Tips for Adapting to AI and Voice Search Trends

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The rise of voice search and artificial intelligence (AI) brings a new kind of search behavior that will inevitably influence your search engine optimization efforts and performance.

Thanks, in part, to the rise of voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana and AI’s natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, voice search is gaining traction as a standard method of discovering information online. Currently, in the United States, it’s becoming a part of the daily routine of around 50% of consumers. This number is expected to rise as the technology industry expects a surge in voice assistant usage in 2024.

An estimated 8.4 billion people will use voice assistants in 2024, and this trend is not expected to slow down as more people are born into and learn to navigate a world with 24/7 internet access. Current projections suggest that voicevoice will grow into a $45 billion channel by 2028, creating a well-spring of business growth opportunities.

Related Article: SEO 2024: Key Changes and How to Adapt

If you want to tap into it, the sooner you adapt to AI and voice search trends, the better. As we continually seek to push for innovation in our clients’ SEO practices, we offer practical tips in this guide to help you kickstart your journey toward voice search optimization.

Understanding How AI is Powering Voice Search

Before diving into the optimizations you can do for voice search, you must understand how AI powers voice search and vice versa. Given how broad SEO is, understanding these technologies helps underpin precise strategies to deliver results.

Overall, AI significantly impacts voice search by enhancing search engines’ understanding and processing of spoken language. Below, we discuss these specific capabilities that help AI power voice search.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

NLP allows AI to comprehend and interpret human language as it is naturally spoken. This capability is crucial for voice search because spoken queries often differ from text searches.

For instance, a user might type in a text search as “best Italian restaurants NYC.” But for a voice search, they might say, “What are the best Italian restaurants in New York City?” NLP enables voice assistants to understand and process these conversational queries accurately.

The main implication is that AI lets voice search technology better interpret the searcher’s context and intent. In doing so, search engines can serve more personalized search results, improving the overall user experience.

Machine Learning (ML)

AI leverages ML algorithms to improve the accuracy and relevance of search results over time. By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI identifies patterns and refines its responses based on previous interactions.

In simple terms, the more people running a search, the better it gets at providing answers. For example, if a user frequently asks for vegan recipes, the AI will continually prioritize vegan options in future food-related queries. ML can be similarly leveraged to enhance AI and voice search technology’s context awareness.

This continuous learning model lets AI understand the user’s intent based on previous interactions and current circumstances. In time, it can even diversify results with recipes, restaurants, or other informational content related to your query.

Voice Recognition

AI-driven voice recognition technology ensures that voice search systems can accurately capture and interpret spoken words, even in noisy environments. This capability enhances the user experience by reducing errors and improving the reliability of voice search results.

These AI capabilities collectively enhance the functionality and accuracy of voice search, making it a powerful tool for users seeking quick and relevant information through conversational queries.

Implications of Voice Search on SEO Efforts

a person running a voice search through their voice assistant speaker

AI is a powerful tool that helps optimize daily processes and tasks. In the context of voice search, AI’s technological capabilities ultimately benefit you by enhancing the search experience. Specifically, AI enables two key enhancements in search:

  • Improved accuracy in search results: AI-driven voice search offers more accurate results because of its ability to pick up on contextual clues and nuances of spoken language. This accuracy allows you to run more complex or specific queries that might be text-form misunderstood.

In online businesses, this accuracy helps bolster credibility as your pages are pushed to searchers to provide the exact answers they need.

  • Higher relevance: Thanks to machine learning, better personalization means AI delivers more relevant results tailored to your preferences and previous search patterns. Increased relevance reduces instances where you need to run another search to arrive at a satisfactory answer to your query.

For online businesses, user engagement and client satisfaction also improve as searchers immediately get an answer to their queries.

  • Refining the search optimization process: As searches become more contextual and conversational, SEO strategies will need to pivot so you can match your customers’ current needs. While it’s admittedly another uncomfortable learning curve, adapting will bring valuable rewards, given that many searchers use voice search to transact or purchase. Ultimately, it makes the experience more engaging as traditional keyword optimization evolves to target long-tail keywords and phrases that sound conversational.

Search Engine Optimization for Voice Search

Integrating AI and voice search begs us to rethink how keyword research, content creation, and technical SEO are approached. Putting talk of ML and NLP aside, the rise of both technologies actually helps us reground SEO on something very important, yet many have started neglecting: understanding search intent.

With a proper understanding of search intent, follows:

  • Specific and context-driven keyword research requires terms and phrases that sound more conversational than spliced. For example, where a text search would look like “weather NYC,” voice searches sound like, “What’s the weather like in New York City today?” This type of research demands nuance and a deep understanding of your target audience.
  • A focus on natural-sounding queries as voice search users tend to ask questions in total; queries that you target will often look like sentences rather than fragmented keywords. It’s more engaging and sounds more human; thus, you capture more relevant traffic and improve engagements when optimized.
  • Creating high-quality, engaging, and conversational content is highlighted even more in voice search. As this search method thrives on natural language, your content should similarly assimilate how people speak. This means using less stuffy, conversational tones in your writing to make it more engaging while answering searchers’ questions.
  • Technical SEO for usability and functionality as voice search aims to serve accurate answers instantaneously, thus underscoring the importance of ranking on the zero spot. But more than gunning for high rankings, your technical SEO efforts should prioritize mobile-friendliness, short loading times, and secure connections for the user’s safety and convenience.

