As voice searches take over, Same SEO rules apply

Internet voice searching is the way of the future. It’s also the way of the present. A 2019 study found that nearly 60 percent of consumers are now using voice search to find information about local businesses. Of that group, 46 percent do a voice search every day, and 27 percent visit the business’s website after their voice search.

Furthermore, there are currently about 118 million smart speakers active in American households (why anyone would voluntarily keep those corporate spybots in their homes is far beyond me). Seventy-six percent of smart speaker owners use it to find local business information at least once per week; 53 percent do so at least once per day.

I don’t really understand the fascination with microphones. I’ve yet to become so lazy that I can’t take five seconds to type something into my mobile phone. Soon we’ll all be analphabetic, I suppose. That’s assuming the planet doesn’t melt first. And that we don’t commit extinction with nuclear weapons. And that general AI doesn’t enslave and destroy us. But I digress, as they say.

The point is that voice search is only going to grow in popularity, consequences be damned. According to Google, a full 20 percent of searches made on the Android Google App are spoken.

Which raises questions about how Google responds to voiced queries. SEMrush investigated the matter last summer and found that, the vast majority of the time, the answers provided by Google Assistant were pulled from the top three search results on Google’s website; and nearly 100 percent of the time they were pulled from the top 10.

“One thing we discovered almost immediately was that 97% of answers provided by Google Assistant are results that rank in the top 10 organic results,” SEMrush noted. “Therefore an existing first-page ranking is nearly a prerequisite for ranking for voice search queries.”

A few other critical findings below:

—“Close to 80% of the answers returned were from the top three organic results”

—“70% of all answers returned from voice searches occupied a SERP feature”

—the average length of Google’s response was about 41 words

—the answer’s language is very simple and easy to understand

—“Backlink anchors and keywords within a title matching the voice search query are present in over half of answer URLs for Google Home and Home Mini”

In short, all the principles and variables that apply to standard SEO apply equally to voice searches. As our vocal chords supplant our keypads (a bit retrogressive, actually, when you think about it), securing the services of a top-notch enterprise SEO company will be no less important.