Voice Search SEO
Posted by Charlie Recksieck
If You Ain't First, You're Last
That's been good enough for now. But if we broaden the idea of "search engines" and also account for the different nature of voice-based search (where you only have 1 result read back to you), then we might want to rethink the nature of our SEO. And of our notion that Google is the only game in town.
% Of Voice Searches
Currently, 20% of searches are voice searches according to Tech Jury. That's as of early 2022.
Meanwhile, here is a great collection of 10 important stats and ways of thinking about the current state of voice search.
We have not found any special secret sauce that works across all voice results. As reported here - you can ask the same question of Google Home, Alexa, Siri and Cortana and get four different results.
Smart Home, Phone Search
In this space we like to give definitive advice or concrete steps to take to improve your technology and your business. I've got to be honest here and come clean that I don't have the answers on how to get yourself to be the first answer on smart home voice search. As we've mentioned before in our 2020 post about SEO there is a brutal difference for voice search compared to traditional SEO issues: you have to be THE first result. To quote Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights: If you ain't first, you're last.
One thing we can point out when thinking about voice SEO - as pointed out in this terrific Goldstein Brossard post earlier this year, voice search means longer sentences. So if you optimize for longer sentences like "where can I get Indian samosas" then you might capture that search whereas you still wouldn't be the returned result for "Indian restaurants".
Search Engines That Aren't Search Engines
No, Wikipedia is not classically definable as a "search engine". But Wikipedia is almost 2% of all web traffic - period. Within Wikipedia people are searching all the time. And what's unique about Wikipedia vs. everything else we are talking about in this article is that you can edit Wikipedia pages yourself. If your business is notable enough, you can write your own Wikipedia page if you want. Technically, people are not supposed to be able to game the Wikipedia system so much, but in reality, you can do it some.
If you're subtle about it, you can even insert yourself in general articles. Let's say you're a self-published mystery writer in New Hampshire. It's conceivable that you could edit the page on New England authors to mention yourself and include a link to your page or reviews as a reference. Think about it. Of course, if you're making outlandish or just plain untrue claims, they'll probably be removed. But it very much is a system you can game.
Again, another site that is not a "search engine" per se. But YouTube comprises almost FIVE percent of all web traffic. That is a stunning number. If you have video content, then your descriptions matter. And perhaps just thinking about that outsized influence that YouTube has over the internet might motivate you to create more content there - even if just a simple infographic of yours set to music.
You can talk about DuckDuckGo and Bing all you want but there are more searches being done on YouTube and Wikipedia than either of them. So, we encourage you to broaden your concept of SEO and get creative.
Apologies that we don't really have a formula or page elements for you to include in your site's SEO schema. Remember that stat in the first section above citing that 20% of internet searches are voice searches? Indeed, the real main point of this article is to get you thinking that if that number is 20% right now, can you picture where it will be in 3 years? 5? 10? What are your plans?
If it's still the Wild West on voice search right now, then you could have a huge strategic advantage if you figure this out right now before the rest of the world or at least the rest of your competitors do.