Google Voice Search: The New Beginner’s Guide (2020)

by Nikita Shevchenko

In this guide, you will find out everything the beginner needs to know about Google Voice Search.

Specifically, you will learn:

  • What Google Voice Search is
  • How to optimize your website for voice search
  • How to make sure that your content is voice search-friendly

Let’s dive right in!



Google Voice Search Fundamentals

In this chapter, you will see the answers to some of the most popular questions about Google Voice Search.

I will also explain to you why voice search is so important for SEO right now and why you should always keep it in mind when creating content for your website.

What Is Google Voice Search?

Google Voice Search is the technology created by Google that allows users to search for information verbally rather than typing search queries into the Google search bar.

Voice Search became very popular during recent years and its usage has grown exponentially.

Which makes it a very BIG trend in the modern SEO world.

Why Is Google Voice Search Important?

Voice Search has already become one of the most trendy ways to look for information online.

In fact, Google has recently stated that 20% of all Google searches done on mobile are now voice searches. (Google)

the percentage of people that use google voice search

Additionally, a new voice technology study by Adobe shows that 48% of consumers are using voice for “general web searches. (Adobe)

the percentage of consumers that use Google voice search

Finally, Voice Search has become 35x more popular since 2008. (KPCB)

All of the statistics that you see above mean only one thing – you can no longer ignore voice search and it should gradually become an integral part of your future SEO and content marketing campaigns.

When did google voice search come out?

  • The Year of 2010. Users had to call a phone number and say the keywords they were searching for. Google then would hook them up with a webpage that contained certain results that fit the keywords they mentioned before. The users could also receive a link that could take them to the search engine result page.
  • Between 2010-2020 years. Bearing in mind that the initial technology is not sophisticated enough, Google started to work on its speech recognition technology advancement. It also began to integrate the voice search concept into its core products such as Google Maps and Google Now.
  • Now. Google voice search is integrated into various products, services, and applications. It is a core part of the search engine that can determine how certain results appear on the Google search page.

Why Do People Use Voice Search?

The three primary reasons for using voice search are convenience, usefulness, and speed. (KPCB)

Useful When Hands/Vision Occupied

The most common reason for using Google Voice Search is the ability to search for information when hands and/or vision occupied.

Users report that it is very convenient to use it while eating, driving a car or riding a bike.

Faster Results

It appears that voice search can deliver much faster results than the traditional method of search.

Searching with voice happens to be way faster than typing words. This reason alone is enough for users to integrate voice search into their lifestyle.

It is easier to use

You only need to say your question out loud and receive the answer immediately without browsing through multiple web pages trying to find the necessary information.

You don’t have to type anything and the answer is read back to you.

Some of the other reasons for using voice search:

  • Users like to use voice search because of their ability to multitask. (PWC)
  • It is tailored to mobile phones.
  • Smart speakers are a part of peoples’ lifestyle (GeoMarketing)

It isn’t hard to understand that voice search has already become a major part of SEO that should be treated seriously.

The question is:

Are you well-prepared for this new trend?

In order to stay on track and use the voice search technology in your favor you need to start optimizing your site for it.

Let’s see how you can do it in the next chapter.

When it comes to voice search, everything on your websites should be in its right place.

In other words, you need to make sure that you optimize everything there is to optimize on your website to appear in voice search results.

Let’s see a couple of useful tricks you can try.

Optimize for User Intent 

  • Answer Specific Questions. Mobile voice searches tend to be very specific and require very precise answers. Do the market research and use the exact answers in your content. Think about the questions your potential customers may ask about your business.
  • Provide a Sufficient Amount of Information About Your Business. Mobile users usually search for the main business information. Operating hours, address, parking lot availability, contact information, and other business info needs to be stated on your website.
  • Write Detailed Product/Service Descriptions. As it turns out, lots of people like to search for products and services via voice search. To help your content rank higher in both voice and traditional searches you need to write very detailed descriptions for your products and services.

Increase Your Site Speed

If you want your content to appear in voice search results you should make your website fast in the first place.

And the good news is that it is not that hard to do:

  • Switch to a faster host. I recommend using SiteGround. It is a very fast web hosting solution for small and medium-sized websites that require a Fort Knox security level and lightning-fast loading times.
  • Reduce Image Size. Upload the optimized-for-web images to your blog. Shrink their size with special plugins such as WP Smush.
  • Leverage Browser Caching. You can do it with plugins like W3C Cache or SG Optimizer (if you are with SiteGround)

These are the top three things you should take care of if you want to speed up your website for Google Voice Search.

However, if you need to know a few more tricks that will allow you to make your website lightning fast I recommend you check this Website Speed Optimization guide.

Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

It is very important to do Mobile SEO. Especially considering the fact that about 60% of all web searches are performed via mobile devices.

mobile devices vs desktops google voice search

On top of that, the voice search mainly happens on mobile devices.

So it becomes necessary to make your website mobile-ready.

You can do it by installing a premium WordPress theme like GeneratePress.

This way you will guarantee a responsive web design for your site, as it is recommended by Google itself.

Which brings us to the next step…

Use Schema Markup 

Implementing the Schema Markup on your site will put you ahead of your competition because:

  • Google will be able to better understand your website content and thus rank it appropriately.
  • It will structure the website data in such a way that will allow users to access the necessary information more efficiently.
  • You will have a chance to secure a position in the Knowledge Graph and increase organic click-through-rate.
Schema Structured Data on Mobile google voice search

All of the above factors should tell you that Schema Markup can be really beneficial for Google Voice Search.

You can utilize Schema structured data markup by using RankMath.

Update Your Google My Business Profile

As I have already mentioned above that there is a huge chunk of voice search users who are performing local searches.

Which helps us understand that we need to take care about Local SEO.

Specifically, you need to make sure that your Google My Business(GMB) account is fully set up and polished.

  • Fill in ALL required fields
  • Include high-quality images
  • Update your GMB profile from time to time

This way your content will appear on top of mobile voice search results (especially if it gets into The Google Map Pack).

google map pack google voice search

Boost Your Site Authority

This step is the last in the list, yet it is as important(if not more important) as other Google Voice Search optimization strategies here.

The reason why I put this strategy last in the list is because it takes A LOT of time to leverage.

Additionally, it may consist of a few mini elements that shape Domain Authority.

They are:

  • Google E-A-T. It is a huge Google algorithm that deserves your attention. You can learn how to deal with it from my full Google E-A-T Guide.
  • Content. Content is king. Publish only well-researched and high-quality content on your blog.
  • Backlinks. Build backlinks from relevant blogs and websites. Use this Link-Building Guide for beginners.
  • Big Brand Mentions. Needless to say, the more times your website gets mentioned by Big Brands the more authoritative it becomes.

All the strategies I’ve listed in this chapter will help you optimize your website for Google Voice Search and make it way more visible in search.

However, when it comes to your blog content there are some more adjustments you need to make.

Let’s see how you can do keyword research with voice search technology in mind.

I should not probably tell you how keyword research is important for SEO.

And when we talk about the “keyword research+voice search” combination, there are absolutely different rules that should be applied.

Let’s check them out.

 Target Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords tend to perform great in Google Voice Search.

In fact, they should form the lion’s share of all keywords you use for voice search optimization.

That said, I would not recommend you optimize an entire page for one long keyword phrase.

Instead, use long-tail keywords wisely and spread them across the article.

LSI Keywords can work well in this case, especially if you make them longer than they normally are.

lsi keywords in the google voice search

 Try “Question Keywords”

Thanks to Google Voice Search, question keywords exploded this year.

As a matter of fact, people started to use them more often in traditional search as well.

Here are some question keyword examples:

  • How to…
  • Where do I…
  • Where is the…
  • Why is…
  • When should I…

How to find some quality question keywords for your content?

