Voice Search Explained

Voice Search Website Optimisation Explained

What Is Voice Search?

Voice Search is used by smart speakers & mobile hands free devices.

Voice search is accounting for a rapidly growing percentage of website traffic.

Phrases such as “Hey Alexa…”? “Hey Google …“? & “Hey Siri… “? Are common place today. Ranking well on Voice Search has never been so important.

Searching by voice is no longer viewed as a “beam me up Scottie” technology. Sat navs, Sky Q TV, smart home devices, mobile phones, iPads, smart watches, etc. All use voice search.

Voice Search Potential

To rank highly on voice search, we have to first concentrate on ranking well on traditional type or text entered search on-screen.

Which Search Engines Are Used By Voice Search?

By default:

  • Amazon Alexa uses Bing
  • Google Smart Speakers (Google Nest) use Google
  • Android Devices use Google
  • Cortana uses Bing
  • Siri uses Google

The Benefits Of Optimising For Voice Search

  • Improves overall page ranking for your website.
  • Drive more traffic and business to your site.
  • Provide a good resource of information for site visitors who are blind or visually impaired.

Search engines will rank your site on usefulness. If you are able to deliver the correct answer to a search query on voice-search, your overall site ranking score will improve.

The benefits of ranking well on voice-search are huge.


  • If you run a pizza takeaway and the user asks “Hey Siri… Which local pizza restaurant delivers locally on a Monday”?
  • You are a self-employed plumber and the user asks “Hey Alexa… Give me the number for a local emergency plumber”?

Alexa & Siri Recommending Your Business – How Good Would That Be?

In both of these example cases, the sites can be optimised to provide the search engines with the necessary information being location, opening times, delivery, emergency out of hours number.

The importance of tweaking your website to deliver straight-to-the-point information is huge.

The following two points have to be absolutely crystal clear to both your visitors and the search engines:

  • What you do
  • Where you are (or the area that you serve)
Voice Search Is Here

What Is Semantic Search?

Voice Search sounds very futuristic but it’s here. Search engines already deliver semantic search results to you everyday.

The days of search engines finding results by “keywords only” are long gone.

Search engines use intelligent semantic search algorithms to match the user up with the information that will most likely provide them with the information that they are searching for.

Semantics in search queries looks beyond the actual word as a piece of text.

Semantics looks to make sense of the meaning of the words. Therefore a user could actually include a keyword in their search query that doesn’t actually appear on your web page, but you still return the top result.

This is because the search engine is far, far more intelligent than you think. It has the ability to know what information that the user is looking for and be able to deliver them the correct result without the user actually using the “correct” phrase or word in their search.

Working Example Of Semantic Search:

If you are a landscape gardener in East Renfrewshire & the search user enters “best landscape gardener in East Renfrewshire”. Google will return a result using a mixture of intelligent algorithms including reviews, page ranking, user experience along with many, many more factors.

The fact that your website homepage opens with the line “Welcome to the best landscape gardener in East Renfrewshire”, has no impact on your search ranking.

Clever stuff. Do not try to trick a search engine. Clear, original & useful content is key.

(Even better example: I have included the text “best landscape gardener in East Renfrewshire” 4 times now in this article.

But Google is smarter than that. They know that I am not a landscape gardener and I’m not based in East Renfrewshire! Even although this article is now keyword loaded with that search term).

The same can’t be said for some other search engines unfortunately.

So if you do happen to land here looking for the “best landscape gardener in East Renfrewshire”, consider changing search engines.

Throughout all of the posts on this site, one of the messages that I will repeat again & again is “Do not try to trick Google”. Your site’s helpfulness & usefulness is key.

Smart Speakers Are Everywhere

How To Optimise Your Site For Voice Search

There is no quick answer, but I’ll try my best to sum it up.

  • Imagine a question that a search user might use to find your page or services using voice seach. A question that relates to your trade or channel.
  • Run that very question into Google search on a screen.
  • Look at popular search suggestions as you are typing the question.
  • Answer that question on your website with clear, accurate and decisive information.

Some Key Tips To Optimising Your Site For Voice Search

  • Include A FAQ Page
  • Answer frequently asked questions quickly & clearly.
  • Break Down Content To One Sentence Answers.
  • Use Bullet & List Options For Easily Indexed Snippet Answers.
  • Make sure that you are listed on Google Maps with up to date details.
  • Encourage happy customers to leave a review for your site on Google & Bing.
  • Monitor Your Snippets.
Win The Snippet

If You Win The Snippet – Keep It

If you win the snippet on Google, make sure you keep it. These are valuable search listings that are highly competitive. For every snippet that you have won, a competitor will be keen to win it from you. Check on them regularly and adapt the page to win it back if you lose it.

Some SEO experts would argue that if you own the snippet, you own the voice search.

This isn’t always the case but certainly is the case in a very high percentage of search queries. Voice searches will often rely on sources such as Wikipedia.

Target the voice search results that you want… and do a better job than Wikipedia by giving original, clear & accurate answers.

Let’s go one step further. If you search for something using voice search on Amazon Alexa, and Alexa replies with the answer “According to Wikipedia… (blah blah), this snippet search result is there for the taking.

Footnote to this article – This site is based in the UK and we spell “optimize” and “optimization” with an “s” rather than a “z”. (Always love to hear feedback but just to save you messaging in with spelling correction).

Thanks always for reading and hopefully this article has helped if you are researching this topic.