Local SEO

Voice search SEO: Top tips on how to rank for voice search

Position your business for voice search results and claim your share of the traffic

Quick summary
  • Voice search SEO gets your website to appear as results for voice search queries.
  • Building citations, generating reviews and staying in control of your listings helps local businesses rank for voice search.
  • Semrush’s Listing Management simplifies how local businesses optimize for voice search with powerful features designed to help you rank higher.

What is voice search SEO?

Voice search SEO is the process of optimizing your website content and local listings to appear as results for voice search queries.
As the technology has improved and delivered more useful results, people have turned to voice search in droves to answer questions and find local services.
The voice search button on the Google homepage
The voice search button on the Google homepage

Over the past five years, voice search usage has skyrocketed by 146% , from 3.25 billion users in 2019 to 8 billion users in 2023.
This huge uptake in voice searching has led to marketers and small businesses dedicating serious resources to voice search marketing to capitalize on the rewards and stay one step ahead of their competitors.
Failing to make it easy for voice search assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant to find your business leaves a lot of traffic (and money) on the table.
And it’s not as hard to optimize for voice search as you might think…

Why voice search is important for local SEO

The rapid rise in voice assistant use makes it an undeniably major part of the future of local SEO.
According to a report from PwC, only 24% of users feel comfortable shopping online with voice search, but an enormous 71% said they now prefer voice search to typing in queries by hand.
“Near me” searches are a very common use case for voice search, so getting your local SEO right naturally leads to success with voice search SEO too.
When smartphone users are out and about, voice search is a more practical way of getting the information they need, so you better be ready with complete and accurate business listings with decent star ratings.
For example, Google Assistant uses Google Business Profile (GBP) to extract the data users search for, so make sure your GBP is up to date and has plenty of glowing reviews for voice search users to be greeted with.
A Google Business Profile that might rank for voice search
A Google Business Profile that might rank for voice search

Google Business Profile is just one piece of the voice search SEO puzzle. Your business should also be listed on other sites that voice assistants are known to pull data from. Try Semrush´s Listing Management tool to build citations in 70+ top directories and increase your chances of ranking for voice search faster.

How to optimize for voice search

People typically ask voice assistants their queries in a conversational way, so they expect conversational answers in response.
Voice assistants favor content written in a natural style that sounds good when it’s read out loud to users.
Instead of typing “brunch restaurants south kensington”, people are more likely to ask “what are the best brunch spots near me?” So, when doing your keyword research for voice search optimization, look for long-tail keywords that make grammatical sense.
Google ranks content that concisely answers questions as featured snippets, which is where voice assistants typically go for results because they load faster. In fact, 70% of voice search results are taken from featured snippets.
Knowledge panels are another valuable source of information for voice assistants, so if you or your business has one, be sure to claim it to make sure the information is accurate.
The knowledge panel for McDonald’s that the owners could optimize for voice search
The knowledge panel for McDonald’s that the owners could optimize for voice search

While Google Business Profiles are a common go-to for voice search assistants for quick answers on local businesses, you should also have this essential information on your website marked up with schema so voice assistants can’t miss it.
FAQ pages are a great way to rank for voice search, because they’re already in the question and answer format—perfect for voice search SEO, as well as the “people also ask” section of the Google SERP.
Reviews can massively impact the results shown by voice search queries. When people ask virtual assistants questions like, “which hotels in London are good for weddings?”, Google highlights reviews that mention “weddings”.

Google results for wedding hotels in London
Google results for wedding hotels in London

Building local citations in other directories like Yelp (where Apple's Siri gets its information from) should also be a priority in your voice search SEO strategy. Additional citations help boost your positions in local Google results by improving your online prominence.
And because voice assistants like the fastest results, it’s important that your website loads quickly, especially on mobile, where most people conduct voice searches.

Google Pagespeed Insights showing a pass for Core Web Vitals
Google Pagespeed Insights showing a pass for Core Web Vitals

If you think this all sounds like a lot of work, you’d be quite right. Optimizing for voice search SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. But there are a few tools you can use to get you to the finish line a bit quicker.

Voice search optimization services: Where to start

Keyword research should be at the top of your voice search optimization strategy to-do list.
Google’s Keyword Planner is the obvious place to start. It’s really useful for generating keyword ideas and discovering what the most popular searches are.
But Semrush’s Keyword Magic tool goes beyond simple search terms and will actually show you related questions—perfect for voice search SEO.
Semrush’s Keyword Magic tool, which shows questions to help improve content for voice search optimization
Semrush’s Keyword Magic tool, which shows questions to help improve content for voice search optimization

Voice search optimization services like this are great for creating content that ranks for voice search, but what about local SEO?
Semrush’s Listing Management is packed with features that can get your business ranking in the top three local results on Google so you stand a much better chance of appearing in voice results.

Bonus tip: Semrush´s Listing Management tool gets your business ready for voice search with features that boost your local rankings and encourage voice assistants to bring up your business ahead of competitors.

Check your
local listings for free

Let Semrush’s Listing Management do the talking for your voice search SEO

Shout your NAP data from the rooftops

What if you could get your business noticed on Amazon Alexa, Apple Maps, Bing Places, and all the other 70+ important directories for local search?
Voice assistants won’t be able to find you if your NAP data (name, address, phone number) isn’t there for them to find.
So let Semrush's Listing Management tool distribute your business details across the web in one go, so you can start ranking for voice searches faster.
 Listings distributed by Semrush’s Listing Management

The ranking tracker that tells it like it is

Getting your business to rank for local searches is key to getting on the radar of voice search assistants.
But how do you know where you rank for potential customers around the corner versus those a couple of miles away?
Semrush’s Listing Management tool features a local rank tracker, so you’ll know if you’re getting closer to being the result of a local voice search. Premium users can also take advantage of Heatmap, which shows your local rankings in a map grid for up to five keywords.
The Heatmap feature in Semrush’s Listing Management tool

Broadcast your listings in one clear voice

Voice assistants are looking for the most accurate information, so if there’s one number on your Google Business Profile and another on your website, they’re going to get confused.
Don’t let voice assistants go to your competitors just because you couldn’t keep your business details consistent across all the relevant platforms.
Let Semrush’s Listing Management tool work in the background, looking out for citation errors and duplicate listings so you can rest assured you’re in the best shape to rank for voice search.
Duplicate listings discovered by Semrush’s Listing Management tool

Give your customers the response they deserve

According to Semrush's 2020 Voice Search for Local Businesses Study , businesses with lower than a 4.5+ review average on Yelp are less likely to appear in Siri voice search results.
Star ratings are a known local ranking factor and keywords within reviews can even position your business higher for long-tail search terms, but reviewers need a little TLC.
Semrush’s Listing Management lets you respond to reviews in one simple interface, so you don’t forget to get back to anyone and your reputation remains intact.
Reviews from Google Business Profile shown in Semrush’s Listing Management tool
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