How do you search for information online? Ever since search engines became available to the masses in the mid-1990s, people have adapted to searching for information using succinct keyword phrases on their computers. Often, the keyword phrases that people use don’t sound natural, meaning you’d be hard pressed to use the same phrases naturally during a conversation.

While many individuals are used to typing in keywords when they conduct searches on their computers, most of them don’t do the same when they search for identical information on a mobile device. They also search differently when they request information from a voice assistant such as Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Instead of typing in keywords to find information, a growing number of people simply use voice search when they’re using their smartphones, tablets or voice assistants. By the end of 2014, approximately 55 percent of teenagers and 41 percent of adults located in the United States used voice search at least twice per day. By 2020, it’s estimated that more than 50 percent of all queries will be conducted using voice search.

The Time to Optimize Is Now

What does the trend toward a greater number of voice searches mean for your agency or business? It means the time to optimize your online content for voice search is now.

As a general rule, people use voice search to find information about the physical locations they want to visit. Some users may search for burger joints in a specific location by naming a given city, but others will request information about burger joints by saying something like, “find burger joints near me.” For the first kind of search, it would be a good idea to optimize your content for the keyword, “burger joint [name of relevant city].”

The second kind of search will hear “near me” and use the physical location of the mobile device you’re using to generate the kind of results you want. It’s important for you to realize that this kind of search doesn’t try to match keywords used in a search with the keywords you’ve integrated into your online content. Instead, this kind of search will refer to Google My Business listings for results.

If you haven’t done so already, you should add your agency or business to Google My Business and select the relevant business categories. To make sure your organization is included in the appropriate voice searches, it’s critical that you be as specific and accurate as possible as you’re selecting your categories.

You should also make sure all of your Internet business listings are identical, meaning they all have the same business name, physical address, and phone number. If this information isn’t the same across listings, Google will have less confidence in your organization’s online credibility.

Identify Long-Tail Keywords

Unlike when they normally perform regular or more traditional searches on their personal computers, people typically use long-tail keywords or questions when they use voice search. That’s because this kind of search is more conversational. Instead of typing “SEO best practices” as they might in a regular search, users may ask, “What are SEO best practices?” when they’re using voice search.

Because so many voice searches take the form of questions, you should start the process of optimizing your content by identifying the questions that lead people to contact your business. More accurately, you should start researching the naturally spoken, conversational inquiries that lead individuals to reach out to you.

To do this, you can write down the questions people ask when they contact your business in the words the callers actually use. You can also use tools such as Answer the Public to come up with conversational, long-tail keywords or questions that are related to your business.

Create Content Based on Relevant Questions

Once you know the long-tail keywords and questions that motivate people to contact your establishment, it’s time for you to use them to optimize your content. While many businesses limit their Q&A-style content to their Frequently Asked Questions page, there’s no reason for you to do the same. Instead, you can redraft your earlier blog posts and your existing product pages so that they include content about and answers to questions related to your business.

As you create new content for your website, be sure you group similar questions on the same page. Remember to use your natural questions and long-tail keyword phrases instead of the more conventional keyword phrases you’ve probably used in the past.

As time goes on, it’s expected that users will use voice search to get answers to increasingly specific questions. Instead of asking, “Where can I buy a digital camera?” users will soon be asking things like, “Where can I purchase an element-proof digital camera that is compatible with live social media features?” Try to anticipate some of the questions that users will ask in the future and incorporate these long-tail keywords into your content.

By creating multiple pages that address questions consumers ask, you’ll increase the chances that voice searches will pull information from your website and your site will show up in search results. It can also increase the likelihood that your site will be in one of Google’s Featured Snippets.

Focus on the Mobile Experience

With 60 percent of all searches now being done with a mobile device and 91 percent of mobile users claiming that being able to access content is important to them, it’s imperative that you focus on the mobile experience as you optimize your content for voice search. The mobile bounce rate is more than 9.5 percent higher than it is for desktops. If your site experiences a high bounce rate because it’s not mobile-friendly, it can seriously hurt your site’s page rank.

Just as it’s critical for business owners and digital marketing agencies to optimize their online content for voice search, it’s equally important to have the ability to quickly react to changes in search behavior and trends in the marketplace. Join the UpCity Reseller Program if you want access to comprehensive digital marketing services on demand.

Leilani Wertens Headshot
Content Manager at

Leilani oversees content production for the white label services team at UpCity. Previously she led the content department at L2TMedia, a digital marketing agency focused on the automotive industry. Her prior experience includes marketing Chicago-area flea markets, teaching photo history to Columbia College students, and writing articles for and Citysearch. In her free time, Leilani enjoys photographing architecture, researching local history, and hunting for Mid Century Modern decor.