How will voice search affect your SEO?

Smart assistants are on the rise, moving from mobile devices to in-home devices. This means that more people are using their voice to make search queries than ever before.

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Analysts predict that Amazon’s Alexa alone could be worth $10 billion (£7.6 billion) by the end of the decade. This poses a problem from an SEO perspective, forcing sites to think about how they optimise to account for these changing search habits that are reshaping the industry.

So how can you get ahead of the curve and leverage the voice search trend effectively, rather than being outmanoeuvred by better prepared rivals?

Pinpoint appropriate customer questions

Voice search encourages a long form approach to question-asking, rather than the concise methods favoured in the past by Google’s text-focused solution. This means that rather than considering keywords that will be impactful with your audience, you need to establish the more expansive questions they are likely to be asking their smart assistants.

This is effectively a return to the early era of internet search, before users had been trained into minimalism. Content created with key questions in mind will be more impactful in the age of voice search.

Optimise for snippet inclusion

With Google’s own voice assistant, questions asked by users are often answered from the Featured Snippet on the search engine, since the old list-based ranking system is not useful when an answer is being delivered by speech.

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Actually getting your content into a Featured Snippet may be tricky, but you can start to think about making this achievable by formatting it in a way that will appeal to Google’s algorithms and ensuring that it can be replicated effectively as an answer to a spoken question. Working with experts in SEO, like those at London SEO agency Elevate UK, will help you begin this process.

Avoid rigidity

An obvious but important point to consider when gearing up for voice search dominance is that this remains a fledgling area of the wider search market, and so should not yet be considered a defining element of SEO, nor something with a fixed set of rules to be followed.

Because of this, you should not get sucked into early claims about how algorithms behave now, or will do in the future. Just focus on crafting quality content that caters to users’ needs.

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