Stevan McGrath

How to Change Your Content to Accommodate Voice Search

By: Stevan McGrath | September 27, 2017 | 

voice searchJust two decades ago, retrieving even the simplest data was time-consuming.

When Google launched in 1998, getting information changed significantly.

Today, when we need information, we simply visit Google, type a few keywords, and instantly obtain a list of websites to help answer our questions.

In fact, Google has become so smart that it now offers answers to many questions directly above the search results, eliminating the need to visit the websites found in search results.

Technology has rapidly advanced since Google’s launch two decades ago.

Today, the smart technology utilized in our devices makes it possible to retrieve information quickly by speaking to our devices.

Thanks to artificial intelligence, we now use our voice instead of our fingers for search.

From phrases, keywords to questions in Google—and in some cases, even enable our device to read back the answer, making internet search completely hands-free.

Voice Search and Content Marketing

Voice search has given us the ability to instantly search the internet without having to type a single line of text on our devices.

But, it can pose a potential downfall to companies who do not keep their websites updated with the latest changes in how people search the internet.

There are significant differences in the way a person uses their voice to search for information online, as opposed to searching by text.

And if a company does not take these factors into account when creating content for their website, they may be unable to reach their target audience using voice search.

Thus, companies need to make adjustments in their content marketing and creation strategies to accommodate these changes.

Who Uses Voice Search?

Before considering updating your content, let’s take a quick look at voice search itself.

Let’s look at who uses it, why they use it, and when they use it most.

According to a recent post published on Search Engine Land, more than 20 percent of Google searches on a mobile device are now done using voice instead of text.

While this is less than half of all mobile searches, it is important to note voice search is a recent technology.

It is becoming increasingly popular.

In fact, it will soon account for half—if not more—of all mobile searches.

With the launch of Google Home and Amazon Echo, more people are using these instead of smartphones or laptops.

How to Change Your Content to Accommodate Voice Search

We have looked at how search is quickly changing—from typing words to using voice commands to get an instant answer.

Now, we’ll look at how this advancement is changing the way companies create content for their websites.

If you are a business owner, and you haven’t updated your website, perform these tweaks to make your website “voice” ready.

Focus On Localized Keywords

According to Branded3, voice searches are performed three times more with localized-intent than text searches.

That’s three times more people who are searching for a place near them using voice instead of text.

It is something every business with a physical location should consider when optimizing content on their website.

Apart from making the website more voice-friendly, the focus should also be on making it more localized.

By including keywords that contain a location, there is a greater chance of showing up at the top of search results.

This is very useful someone who is driving and has asked their smartphone to find stores near their current location.

For example, let’s say a person is interested in dining at an authentic Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, New York.

Because they are driving, they use a voice search on their smartphone to look for a restaurant nearby.

They ask Siri, Cortana, or any other popular virtual assistant, “Where is the nearest authentic Italian restaurant in Brooklyn?”

Because this is a local-based search, the virtual assistant looks for websites that have been optimized not only for the keyword “authentic Italian restaurant,” but also for the location “Brooklyn.”

In addition to optimizing a website for localized keywords, a business owner must take care of their local listings.

When using voice search instead of text, localized results usually bring up listings on Google My Business first.

They they populate the search results with website listings.

For this reason, it is essential to list your business on Google My Business.

Make sure you include all the addresses of stores you own.

And, when using a blogger outreach campaign, optimize the content to prioritize localized keywords.

Voice-Focused Keywords

Website owners have become accustomed to optimizing keywords.

They target words and phrases according to results retrieved from certain online tools, such as SEMRush.

These keywords are usually short and to the point.

For example, a weight-loss company may target simple keywords, such as “lose weight.”

When a person uses voice search, they may not search for “lose weight,” but rather “how can I lose five pounds in a week” or “what foods should I avoid if I do not want to gain more weight.”

It is important to consider that a person will use a more natural language form when utilizing voice search.

For this reason, targeted keywords should be “voice-friendly.”

Answer Questions

Most search queries done by voice are in the form of a question.

When a person searches for something using their voice and lands on a website that does not offer a straightforward answer, they may decide to visit another website.

Not only do you lose a potential customer, but your website’s bounce rate is also going up. And that is bad for your rankings on Google.

To better accommodate voice searchers, be sure to anticipate the questions they’ll ask.

And then provide those answers at the top of the page.


Content marketing is quickly changing. If your business is not keeping up with these changes, you risk losing customers and ultimately, sales.

Voice search, in particular, is becoming a popular way for people to search the internet.

By making the small adjustments discussed in this post, you can ensure your website is ready for voice search.

And, it may give you an advantage over competition which is not “voice” friendly.

About Stevan McGrath

Stevan McGrath is a digital marketing professional who possesses expertise in brand design and development. Stevan is passionate about utilizing his diverse skill sets for new and innovative online marketing strategies. He has worked as a freelancer and a contributor to ProvenSEO . Despite having a wide influential reach, he seeks client satisfaction as his top most priority. He also writes blog posts on recent digital marketing trends. To know his work and more details you can follow him on Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn , Google+ .

  • Very much agree with you, Stevan. Businesses need to adapt and adjust their content marketing strategy to not only keep up with the on-going changes, but also to stay ahead of trends.

    It will be interesting to see how fast voice search is embraced by brands in 2018.

    • Stevan Mcgrath

      I am as much interested as you are Corina on how brands would embrace this voice search. 🙂

      Seems like this voice search will bring in more humane and natural factor in creating content, which will make it more intriguing for the reader. Plus, relevant search results will be quick to obtain once this voice search technology is embraced properly.

  • A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at Agents of Change. I like to sit in the audience when I speak so I can get gems from other speakers for my own speech. “When Matt said this earlier, this is how we can use it as communicators.”

    One of the speakers talked about how important paid search is going to be in 2018 and beyond, as voice search becomes more prevalent. His point was that voice search returns the top three results—and those usually are paid.

    What are your thoughts about that?

    • Stevan Mcgrath

      Now, there are 2 things.

      One, the paid results, or inorganic search results, will always be there in search results. As is the case in normal search, wherein we get paid results at the top and then it’s upto the user whether to select the ads or the organic results.

      The other case: When a user uses voice search, the questions are mostly local like- hardware store near me, restaurant near me, do they deliver, give me directions and so on. And the user generally expects a single,authoritative and a trustworhty answer. The question is, how can an ad be inserted between this conversation and yet make a good user experience!

      This might frustrate the user and might be detrimental to the growth of voice search. I guess, this kind of ad experience will need some time to get standardized (as we saw with traditonal paid search ads) to help consumer achieve better search experience.

      By that time, what local businesses should be doing is what can be read in the article.

      Hope I was able to address your question Gini. 🙂

    • Hi Gini. I think there are 2 angles to this: Which result Google delivers in voice search – paid or organic? Also, how will Google and Amazon monetise voice search?

      For example: Will Amazon begin to charge for the ‘skill’ functionality, like a licence for hosting for example. I’d guess they will.

      Will you be able to bid on voice actions as you currently do in Adwords for text searches? Again, I’d guess they will.

      • I can’t imagine they’d deliver paid results first because everyone would stop using it. But then again, they do want us to pay for things. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

  • Hi Stevan – thanks for the reference and the article! A really interesting topic. I’d add that voice search isn’t just searching the internet but navigating every day tasks – connecting devices – e.g “OK Google, play Stranger Things on Netflix.” connects your phone and your TV.
    You might find a presentation I did last month useful too: