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voice SEO

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Voice SEO is the optimization of keywords and keyword phrases for searches using voice assistants.

According to some SEO experts, voice SEO is required for websites to effectively show up in results for searches conducted through voice assistants. In 2018, voice searches made up 20% of Google search queries, 25% of Bing searches and 10% of Baidu queries. The potential importance of voice SEO will rise with the increased use of voice searching, which is likely as more people use mobile devices for web searches and other computing purposes.

Some of the most common voice searches are for navigation. Local businesses can benefit by registering on a listing service such as Google My Business, a free tool for businesses to manage their presence on Google Search and Maps. Another important consideration is the inclusion of more conversational terms and phrases since searches through a voice assistant tend to mimic real-life conversations. This approach is called long-tail+, where the plus is for conversational phrases that are added to enhance SEO for voice. Microdata, which embeds metadata in the existing HTML of a webpage, also helps optimize websites for voice SEO as it allows web crawlers, browsers and search engines to better understand the contents of a webpage.

Critics argue that voice SEO is irrelevant because voice searches are turned into text-based searches before they’re submitted, which makes them no different than desktop or mobile searches. Advocates counter that although voice searches do search the same way as mobile or desktop and often have the same results, the nuances of voice search can help both search engines and marketers better understand and serve consumers than traditional text searching.

This was last updated in September 2018

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