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What is voice search or more specifically what is Google voice search and why it matters?

Google Voice Search is a function that you can use to search the Web through spoken voice commands rather than typing. It can be used on desktop as well as on mobile. Google said recently there are 500 million monthly active users of Google Assistant.  For those not familiar with voice search you have to wake up your phone with “OK Google” and then ask the question, on tablet or desktop tap or click the icon.

So by “keeping it real”, for your website think what might be used when someone is searching for your business online? Order queries into three sections, in no particular order:

  1. Navigation:  “ does X shop have a website”  “clothes shops in X village” so “ visit Xwww for stylish clothes in X town/village”
  2. Information: “do apexmedia do e-commerce sites?” “examples of apexmedia’s client websites”  so create educational almost Wikipedia style content
  3. Transactional: “ where is my local clothes shop” so phrases such as “latest styles for the coming winter season”.

Google appears to show search results for other theme related terms giving your business more opportunity to be found i.e. appear on the SERP’s.  So expand your keyword research. Long tailed keywords or conversational phrases is what you have to keep in mind.

Tweak your keyword strategy to tailor it for conversational queries e.g. “where can I find” “ where is the nearest..” or instead of “Blackrock village market” you want to be specific and say “ the opening hours for Blackrock Market in the village are..”.  Use Google suggest and see what it comes up with e.g. ….

Google’s Hummingbird 

Google’s update for voice search is to better understand search queries and give excellent search results.  Its algorithm deals with conversational queries which lets the search engine get the actual meaning behind a search rather than the separate keywords within it. 

Intuitively Google understands that each question is relevant to the one preceding it, and offers, intelligent results based on very little input. So for example the next question could be “what restaurants are there”?  The response will change the “there” understanding that it refers to your original search for Blackrock Village.

What does this mean for content on your website and for your SEO efforts? Well, as ever,  it has to do with the quality and relevance of the content on your site.

Google looks for and favours natural conversation voice search, and a large part of its strategy has been under the umbrella of semantic search.

Semantic Search

Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding the intent and context of the search. Use synonyms, there are many helpful tools for voice search

One of the many tools you could use is the tool for some voice search terms which helps you find out what queries people are asking when looking for specific content on a websites such as yours.

The results for “stylish clothes shop” comes back with the suggestions in the image below. There are a limited number of searches allowed in the free version with the ability to upgrade for unlimited searches.

Optimise your content for voice search

We know to keep our searches concise and detailed e.g. “clothes shop in X village” would be a typical typed search.

As virtual assistants and voice search technology continually finesses, queries become more conversational. A search could run along the lines of “ best clothes shops in X village” and in reply the response could be “Here are the best clothes shops near your location.” It is like two people speaking. Keep this in mind for optimising your content, again this means using long-tailed keywords.

Long-form content > 1,800 words, is as strong in voice search as it is in traditional SEO. It is also a good idea to keep your sentences relatively short while making good grammatical/conversational sense.


Another among the many tools that may be helpful is see results below.

When generating content for voice searches keep in mind a search beginning with “what” shows someone who is looking for information, and one with “where” may be closer to purchasing some clothes.  

Answers to questions are algorithmically understood and displayed even when wrongly said or typed, for example, “who is the actor in the maldalorian”.  Google understands what information you are searching for and connects the keywords to an entity and displays an accurate answer, making Google’s search more constructive for its users.

Do you have an e-commerce site?

The time to get started with making voice search part of your content and SEO strategy is today.  Share content that solves the searcher’s problems and answers their queries. Ensure the content goes deep enough to have a chance at showing up as an answer when people ask their voice assistant i.e. their mobile phone/or other device, a question.

Ranking for SEO takes time and this holds true when it comes to voice search.

With the rise of virtual assistants it is clear that voice search use is ever increasing, but it is being relatively ignored but not by e-commerce sites. E-commerce sites fully understand the merits of voice search when a consumer can order a product by simply asking.

Businesses that have a website need to appreciate that voice search is too big a deal to ignore. 

This excellent blog Michael Lyamm gives great data on voice assistant usage. 

Have a chat with your Android phone today – “Hey Google show me my day” and see what comes up!