Step #1: Go to AnswerThePublic and Type in Your Target Keyword

answerthepublic search bar google voice search

Step #2: Check Various Results

content marketing keyword variations google voice search

Step #3: Select the Most Relevant Question Keywords

I was able to find these nice keyword combination in under 5 min:

  • What are content marketing tools
  • Where to start content marketing
  • How content marketing helps SEO
  • Why content marketing fails
  • When to use video in content marketing

 Use “More Natural” Keywords

As obvious as it sounds, people use more natural language when they speak but not write.

On top of that, Google search algorithms get more sophisticated and advanced every day, so natural keywords take the central stage.

So let’s see what you can do about it:

AvoidTry
get fit, fast, no exerciseHow to get fit fast without any exercises
leveled reading books, Spanish, kidsSpanish leveled reading books for kids
BJJ drills, beginner, homeHome-based BJJ drills for beginners

Let’s now see what you should do if you are a local business owner.

Optimize for “Near Me” Phrases

The “Near Me” phrases are huge in local keyword research.

Many local SEO experts put a lot of weight on them because local searchers tend to use them A LOT!

And voice searchers are not an exception!

In fact, mobile users have started to use very targeted search queries lately.

Look at these examples:

  • Vegan restaurants near me”
  • Montessori school near Central Park”
  • Chinese courses near 5th Avenue”

As you can see, local searches include location-based keywords.

What does it mean?

Local business owners should optimize website content for these types of search queries.

They can be:

  • [keyword] + near me”
  • [keyword] + near [specific place]”
  • [keyword] + near [specific street]”

Include “Filler Words” in Your Content

Remember when I said that you need to use more natural language in your content?

Well, “Filler words” make the language as natural and conversational as it can be.

Great examples of the filler words can be:

  • I
  • the
  • on the
  • for
  • to
  • in

There is another BIG reason why you should use filler words in the content.

The chances of exact content+search query matches are much bigger.

In other words, if people use certain filler words and you have these words in your content, you are going to rank higher.

filler words in the voice search question and web page content google voice search

Which brings us to the next chapter…

In this chapter, I will tell you how you can optimize content for voice search.

As a matter of fact, there are some specific adjustments you can do to ensure that your site content is voice search-ready.

Let’s dive into the strategies.

Create long-Form Content

It is not a secret that high-quality content can be the main traffic source for your website.

And one of the sure-fire ways to increase content quality is to publish longer posts (>2000 words).

Note: Longer does not always mean better. The post should be packed with actionable tips and strategies.

As it turns out, longer content also can help you rank higher it voice search.

The reason?

The more words you put in your posts the more chances you have to rank for various long-tail keywords that you use in the copy.

So make sure to publish long-form content as often as possible.

I personally, don’t publish blog posts with less than 2000 words.

on page seo content length google voice search

Write for People (NOT Search engines)

The times when you could write a 1000-word blog post, spread the robotic keywords here and there, make them bold and call it a day are gone forever.

Google and other search engines constantly evolve and Google Hummingbird update has put everything in its right place.

Now, in order to rank higher in search and in Google Voice Search particularly, you need to use more natural language in your copy.

In other words, write for people first, and only then think about search engines.

To help you out with making your copy more appealing for human eyes I have listed the question you need to answer before writing a publishing a new piece of content:

  • What types of questions are my potential customers using?
  • Do they use any jargon phrases or location-based terms?
  • What types of questions are the most popular?
  • What types of answers would I like to get if I ask the same questions as MY audience?
  • What types of answers already rank well in Google Voice Search? How can I make mine more helpful than my competitors’ answers?

Improve Content Readability

Break it up into small digestible chunks

The first thing should do is to teach yourself use subheadings in every piece of content you publish.

