Screenless SEO – The Rise of Voice Search

‘Voice search’ refers to the digital assistant on your desktop or smartphone. Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant are some of the better known speech activated searching tools that have allowed a whole new way in which we search to develop.

The fact that the wide majority of us own a device with these assistants consequently means that we are now using them at a rapidly increasing rate, and this has completely changed two things. Firstly, the search terms we are using, and secondly how search engines relay the results. We are unable to listen to 10 results in the same way we could view them on the page, so more often than not, when the first result is effective 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and so on isn’t even getting a look in.

At the risk of sounding like a pushy parent – if you’re not #1 you’re nothing.

So what are we using voice search for?

A study from Northstar Mobile Voice gave the below results for the general use of voice search.


These results may not show much initial significance for ecommerce – but Google’s prediction for the future of search does. Director of Search at Google, Beshad Behzadi said the trend would result in “an ultimate mobile assistant that helps you with your daily life so you can focus on the things that matter.”  As this momentum builds users will find themselves carrying out an increased amount of product-related searches. Retailers are therefore bracing themselves for a whole new SEO tactic based purely on natural spoken language. Subsequently content marketers will have to re-align their approach to a more conversational manner.

Here are some simple ways to make sure your site is voice search-ready:

  • Optimise your local listings – people use voice search to get information about physical places they want to go.
  • Think conversationally – optimise key areas of your website to reflect the natural language people would use.
  • Look for opportunities in your analytics – Here you can see the actual search queries bringing traffic to your site. Capitalise on these with your online content.
  • Create Q&A style content – People are using voice search for help with things, so be a source of advice and expertise that people can count on.

Comscore predict that by 2020 50% of searches will be voice searches. This means you simply have to sit up, and take notice of what this means for the SEO of your business. Don’t get left behind by this evolution, optimise for how people type AND for how they speak. Target the same prominent keywords but remember people may be searching for this within a question or query.

Finally, if you’re blessed with developers with mad skills, build a screenless app – before your competitors do.


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