How Does Voice Search Affect SEO?

Voice Search SEO Pagezii Enterprise SEO Blog

How will Voice Search Affect SEO?

2017 has brought a ton of new trends to the enterprise SEO game. And one trend we continue to see in the Pagezii community is the topic of voice search.

For example, Dawid Kunicki asked us in our 2017 Enterprise SEO Trends post:

What about voice search? It may bring longer, more sophisticated phrases and questions to the game. What do you think about that?

Dawid is on the right track – voice search is definitely on the rise. But before we go further, let’s cover the basics:

What is Voice Search: Voice search is a Google feature that lets you Search by speaking on a mobile phone or computer. Rather than typing in a query, you can tap the microphone icon and say your search query. The result of voice search is more semantic or conversational queries.

With interest growing in voice search, we asked our pool of SEO experts to weigh-in on what the trend means for enterprises. Here’s what they had to say.

The Growth of Voice Search

Voice Search SEO Alex Genadinik

Voice search is on the rise. Rather than type in a short tail keyword, users are opting for the semantic route. Alex Genadinik from Problemio touches on the growth of voice search.

2017 is the year to focus on voice search. It represents a small percentage of current search queries today, but it is growing, and it is a great thing to focus on and dominate early before it becomes saturated.

Plan for Voice Search Now

Voice Search SEO Aalap Shah

As semantic search continues to grow, enterprises jumping on board early are going to reap the benefits. Here’s Aalap Shah from SoMe Connect with his thoughts on the new trend.

One key aspect that SEO managers in the enterprise setting need to consider and plan for is voice search. The semantic web is already here and the next evolution will be to build content catering to voice search. With Google Home, Siri, and Alexa (Echo), the possibilities and adoption of such search is near and SEO teams need to begin planning and implementation now.

Own Top Position with Semantic Search

Voice Search SEO Adam Gingery

Voice search is opening the door for enterprises to own top positions on Google. Adam Gingery from DMi Partners shares why this is important.

First off, Google is leaning towards “natural” or “semantic” search terms than antiquated keywords like “plumber Dallas”. Because of voice search, users are asking questions: “who is the best plumber in Dallas?” That being said, if your page title, h1, and body copy reflect a particular phrase, Google might display a structured snippet, or as Moz calls it, “position zero.”

A snippet is a featured bit of data—stylized as a paragraph, chart, or list—that Google displays above position 1. This is the holy grail of organic SEO.

Competition is heating up for these, so I recommend targeting them early.

Optimizing for Conversational Search

Voice search is definitely an SEO trend to look out for in the future. So how will this new trend affect SEO for the enterprise?

Long-Tail and Conversational Keyword Targeting

Enterprises will begin targeting long-tail and sophisticated phrases.

Voice search introduces a conversational approach to SEO. With this search type, users are more likely to ask a question. Meaning queries are a string of words which make up a keyphrase.

And there are benefits to conversational search for users. Providing context around your query helps search engines understand search intent, resulting in aligned results.

Search by voice is going to shake up the SEO game as we move forward.

More Enterprise SEO Trends

Voice search isn’t the only emerging SEO technology in 2017. Here’re several other enterprise SEO trends to watch for:

Schema Markup

Voice Search SEO Kent Lewis

Building on Adam’s point, Kent Lewis from Anvil Media also touched on using rich snippets to pique search results. The way to do this is through schema markup.

I believe the SEO feature enterprise marketers must focus on in 2017 is schema markup.

The importance of helping Google and other search engines categorize and understand content on large enterprise websites is essential. Schema markup/rich snippets enable content that can appear in organic search results, from articles and media types to location information.

While schema is most commonly associated with consumer brands (reviews, ratings, etc.) there is a benefit for B2B companies to target Google with structured data.

Mobile Shift

Voice Search SEO Kent Lewis

Mobile has taken over Google. And this shift goes hand-in-hand with the rise of voice search. Marcus Miller from BowlerHat shares why enterprises should make mobile-friendly content a top priority.

The main feature that should be at the top of everyone’s enterprise SEO list this year is mobile. Sure, responsive web design has been around for years now and I was first blogging about it in 2012 – but responsive does not always mean mobile-user optimized.

Businesses are still looking at mobile as a bolt on – making the website responsive. But the majority of sites still work best on desktop. This is back to front. We now see more visits, more search volume and more of every important metric on mobile. And this growth will continue as mobile devices improve and voice search becomes more prominent.

In my most recent Search Engine Land column, I detailed 25 key strategies that businesses can use to optimize their sites for mobile users. This looks beyond responsive design and page speed and towards truly optimizing the experience for the wants, needs, and patience of mobile users.

In our experience, enterprise companies are usually the slowest to react to these changes. The length and breadth of making these kinds of changes means they get pushed back allowing smaller and more dynamic competitors to generate a key strategic advantage.

In 2017, enterprise companies should be focusing on mobile as their key priority.

Engagement-Focused Content Approach

Voice Search SEO Chris Weaver

Enterprises generating engagement with their content will win in 2017. This is because content engagement shows search engines you’re providing value. Chris Jones from MWI has more on this approach.

I think the winning SEO feature of 2017 marketers need to focus on is engagement. And by that, I mean SEO’s need to constantly evaluate the pages on their site that are getting organic traffic and analyze what the avg. time on site, bounce rate, pages/visit, and exit rate. This will help identify what pages might be performing poorly. From there, we need to be creating 10X content that provides an answer to every possible question a potential user could have for a particular search term.

Google is absolutely considering “pogo sticking” (hitting the back button to go back to the SERP after clicking a search result), so it’s important that your pages are satisfying search intent. And there could be multiple search intents for one query.

A few bad pages on your site could have a trickle down effect.

Determining Search Intent

Voice Search SEO Rachel Stephens

Search engines are becoming more intelligent in how they show results. This means SEO’s have to up their targeting game too. Rachel Stephens from Totally Promotional discusses how SEO managers should focus on optimizing for search intent in 2017.

In 2017 our SEO focus at Totally Promotional is intent signal. Keyword research alone won’t reveal the intent behind the search. Through experience and careful evaluation we can determine which keywords best align with our converting searchers’ intent. Search engines are getting better at determining searchers’ intent, and it’s in our best interest as SEO’s to improve in this area as well.

2017 Enterprise SEO Trends

Moving into 2017, we see a number of new trends for Enterprise SEO managers to take advantage of – including the use of voice search. As we’ve heard from the experts, voice search can be leveraged by focusing on conversational and semantic search query targeting. A shift away from short-tail keywords.

Along with voice search, expect a few other trends to build steam – schema markup, mobile-responsive design, engagement focused content and search intent targeting to name a few.

Thanks to our SEO experts for sharing their knowledge.