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Voice search seo : what it is and how it affects SEO in 2020

Today we see how, every year, new technological developments change the perception we have of business, which implies a challenge for companies dedicated to digital marketing. They must take advantage of new opportunities if they do not want to be left behind. One of these changes in the market is caused by the widespread inclusion of voice search technology and its effects on the day-to-day Internet.

As a consequence, this has had an impact on search engine optimization , where following the best SEO positioning strategies is essential for most businesses in today's age. Voice search on the internet is altering SEO conventions forever, so it is wise for businesses to keep up with the changes and plan their strategies accordingly.

Voice search seo

Voice Search seo: The Rise of Voice Technology

In 2010, the introduction of Watson at IBM paved the way for voice technology devices. When we talk about Watson we must know that it is a powerful computer system for voice recognition , both questions and answers. He shocked the world by presenting himself as a super intelligent robot, capable of thinking and speaking, who was able to beat the great masters of Trivial on the television show "Jeopardy."

The following year, Google launched its voice search and Apple did the same with Siri, the first personal digital assistant, for its iPhone 4S. In 2014 it was followed by Microsoft's Cortana and Amazon Echo, a voice speaker powered by her personal assistant, Alexa . The Google Assistant wasn't released until 2016, as was the Google Home smart speaker.

Initial figures show that Amazon Alexa is leading the market today , although Google Home is forecast to take the lead in 2020.

Not surprisingly, speech recognition technology has improved significantly since its inception. Google claims to be around 95% accurate, while the Chinese iFlytek speech recognition system has an incredible 98% accuracy.

Voice search has also been extended to devices that fall under the general term Internet of Things (IoT), such as a smart TV, a voice thermostat or a home kit, where curtains, fireplace or blinds are controlled by the user without requiring any physical action on the part of the user.

It is also true that, although this technology has been with us for some time, voice searches on the Internet still do not have the direct applications necessary for most of these devices, so most of the searches are currently carried out through from a smartphone or smart speaker .

According to a study, 20% of inquiries on the Google mobile app and on Android devices are made with voice, while 31% of smartphone users use their voice at least once a week. And, it is estimated, in 2020 , half of all online searches are conducted by voice , while 30% of online searches are performed on devices without a display. This suggests a huge increase in voice search, as well as a very likely boom in the use of smart speakers. Some 3.25 billion voice assistants are currently in use, a number that is forecast to reach eight billion by 2023.

The consequences of voice in SEO

So voice is transforming our approaches to technology, but what impact is it having on search engine optimization?

Natural language

With increasingly optimized and reliable speech recognition systems, speech technology is able to adapt to follow everyday language use. In this way, users can give commands as if they were talking to a human . This is the main purpose that emerging technologies seek: to improve the user experience. The 2018 Internet Trends Report, conducted by specialist Mary Meeker, determined that 70% of voice searches were made in natural or conversational language.

Keyword length

The spoken language is generally not as concise as the written word, so queries are typically longer than the most common keyword searches in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). According to Backlinko, voice searches currently average 29 words in length. Professionals in the field of SEO positioning must adjust to these new parameters by using Long Tails , with the additional benefit that the longer the keywords are , the greater their conversion probability .

Defining the questions

One challenge that voice search companies have grappled with for some time is knowing how to approach questions. Searches increasingly include interrogative pronouns , such as who, what, when, where, and how, which are often omitted from written searches. Every marketer must ensure that their content provides accurate and relevant answers to voice search queries, as well as distinguish between simple questions and those that require more complex answers.

Also, queries that can be answered with very short answers will generally not generate traffic to a website because Google often provides the required information through featured search snippets.

According to SeoClarity, 20% of voice searches are triggered by fewer than 25 keywords . These include interrogative pronouns and other commonly used verbs, like do, go, or power, as well as key nouns and adjectives, such as recipe, new, or easy.

Semantic search

Unlike lexical searches that look for exact matches between keywords, semantic searches attempt to translate the meaning desired by the user within the context of the terms used by the user . To carry out this function, search engines focus on the user's search history, as well as their overall search history, the user's location, and the synonyms associated with keywords.

Since its inception in 2015, Google RankBrain has not stopped growing. It is an artificial intelligence system designed to recognize both words and phrases, in order to improve your search results. This peculiarity has made RankBrain able to handle your queries at a much higher level than the rest.

Hummingbird is another Google technology that helps with natural language queries. Unlike RankBrain, Humminbird focuses on making search results pages more relevant based on context and intent, resulting in more relevant pages ranking higher.

Local search

For some time now, technology derived from voice search has focused on the use of local search. This is because three out of four consumer searches are done with the goal of finding something close to their location. In fact, it is estimated that 58% of consumers find new nearby businesses thanks to voice searches , while 46% use voice searches to obtain business and local government information on a daily basis.

Any marketing strategy worth its salt must take this change into account, since from now on the optimization of "close to me" queries will take on an important weight in web positioning.


One thing we already know from Google is that around 75% of voice search results are going to rank in the top three positions on search engine results pages (SERPs). Most voice searches are answered by rich response boxes, which are displayed at the top of the SERPs, in 30% of total Google queries.

Electronic commerce

Undoubtedly, e-commerce is being particularly affected by the entry into the scene of voice searches, since it is much more likely that consumers use this tool to make purchases, given its simplicity.

62% of smart speaker owners have ever made purchases through their virtual assistant, while 40% of millennials use voice assistants before making their purchases online.

That is why digital assistants, both their use and optimization, should be a priority for online retailers.

Adapt to voice search

With voice technology changing SEO on so many fronts, it is normal for SEO companies to look a bit lost, not knowing how this will all end.

Here are some recommended steps for brands to adapt to voice search accordingly:

  • Google Voice prioritizes fast-loading websites , so companies must ensure that their images are optimized properly, files are compressed, reduce response time as much as possible, and that the web is responsive.
  • Content should be optimized with long-tail keywords that reflect the most popular popular queries in voice searches. The best option is usually to focus on using natural language .
  • The pieces featured are summarized responses web pages that can be used to generate high visibility. To optimize content for this purpose, include identifiable excerpts in your long tails and make content easier for Google to index by using tags like H1, H2, etc.
  • Both structured data and markup schemes ( Rich Snippets ) provide additional information about a brand, in addition to generating traffic. They also help pages appear in rich snippets, which will increase your chances of being the first result in voice searches.
  • Do not forget to provide local information for your brand, in order to meet the increased search volume for local companies adapted to it. This is especially important if we want to use a Google My Business tab, where voice searches are increasing every day.
  • Increasing the authority of our domain will help with search rankings. A Link Building strategy focused on including high-quality links can help you speed up the process.

One thing is clear and it is that the impact of voice technology on SEO is already marking a before and after. Given its enormous growth, it is inevitable that the impact on companies will be considerable. It is the responsibility of each company to know how to anticipate these changes, as well as to adapt as best and as quickly as possible, to be able to reap their benefits in the coming years.



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