Marketing Technology

As Voice Search Grows, How Can Brands Ensure Their Online Visibility and Relevance?

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Voice search is growing exponentially, with 27% of the global online population using voice search on mobile devices as of 2023, up from 25% in 2021. This major shift in consumer behavior poses a significant challenge for brands seeking to maintain and expand their online visibility and relevance. As consumers increasingly use voice interfaces powered by artificial intelligence to find information online, brands need to optimize their strategy in order to stay discoverable.

“Voice search changes the game when it comes to findability,” says Cassandra Gucwa, CEO of Menerva Digital. “Since voice searches are typically more conversational and natural language-oriented, brands need to think about how actual people will try to find their business or products using their voice.”

When users search by voice, they typically use longer, more natural language queries rather than just typing in keywords. This means that the traditional SEO playbook needs to be adapted for voice search optimization. Simply targeting keywords is no longer enough. Brands must think holistically about how customers naturally refer to their business and offerings in everyday speech.

Additionally, local search optimization becomes even more important in a voice-powered world. Location-based commands like “find coffee shops near me” or “show shoe stores nearby” are extremely common voice searches. If brands want their business to surface for these locality-based searches, they need to double down on localization and Schema markup that includes address, location, and other geographic details.

Renewed Focus on Long-Tail, Conversational Keywords

Gucwa emphasizes the opportunity around conversational long-tail keywords. “Brands should brainstorm all the possible long-tail keyword variations people may use in natural speech to find their business—the more phrases the better,” she says. This includes things like “who sells organic ice cream near me” or “I need to find a plumber to fix my broken pipe.”

In addition to targeting more conversational queries, brands also need to think about optimizing for differences in phrases. For example, someone may search for “flights to Rome in March” or “Rome flights March 2023″—both signify the same intent, but one specifies the year.

“Make sure you consider the different ways a person may phrase a question when mapping keywords,” Gucwa advises. “This accounts for more flexibility in how people search by voice.”

Enhanced Content Strategy Across Channels

Brands should also amplify their content across channels with voice search in mind. “It’s important to create diverse, multimedia content that provides as much context as possible about who you are and what you offer,” says Gucwa. This includes long-form articles, blogs, videos, immersive images, social media posts, and more.

Having content that thoroughly covers a topic or product from multiple angles helps search algorithms better understand the relevance of a brand’s offerings when someone poses a voice query. Well-optimized, information-rich content essentially “trains” voice interfaces over time to recognize a brand as an authority around certain subjects.

Fine-Tuning for Featured Snippets and Quick Answers 

In addition to ranking better organically, brands need to optimize content to be eligible for featured snippets and quick answer boxes in voice search results. When voiced queries are short and definitive—such as “when is the next Los Angeles Rams game?”—users expect a succinct, direct answer rather than a list of links.

Tools like Answer the Public reveal the kind of straightforward fact-based questions people are likely to ask voice assistants that require a short, fast answer. Brands should craft content specifically designed to appear in featured snippets to meet these question-and-answer style voice search needs. 

Embracing New Technologies 

To stay ahead of the curve, continual innovation with emerging technologies like conversational AI and smart assistants will be key. “Brands should explore leveraging chatbots or building a custom voice app to have their own branded presence on voice platforms,” advises Gucwa.

Getting in early with voice and conversational interfaces allows brands to build more personalized and interactive consumer experiences. As voice assistants grow smarter over time with the expansion of AI, brands with voice tech capabilities woven directly into their strategy will have an edge.

The age of voice search calls for brands to reevaluate their approach if they want to remain visible and accessible to increasingly voice-centric consumers. With a greater emphasis on long-tail natural language queries, local search optimization, multimedia content amplification across channels, quick answer eligibility, and early-stage voice app development, brands can ensure their findability and relevance even as voice radically disrupts the digital landscape.

By taking such proactive steps to optimize for voice, brands can future-proof their online presence and engagement as voice search continues its meteoric rise over the next decade and beyond.

About the author


Cassandra Gucwa

Cassandra Gucwa is the founder and CEO of Menerva Digital.