Voice Search SEO: Beyond Just FAQs and Lists





Blog Date

June 6, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Voice Search SEO: Beyond Just FAQs and Lists

Voice Search SEO: Beyond Just FAQs and Lists

Embracing the Conversational Shift in Search

Not long ago, the very idea of talking to a virtual assistant on a daily basis sounded like something straight out of a futuristic sci-fi movie. Yet, here we are – surrounded by smart speakers, chatbots, and voice-enabled devices that have become an integral part of our lives. From finding the nearest taco joint to scheduling appointments, voice search has transformed the way we interact with the digital world.

As an SEO professional working with a Manchester-based agency, I’ve had a front-row seat to this technological revolution. And let me tell you, the rise of voice search has forced us to rethink our entire approach to search engine optimization. Gone are the days when ranking for a few carefully curated keywords was enough to dominate the search results. Voice search has ushered in a new era of conversational queries, long-tail phrases, and intent-driven optimization.

Adapting to the Unique Nuances of Voice Search

So, what makes voice search so different from traditional text-based queries? The answer lies in the way we communicate when speaking out loud versus typing on a keyboard. Voice searches tend to be longer, more specific, and phrased as complete questions rather than simple keywords.

Imagine you’re looking for a nearby spa. In a text-based search, you might type something like “spas near me.” But when using voice search, you’re more likely to ask, “What are the best spas in the Manchester area?” This subtle shift in phrasing reflects the more natural, conversational nature of voice queries.

Search engines have evolved to keep pace with this trend, with algorithms like Google’s Hummingbird and BERT designed to better understand the underlying intent behind these longer, more natural-sounding queries. The implication for us as SEO professionals? We need to adapt our content and optimization strategies to cater to this new era of conversational search.

Mastering the Art of Long-Tail Keyword Optimization

One of the key strategies for succeeding in the world of voice search optimization is targeting long-tail keywords. These are the more specific, question-based phrases that users are likely to utter when speaking into their devices.

Instead of focusing solely on broad, generic keywords, we need to dig deeper and uncover the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “how” questions that our target audience is asking. By incorporating these long-tail keywords into our content, we can position our clients’ websites to appear as the most relevant and authoritative responses to voice search queries.

To find these valuable long-tail keywords, we can leverage a variety of tools and techniques, such as:

  • Analyzing the “People Also Ask” and “Related Searches” sections on Google
  • Exploring keyword research platforms like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Ubersuggest
  • Conducting customer surveys and interviews to understand their pain points and information needs

Armed with this data, we can then strategically weave these long-tail keywords into our clients’ website content, FAQs, and other relevant sections. The goal is to create a seamless, conversational flow that anticipates and addresses the specific questions users are asking through voice search.

Embracing the Power of FAQ Sections

Speaking of FAQs, these often-overlooked sections of a website can be a powerful weapon in the voice search optimization arsenal. By compiling a comprehensive list of common questions related to your client’s products, services, or industry, you can create a dedicated space to provide concise, authoritative answers.

These FAQ pages serve two important purposes:

  1. Capturing Voice Search Results: When a user asks a voice-activated assistant a question, the device is likely to pull a direct answer from a website’s FAQ section. By crafting these answers to be succinct, informative, and relevant, you increase the chances of your client’s website being the one selected for the voice search response.

  2. Boosting Featured Snippet Opportunities: FAQ sections also lend themselves well to the increasingly important Google Featured Snippets. These are the short, highlighted excerpts that appear at the top of search results, often in response to question-based queries. By structuring your FAQ content correctly, you can position your client’s website to capture these coveted Featured Snippet spots.

Embracing Local SEO for Voice Search Success

Another crucial factor in voice search optimization is the role of local SEO. When people use voice search on their mobile devices, they’re often looking for businesses, services, or information in their immediate vicinity. This means that having a strong local SEO strategy is essential for capturing these hyper-targeted voice search queries.

At the heart of local SEO for voice search is the Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). By ensuring that your client’s business information is accurate, up-to-date, and optimized across this platform, you can increase the chances of their listing appearing in the top voice search results. After all, when a user asks, “What are the best Italian restaurants near me?” the virtual assistant is likely to pull the information directly from the Google Business Profile.

Beyond the Google Business Profile, other local SEO tactics like optimizing for local citations, managing online reviews, and creating location-specific content can all contribute to your client’s voice search visibility. By taking a comprehensive approach to local SEO, you can position your clients to become the go-to authorities in their respective markets, both online and through voice search.

Embracing the Future of Search: Voice and Beyond

As we look to the future, it’s clear that voice search is not just a passing fad. In fact, industry experts predict that by 2023, the number of smart speakers in the United States alone will surpass 200 million. This exponential growth indicates that voice search is here to stay, and it’s up to us as SEO professionals to stay ahead of the curve.

But the rise of voice search is just the tip of the iceberg. As artificial intelligence and natural language processing continue to advance, we can expect to see even more transformative changes in the way users interact with search engines and digital content. The ability to seamlessly blend voice, text, and even visual search will become the new norm, challenging us to rethink our entire approach to search engine optimization.

So, while FAQ sections and long-tail keyword optimization may be the foundations of voice search SEO today, the true winners in the years to come will be the agencies and professionals who are willing to embrace the ever-evolving landscape of search. By staying agile, curious, and always one step ahead of the curve, we can position our clients for lasting success, no matter how the search landscape may change.

After all, as the MCR SEO team likes to say, “The future of search is conversational, and the future is now.”

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