It will help your readers skim and scan it easily. And your content will have more chances to appear in Google Voice Search answers.

organized content google voice search

Lower the Reading Level of the Article

One of the industry studies suggests that you need to write for 9th graders and younger. (Source)

The Recommended Reading Level for Blog Posts google voice search

The reason?

It increases the reader’s comprehension level and it is good for user experience(UX).

By lowering the reading level of your articles you also ensure that a wide audience can understand your content.

Use Numbered Lists and Bullet Points

These elements help improve your content readability a lot!

They may break up huge blocks of text and deliver additional value to users by showing the information in another form.

Additionally, lots of Google Voice Search answers are pulled out from well-structured numbered lists and bullet points.

So do not forget to include them in your blog posts,

Add FAQ Sections

FAQ pages and sections can help rank really high in search and they are especially helpful for Google Voice Search optimization.

Why?

They consist of questions that people usually ask and provide crystal clear answers.

They can even appear in the “People also ask” block on the search page:

faq snippet in search page result google voice search

So include popular questions people usually ask and write down super clear answers for them.

faq block in the article google voice search

Try to Win Rich Snippets

I have reserved one of the most useful strategies for this part of the guide.

And let me tell you this, it is a true goldmine for those who want to optimize their website content for Google Voice Search.

google featured snippet google voice search

The reason?

About 60 % of all voice search answers come from Featured Snippets. (Source)

So the question is:

How to get your content appear in Featured Snippets?

Make sure that you follow the tips above:

  • Secure your website with HTTPS
  • Speed up your website
  • Do topic research and put links to authority resources within your content
  • Optimize your content for mobile
  • Break up your content with many headers (H2 and H3 tags)
  • Include short and concise answers to questions (30-40 words)

Use Short and Clear answers

As you have already understood, Google Voice Search users are looking for fast results.

Your job is to make them satisfied.

Short and clear answers are exactly what they need!

By doing so, you do yourself a favor twice:

  • You increase the chances of your content to appear in Featured Snippets
  • You help you content rank for different question keywords in search

Not convinced yet?

The results of multiple industry studies indicate that people who use Google Voice Search usually get the answers that do not exceed 30 words:

the number of words an average google voice search answer has google voice search

The bottom line:

Make the answers in your blog posts short and concise. Every word matters. Avoid informal style and jargon words this will help your answer appear in Google Voice Search.

Summing It Up

  • Increase Your Site Speed. Google Voice Search technology favors faster websites.
  • Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly. The vast majority of voice searches are performed on mobile devices which makes it obvious for webmasters to optimize their sites for mobile phones.
  • Use Schema Markup. Structures data helps Google and other search engines better understand the website content and rank it according to its value.
  • Optimize For User Intent. Be proactive when creating content for your website. Find out what kinds of questions people in your industry tend to ask.
  • Update Your Google My Business Profile. Most of the voice search queries have local intent. Needless to say, your GMB profile should be as optimized as it can be.
  • Boost Your Site Authority. Websites with higher domain authority appear in Google Voice Search results much more often than less authoritative websites.
  • Use More Natural Words and Phrases. People don’t use robotic keywords when they speak the questions out loud. So do not stuff your content with artificial keywords either.
  • Create Long-Form Content. You will be able to rank for many long-tail keywords and provide value to your website’s visitors.
  • Improve Content Readability. It will allow Google better process the data and rank your content in search. Content with a high readability score tends to appear more often in voice search results.
  • Try To Win Rich Snippets. Lots of voice search results are pulled out from the content that appears in Rich Snippets. Do your best to optimize your content for Rich Snippets.
  • Add FAQ Sections and Pages. These helpful elements will be able to appear in the “People also ask” section on the search page. There are many voice search results that are taken from this section.
  • Use Short And Clear Answers. Google Voice Search answers tend to be very short results (there are less than 30 words).

Now you know exactly how to optimize for Google Voice Search!


Which of the strategies are you going to utilize first?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

Also, add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Instagram, I share some useful stuff there 😉

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