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Be Ready for the Next Trend in SEO: Voice Search

Voice search is on the rise: more and more search queries are being made verbally. Since they differ significantly from classic text-based queries, this development brings SEO challenges.

In the private sector, voice control and voice assistance systems are becoming more and more widespread. For many people, it is now normal to start music or dictate WhatsApp messages by voice command. But this development does not stop at the business sector: B2B companies are increasingly forced to deal with this development.

A large part of all search queries on the Internet is already carried out by voice search, which brings with it completely new SEO requirements. Quote

So if you want to continue to be present on the Internet, you have to become active and adapt to Voice Search!

Voice Control for Order Placement

But what does such a search actually look like? What do we have to imagine under the rather foreign term Voice Search? In fact, it is quite simple

Imagine a lawyer who is looking for a digitalization solution for the processes in her law firm. A few years ago, in this situation, she would have hunkered down behind the keyboard and spent a few hours searching for quotes. Today, things are different: Instead of typing a few snippets of words into Google Search, she speaks into her smartphone on the drive home - and finds suitable services in no time at all this way.

At first glance, voice search hardly differs structurally from conventional search. But this impression is deceptive: what is needed here is an almost comprehensive linking of different applications that are all involved in the search query. This linkage, in turn, makes it possible to display much more individualized search results. But more on that later.

Voice Search in 2021: Here's Where Things Stand

Do you really need to deal with this? Is it even an issue in Europe? Is this new technology catching on at all? It sure looks like it! A Semrush study from the year 2020 clearly sifts out the potential of voice assistance systems in this regard

20% of Internet users worldwide perform voice search queries; 58% of them also search for businesses

By comparison, according to Tractica, just 390 million people worldwide used voice assistance systems at all in 2015 - of which, again, significantly fewer are likely to have used them for internet searches.

But does that hold true in the B2B space? Presumably it does! Those who use such systems in their private lives will in all likelihood not want to do without them at work either - and the decision-makers who take care of your B2B orders are ultimately just people

In consequence, this means that you should not close your eyes to the facts: It may be annoying to have to completely rethink your own SEO tactics; however, it is inevitable when the search behavior of potential customers changes significantly. Specifically, this means:

Voice search optimization is a necessity in B2B as well

Voice Search and Text Search: What Are the Differences?

At the beginning, it was already indicated that voice search differs from traditional text search not only by its oral character. What exactly these differences look like, you will learn below.

Verbal Is Asked Differently

You probably don't speak the way you write. What sounds obvious doesn't change when it comes to search queries: Most users just talk to Siri, Alexa and Co and don't think about how they can best formulate a search query. For the SEO context, this means that other keywords play a central role here. If you search for "marketing agency for car dealerships in Berlin" in a text search, you are more likely to ask "Who advertises for car dealerships nearby?" or "Where can I find someone in Berlin who advertises for car dealerships?

Location Plays a Greater Role

In addition, search queries made by voice command are even more individualized than text-based queries. This is also due to the fact that they are generally made from mobile devices. This stronger individualization leads to the fact that those companies are clearly at an advantage that are registered with Google as local companies and accordingly provide information about their company headquarters, their opening hours and their offer

Local SEO is therefore playing an increasingly important role

Search Queries Are Made on the Move

As mentioned above, verbal search queries are almost exclusively made via mobile devices, while text-based queries still come to a large extent from stationary devices. In marketing, this means that you need to put even more emphasis on using responsive design and optimizing your company's site for mobile devices.

Voice Search Basics

But how and why does it all work? What is Voice Search based on and what does Voice Search Optimization have to consider accordingly?

Semantic SEO

You probably remember the early days of Google, when search results had little to do with search intent. The fact that this is no longer the case today is largely due to the fact that the Google algorithm has been semantically trained: Today, it understands how to recognize contexts of meaning and grasps the meaning of a search query much better than in the past

For search queries made via voice assistance, this ability is even more significant than for written queries.

This is due to the fact that we speak differently than we write: Before we type something into the search box, we think longer and try to find search terms that fit as well as possible; when we speak, we do not. This means more work for the algorithm, which has to understand that by typing "Where can I find help for hay fever?" we're probably asking for a pharmacy or allergy practice

This is also true in the B2B area: It requires semantic understanding to understand that "Where can I have advertising posters printed?" is aimed at advertising a printing company in town X.

Schema Markup

So-called schema markups are closely related to semantic optimization: With them, the Google algorithm understands much better how things are related and what they are about than with plain text. Websites that work with such structured data appear, among other things, in the so-called Rich Snippets, which are clicked on much more frequently than simple search results

This is also important for voice search, as it wants to offer users results that are as accurate as possible - and therefore also prefers to use such excerpts. So in order for Siri, Google's Assistant and others to be able to answer a question briefly, concisely and satisfactorily, they resort to markups.

Rich Snippets

Rich snippets have already been mentioned: they are created from structured data and provide short answers to precise questions. This makes them perfect for the needs of users who use voice search: Voice assistance systems can easily read out the short results.

Voice Search Optimization Made Easy

So back to the practice: How does optimizing for voice search work?

Voice SEO Tip #1: Create a Google My Business Entry

One of the most important points for B2B companies when optimizing for voice search is to create a My Business listing on Google and include all relevant data about the company. This is the only way Google can know for which location-based queries the company in question should be displayed.

Voice SEO Tip #2 Use Structured Data

Those who use schema markups and other structured data can make it into the rich snippets and other highlighted search results that are read aloud by voice assistants. You don't want to miss out on this opportunity.

Voice SEO Tip #3: Put Long-tail Keywords in the Foreground

When optimizing for voice search, the W-questions are more relevant than individual keywords

Spoken search queries are usually significantly longer than typed ones - and thus rarely limited to single keywords. While it traditionally makes sense to rank for "Autozulieferer München", in voice search optimization it makes more sense to optimize for the phrase "Welche Hersteller von Autozubehör gibt es in München?". So subheadings may need to be adjusted.

Voice SEO Tip #4: Include Questions

W questions are also relevant for another reason: Google likes to turn them into snippets that can then be read aloud. Integrating a section with specific questions into your own page and optimizing it with structured data therefore makes sense.

Conclusion: Voice Search Optimization Means Moving with the Times

If you don't want to move with the times, you have to move with the times - as platitudinous as this saying is, it applies just as much to the SEO sector

Anyone who still relies on keyword stuffing today has no chance of being found

Perhaps it is the same with optimizing for voice search: Those who are still exclusively focused on text-based searches in a few years will then probably have disappeared into digital nowhere - which can end fatally in the B2B sector.

Since more and more search queries are being made via voice assistance systems and these queries differ significantly from text-based queries, it is also crucial for B2B companies to rethink their SEO strategies.