Your browser is out of date. The site might not be displayed correctly. Please update your browser.

Voice search marketing: What it is and why you need a strategy

Voice search marketing

What is it and how can you leverage it for local SEO?

Quick Summary
  • Voice search marketing is fast becoming the primary consideration for optimising data and content for digital marketers
  • Massive improvements in voice search accuracy, as well as the adoption of home-based devices like smart speakers, have driven its growing popularity
  • Most voice search users are looking for local businesses, so being in complete control of your listings can improve your chances of appearing in results

What is voice search marketing?

Voice search marketing is the optimization of data and content with the intention of it appearing in voice search results (Google Assistant or Apple's Siri, for example).
What started out as funny videos of completely misunderstood voice search queries has quickly progressed to a 95% accuracy rate (in English) and a widely used method for getting fast, convenient information.

Voice search marketing has fast become one of the hottest topics for content marketers and SEOs. A massive 72% of US residents who are aware of voice search have used the functionality, so optimising for it is essential for getting eyes on your business.

Why has voice search marketing become so important?

With vast improvements in accuracy has come a much bigger uptick in users leaning on voice search for hands-free convenience. Consumers no longer want to waste time typing out their search by hand, especially when on the move, and marketers need to consider this carefully when crafting content.

Smart speakers have normalised voice commands in our home lives, with online shopping and appliance control by voice becoming commonplace, which in turn has made users more comfortable with voice searches in general.

Voice search marketing examples

Typed searches tend to be minimalist, using the fewest words possible, such as "best bakery Toronto".

But with voice search, the user expects a more conversational exchange and will likely ask a grammatically correct question like "which is the best bakery in Toronto?"

So to rank for voice search, you'll want to craft the most natural-sounding response so it feels like a real person has understood and answered the question.

Voice search digital marketing is all about providing the best possible answer for questions, as well as having a great review generation strategy to rank for questions like "what's the best cocktail bar near me?"

Voice search marketing optimisation

Writing in a concise, natural tone is key to getting your content to rank for voice search.

According to Semrush's 2020 Voice Search for Local Businesses Study, 23 words is the sweet spot for voice search results across all assistants (Google Assistant goes a bit deeper and returns an answer of 41 words on average).

As many as 70% of voice search results are pulled from featured snippets, so the same best practices that apply to ranking in this coveted Google real estate also apply to voice search marketing. Build content around commonly searched questions and use the queries as headers to organize your text. You can also leverage schema markup to make your most important and commonly searched data clearer to search engines.
A featured snippet that might rank for voice search
A featured snippet that might rank for voice search
SEO health factors like quality backlinks and a high authority score are also deciding factors in appearing in voice search results.

But don't try to rank for voice search by simply gaming the algorithms; focus on the human being on the other end of the search and what they would like to hear spoken back to them.
Check your
local listings for free

How Semrush's Listing Management tool can help you rank for voice search

With 58% of voice search users looking for local businesses, investing in getting your listings right is a priority for those who understand the potential of voice search in digital marketing to boost revenues.

The common answers users need to find, such as location, opening times and contact details, will be easier for search engines to pull from listings, so it's essential to make sure yours are up to date and accurate.

Optimize your business info across all platforms

Semrush's Listing Management tool distributes your voice-search-ready business info to the most authoritative directories, as well as Amazon Alexa, Apple Maps, Bing Places, Google Business Profile...

Your website data alone simply isn't enough to make your business accessible for voice search results. For example, Google Assistant reads users' voice search results from Google Business Profiles, whereas Apple's Siri uses Yelp.

Semrush's Listing Management tool can distribute your business information to the right platforms, optimize for voice search marketing and make sure it's all consistent.
Semrush's Listing Management tool distributes your business information to the most important platforms, and makes sure that it´s consistent plus optimized for voice search.

Build citations and links fast to boost rankings

While location and distance from the user are important ranking factors, citations and links also play a key role. Search engines want to be sure they're displaying accurate data on your business, so will need to check several reliable sources for your name, address and phone number (NAP). If they can't see multiple citations, or find inconsistent data, they're far less likely to recommend your business to a voice search user.

Voice assistants simply aren't going to feature low ranking results in their responses. Getting your business in the snack pack (the top local listings) is essential if you want to stand a chance of being the answer to a user's local query.
Your business should rank well enough to find itself in the snack pack zone (the top local listings).

Manage reviews to make the right impression

The number of reviews your business has is important for voice search rankings, as is the star rating itself. According to Semrush's 2020 Voice Search for Local Businesses Study, a 4.5+ review on Yelp is more likely to return a voice search result for your business using Siri.

With Semrush's Listing Management tool, you can easily respond to reviews across all your listings - including Facebook, Yell and Google Business Profiles - in one simple interface. You can also run a review sentiment analysis to see what your average customer thinks of your business.
Respond easily to all reviews from several platforms in one place with Semrush´s Listing Management tool.

See how you're performing in local rankings

According to Google, searches including the phrase "near me" jumped by 150% in 2017, which calls for more detailed data for marketers to understand their users' needs.

Listing Management tool tracks your business' position based on search location, so you can keep an eye on how your business stacks up against the competition.

Premium users can also use the Heatmap to track up to five keywords and see their rankings displayed visually around their location for hyper-local targeting and market research.
With Listing Management Heatmap you can keep an eye on how your business stacks up against the competition on the map.
Still have questions about voice search optimization? We’ve got answers!
I agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy