How to Optimize for Google Voice Search

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As smart phones have become a central part of way of life, we’ve never had to wonder about random facts like we used to. Do you want to know what else that actress has been in? You can find out in about two minutes flat through a quick Google search and navigating through IMDB. Want to know the exact circumference of the earth? Google can tell you this in a fraction of a second.

Now the process has been sped up even more. You don’t even have to take the type to type out your questions; you just press on the microphone of Ok, Google on your smartphone and can ask the question again.

Voice search is here, and it’s not just a fad. Think about how many times you’ve been driving down the road and have asked Siri or Cortana where the nearest gas station is or how late that burger king stays open. It’s accessible, it’s convenient, and it’s fast. And it’s here to stay.

In this post, we’re going to discuss Ok, Google and how to optimize for Google voice search so you can start ranking first.

What Is Google Voice Search and Why Does It Matter?

Ok, Google is available on Android devices, and it’s essentially a google search bar with voice capabilities. Instead of typing your search query out, just say “ok google” and then say your query out loud.

We saw voice search emerge and become more popular with virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, and now Android devices can ask Google’s search engine questions directly.

Ultimately, Google voice search doesn’t really work any differently than traditional search; Google doesn’t interpret the results differently, or provide different responses. What users ask through voice search, however, may be a bit different.  

How People Are Using Google Voice Search

We’re becoming a lot more reliant on voice commands; when I was with at a friend’s house last week, she had her Alexa turn on music, play a specific song, set a timer for dinner, and tell her how long it took for pasta to cook. She then asked Alexa to find us dessert near her apartment, and off we were.

Voice search is instant, and people are typically using it to address instant needs. You really aren’t going to see people researching complex buying decisions through voice search unless that  buying decision is “where can I get some ice cream near me?” And I wouldn’t really call that complex. People are looking for instant information instead. If they are buying, they’ll likely be searching for “near me” options.

It’s also good to point out that voice search makes Google and its overall search engines much more accessible for those with certain disabilities, including people who have traditionally had low visibility or difficulty typing manually.

How to Optimize for Google Voice Search

Voice search is increasing in popularity, so it only makes sense than plenty of businesses are running to try to catch up. There’s a catch here, though: Google doesn’t really treat voice searches different than traditional search, so your classic SEO best practices still apply here.

There aren’t easy tips or tricks that you can use, and instead, it all comes down to delivering on search intent. If you’re able to do this, however, you’ll be able to give yourself an edge in voice search. And right now, there are some things you can do to help with that.

Let’s go over each.

Build Credibility

Nobody likes to look stupid, and that goes for Google, too. When Google provides an answer through voice search, it wants to be accurate. That means that Google will prioritize sites that have a history of providing thorough, credible information of relevance.

Having a high domain authority can help with this, and a large number of quality backlinks to your site indicates that you have strong, trusted content. The higher your credibility goes, the more likely your site will be to be favored in the SERPs with Google voice search.


You can check your current domain authority here.

Have a Fast-Loading Site

Site speed is an important factor in voice search, because Google wants to find the results that are immediately accessible. According to Backlinko, the average voice search result page loads in about 4.6 seconds. The faster your site speed is, the better. This holds true for traditional SEO as well, with site speed recently being a contributing factor to how well your site ranks.


Test your site regularly to evaluate site loading speed. My favorite tool for this is Pingdom, which will give you this information in just a few seconds.

Consider Keywords Attractive to Voice Search

While voice search doesn’t really make a massive impact on a lot of large ecommerce businesses, it’s a huge potential opportunity for local businesses. More and more people are asking their virtual assistants to find everything from desserts to dance studios to dentists, all “near me.”

Optimize for those “near me” keywords as one way to dominate local search. I have a client who has gotten great results from this. If you were an ice cream shop in Richmond, Virginia, for example, you might want to optimize for the following keywords:

  • Richmond ice cream
  • Richmond dessert
  • Dessert near me
  • Ice cream near me
  • Dessert near Richmond

As long as you’re business is taking advantage of local business listings on Google, you’ll be good to go and they’ll take care of the rest, interpreting the “near me” correctly. You don’t have to worry about showing up in irrelevant search results in Denver just because someone there typed “near me,” too.

Make sure that you do have plenty of reviews on that Google business listing because this will affect how you do in the SERPs– voice and otherwise.

Conclusion

Google voice search– like all other types of voice search and virtual assistant interactions– is only going to continue to increase. It’s a trend that’s here to stay, making the platform more convenient and even more accessible. Optimizing for Google voice search won’t be radically different from trying to rank well in the SERPs, so as long as you’re making sure your SEO is up to speed and you’re taking voice-friendly keywords into account, you’ll be good to go.

What do you think? Have you started taking Google voice search into account? How have you optimized for it? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

Ana Gotter
Ana is a content marketer, copywriter, and ghostwriter specializing in business management and social media marketing, though she's written in a variety of other niches. She can be contacted at anagotter.com
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