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4 Things about how Voice Search is changing the SEO landscape you want to know

Aaron Wittersheim
Aaron Wittersheim
As Chief Operating Officer at Straight North, Aaron’s focus is on Internet marketing services, website service and technology. An accomplished entrepreneur with over 25 years of business, marketing and technology experience, Aaron has helped startups, middle market firms and Fortune 500 companies improve organizational structure and grow through his expertise.

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Desktops and laptops all over the world are gathering dust as smartphone and smart speaker users have their artificial intelligence (AI) assistants search Google for them. They only have to say a few words, and Siri or Alexa will find relevant information on products, businesses, and services. As of 2017, approximately 92 percent of 18 – 29 -year – olds across the United States own smartphones, many of which are capable of AI-assisted voice search.

Put simply, as AI technologies like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant become increasingly popular and sophisticated, they reshape the landscape of SEO for businesses through voice search.

The ways these systems deliver results vary, of course, with Google Assistant providing the top results on Google and Alexa only delivering answers that have been proven accurate. In either case, ensuring that your site ranks high on voice Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) can make a significant impact when nearly 1 in 6 Americans owns a smart speaker.

The Differences Between Text and Voice Searches

Many traditional typed Google searches are being replaced by voice searches as AI tech in smart speakers and other devices gains market share.

When a user types a query into Google, he or she will receive pages of results, but when a user conducts a voice search through an AI assistant, he or she is likely to receive only one response – usually the one that secures the highest-ranking spot for the search phrase.

For example, a typed search for hair salons (“hair salon Los Angeles”) will display 10 results on a traditional Google SERP, while an AI-assisted voice search (“Siri, find a hair salon near me”) will likely bring you a single result – probably the one that ranked No. 1 for the search phrase you used.

The hope is that the AI has selected the most relevant result, removing the need for any additional searches. As AI tech becomes more sophisticated, this hope is increasingly becoming a reality. And it clearly illustrates why content on business websites must be properly optimized for voice searches.

Voice Search Language Changes

Typed language online and spoken language are undeniably different. Those typing on a computer or smartphone may type “Chinese restaurant New York City,” while someone using voice search technology with Siri, Alexa, or another AI might say, “Alexa, where is a good Chinese restaurant in New York City?” or “Alexa, I want to go to a Chinese restaurant in New York.”

The former is a traditional search that can be modified with Boolean operators, and the latter is a complete sentence.

AIs are programmed to respond to searchers in a human way. That means they’re going to look for human language in the content they search for relevant answers to a user’s query. This shift emphasizes grammatically correct, conversational language in SEO content. Answering the who, what, when, where, and why of searches related to your business or services is gaining importance and beginning to eclipse traditional SEO optimization methods.

By emphasizing frequently asked questions on its site content, a business website will handily provide answers to the more common voice search queries. And ranking in the top spot will be more important than it ever has been as the demand for voice-assisted searches increases.

Al Technology, Location, and Navigation

Mobile Navigation

AI assistants also pull results based on location and navigation. Someone using voice search may say “movie theater near me” instead of searching for the best movie theater in the area or searching for a theater by name.

When businesses integrate their sites with Google Maps and make references to location-specific details in their content, they are more likely to rank in voice SERPs. One way to get a jump on this opportunity is by claiming Google My Business listings and maintaining them.

Capitalizing on a Shift in SEO

AI-assisted voice search is changing the face of SEO for businesses. Changes in the way results are given and the way users express what they are searching for are going to influence the way business websites rank for voice searches.

By providing smartphone and smart speaker users with content that addresses their questions in a conversational way that appeals to AI assistants, businesses and content creators can capitalize on and profit from a shift in the SEO world.


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