Integrating AI and voice search into our daily lives is reshaping the landscape of SEO. As search behaviors evolve, so do our strategies. In the next section, we’ll give you specific, actionable tips to help you improve your SEO efforts accordingly.

SEO Tips for Voice Search

two seo experts collaborating to optimize a website for voice search

As voice search becomes integral to how users interact with search engines, optimizing your website to cater to voice search queries is essential. Here’s how you can optimize your websites to make them easily discoverable by users leveraging voice-activated technology.

1. Keyword Research for Voice Search

Keyword research is a cornerstone of effective search engine optimization. However, the approach to keyword research for voice search queries varies from that of textual search.

Context is essential in voice search, so keywords and phrases are typically longer, more conversational, and often phrased as questions. They are natural language expressions that you optimize for by:

  • Identify conversational phrases:Using the keyword research tools of your choice, look for longer phrases that look like conversational phrases or questions. Make sure that you also choose only the terms that are relevant to your business and industry niche.

Optimizing for voice search still boils down to relevance. It doesn’t matter how accurately conversational or question-like the keyword or phrase is. If it’s not relevant to your industry, business, or target audience, it will not help your SEO efforts.

  • Prioritize long-tail keywords:Voice search offers a unique opportunity to target long-tail and less competitive keywords that reflect how people naturally speak. We recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity while you do your keyword research.

Typical best practices dictate that you should also prioritize the search volume of a term. However, long-tail keywords are specific and nuanced, so they will often have low search volume. But in optimizing for voice search, this lower search volume leads to more accurate targeting — ensuring you reach the right audiences using the exact key phrase.

  • Incorporate question words:Using tools like AnswerThePublic or AlsoAsked, you can and should include question words in your targeting. Question words include “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how.”

These reflect the nature of voice search queries, often phrased as questions. They are best leveraged in section headings or on frequently asked questions pages.

Once you’ve identified the keywords and phrases you want to focus on, you can add them to your keyword list and expand it. Then, you can use this keyword list to guide your content creation efforts.

Whether you’re creating a new piece of content or updating old content for a keyword refresh, adding these keywords to the content will let you target voice searches accordingly.

2. Creating Conversational Content

Creating conversational content that aligns with voice search queries is crucial for capturing voice search traffic. This content should mimic natural speech patterns and provide direct, concise answers to common questions. Optimize for voice search using conversational content by:

  • Using a conversational tone when writing:Write in your natural voice, assimilating a less stuffy tone that sounds like you’re speaking to another person. Typically, this uses a lot of first and second-person perspectives in the writing. Use “you,” “we,” “us,” “yours,” and so on to instantly make your content sound more relatable, engaging, and conversational.
  • Answer common questions: This is where tools like AlsoAsked and AnswerThePublic come in handy again. Type in a keyword you want to focus on using these keyword research tools, and you’ll uncover the most common questions asked by your target audience.

Once you pull up these results, strive to develop content that directly answers them. Whether you’re addressing them in blogs or FAQ pages, addressing these questions is particularly effective in optimizing for voice search.

  • Fix the informational hierarchy and structural formatting: Organize your content into easily digestible sections with clear headings and bullet points. Additionally, arrange the information by how pertinent the contents are to the topic. Then, work your way downwards with additional content that is not directly related to the topic but could still be helpful to the reader.

Above all, don’t forget to optimize the content to best align with the search intent. Maintaining a keen focus on the search intent will help both search engines and users determine that your content is relevant to their query. In doing so, you will rank better and engage more of your target audience.

3. Technical SEO Considerations

Technical SEO is foundational to improving your website’s performance in voice search results. Ensuring your site is technically sound enhances its discoverability to search engines. But above all, it ensures that your websites are usable and functional for search users.

Ensuring usability to search users scores you big points with search engines and ultimately helps you rank better. Optimize for this by:

  • Ensure fast and mobile-friendly performance: We live in a mobile-first world, where users’ activities are mostly centralized on their phones. Recognizing this, search engines now prioritize mobile-friendly, fast-loading sites in their results indexing. 

Your sites should be responsive and adjust to different screen sizes for mobile friendliness. For speed, ensure that data-heavy assets like images and videos are uploaded in the optimized file format and size so they load fast.

  • Use structured data and schema markup: Implement structured data and schema markup to help search engines understand the content and context of your pages. This can improve your chances of appearing in rich snippets and enhanced search results.
  • Implement HTTPS and secure protocols: With privacy and security concerns in voice search, ensuring your websites are secure is more critical than ever. Besides quelling fears about data privacy protection, keeping your websites secure by implementing HTTPS protocols also earns you ranking points from search engines.
  • Leverage AI tools for technical SEO audits: Use AI-powered tools to conduct comprehensive technical SEO audits. With these tools, you can identify areas for improvement and provide actionable insights to enhance your website’s performance.

Final Thoughts

The continuing growth of voice search usage brings about a welcome pivot in SEO strategies for organizations that practice them. As online interactions become more conversational and blend with our daily routines, there is greater emphasis on user experience at every front.

In voice search specifically, content and search optimization efforts aim to engage with your target audience as if you are having a conversation. Keyphrases become complete sentences, headings are whole questions, and websites are more user-friendly.

With that, we could wonder if it’s possible to achieve the more humanized internet experience we’re all working toward. That might stand yet to be seen, but from the current look of things, voice search is bringing a refreshing break from the long-disconnected approach of many other SEO practitioners.

If you would like to explore how you can optimize your websites for voice search, feel free to call The Ad Firm, and we’ll give you an initial consultation for free.


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