How Voice Search Can Be a Part of Your 2021 SEO Strategy
“OK Google,” “Alexa!” “Hey, Siri”
These are phrases that we’re all pretty familiar with. And as if Googling something weren’t easy enough, we find ourselves using virtual assistants to do it for us. As consumers, we enjoy using it -- in fact 27% of the global online population is taking advantage of Voice Search on mobile. But as marketers, is this something we should be considering in our SEO strategy?
The short answer is "no". The long answer is “it depends.”
Our opinion on Voice Search hasn’t changed much from 2017. To include Voice Search in your SEO strategy is to accept that you will not be able to understand the true effectiveness of your efforts. Optimizing for search isn’t difficult, but measuring its success is. Currently, there are no analytic tools that allow you to see how much organic voice search traffic is driving visitors to your site.
💡 The Good News: This means that existing SEO strategies are still the best path forward if you’re considering Voice Search 💡
If you are thinking of integrating Voice Search into your SEO strategy, you’ll need to consider if Voice Search will help you achieve your business goals.
How Does Voice Search Work?
Voice Search is largely driven by smartphone users. And it may come as no surprise that depending on the make of the device -- the way that a virtual assistant finds the answer varies.
- Google products use Google
- Siri also takes advantage of Google (aside from location results -- where it leverages Apple Maps)
- Alexa, on the other hand, uses Bing
Although Google and Bing are different, SEO strategies are often the same for both search engines. That means that existing SEO tactics still apply.
Is Voice Search Going to Help You Achieve Your Business Goals?
If you’re a business-to-business company serving a very niche market, then you’re likely not going to benefit from a Voice Search strategy.
If you have a local presence, Voice Search may be more valuable to you to help drive foot traffic.
However, in true Seer fashion, we recommend you look at data to determine whether or not Voice Search is a potential option.
- PPC Search Query Mining: Dig into your paid keywords, do any of them include “ok google"?
- Google Search Console Data: Analyze organic search queries for “ok google”?
- Audience Research: Qualitative and/or Quantitative
How to Check Google Ads Search Query Reports
- Sign in to ads.google.com
- Navigate to Report > Predefined Report (Dimensions) > Basic > Search terms
- Filter search terms to include “ok google”
- Analyze your terms!
🚨 Keep in mind that in September 2020, Google announced that it would reduce search term data for all advertisers. 🚨
How to Check Google Search Console
- Log into search.google.com
- Navigate to “Performance”
- Add a query filter for queries like “ok google”
- Analyze results!
Please note for some sites, you may not see any Search Console data that shows Voice Search queries. This may be an indication that it isn’t common for users to leverage Voice Search to get to your site. For other sites, you may have loads of data -- a Voice Search strategy might be important to consider in that case.
When you analyze these queries, always consider the intent behind the search and make sure you know your audience.
Are these searches looking for a specific product or service?
Are these questions already answered by your site?
Are high level branded searches coming from someone who doesn't want to type in your address?
Ask Your Audience (Not Siri)
Audience research and user testing is a great way to understand the role that Voice Search plays in your target market’s path to conversion. How?
- On-site polls (ask them if they used Voice Search to arrive at your site)
- Speak directly to your target market, have them walk you through their process that led them to convert on your site
These conversations will give you insight into how high of a priority Voice Search should be within your organic marketing strategy.
To “OK Google,” or Not To “OK Google,”? ... Final Take
- There is currently no way to measure the efficacy of a Voice Search strategy
- Consider a Voice Search strategy if it levels up to your business goals
- There is no special sauce to optimize for Voice Search, so keep on keepin’ on with your data-driven, audience-centric SEO strategy