly indexed Product Description Pages and whether making content more prominent would help with this. Mueller responded that no, he did not believe this to be the case. “Just shifting the location of content within an HTML page, I don’t think that plays a big role at all. So, in that regard, I wouldn’t really worry about this,” he said. As a bonus, Mueller also offered up two key pieces of content advice.

Content Tip #1: Proper Use of Headings

A common misconception is that headings are considered important ranking factors. Because of this misconception, important keywords are often added to headings when they don’t need to be. So, while heading tags are important, they aren’t a tool for telling Google which keywords you’re looking to rank for. So, what are they useful for? “Headings are useful in that we can take a heading and see what images and which text kind of apply to that heading,” said Mueller, reiterating that moving text around to make it more prominent over images will not help to get content properly indexed.

Tip #2: Interstitials Can Block Indexing

Another interesting nugget of wisdom provided by Mueller is that an improperly deployed interstitial can interfere with content indexing. When provided with a link to a particular website as an example, Mueller noticed an interstitial for picking a country that might block Google from properly indexing content. “One thing I did notice when looking at that example page that you link to is that when I loaded up, after a certain period of time, it switches to… a country picker interstitial,” he said. “I don’t know how you’re…triggering this and if you trigger this in all locations, but for example, if you were to trigger this when Googlebot crawls and renders your pages that might also result in Googlebot not being able to index your pages properly. So that’s one thing you might want to double-check.” As for what he would recommend, Mueller suggested using a banner or other user interface object for site visitors to select the country they are in. “Because if you’re using a banner, even if that does end up being rendered in Google’s systems, then it wouldn’t block the indexing of the rest of your content. Whereas if you have an interstitial that in the worst case… takes out all of the old content and replaces it with this…country or language picker, then we might not have that much content left on the page for indexing,” he added. So, there you have it. While this may not be the secret to cracking BERT, Mueller’s words do still provide some interesting insight from a content marketing and SEO perspective.

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