The trend shows that more and more users are turning to the personal voice assistant for immediate answers. Having casual conversations with computers is becoming increasingly normalized. 

“Hey Siri, what’s on at the cinema today? Hey Alexa, order a pizza for tonight, Hey Google, what’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?”

Sounds familiar?

The most common voice assistants, which include Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant, are preinstalled in our phones or pc, so it’s not easy to get rid of them, and they are always prepared to hear us:


How does voice search work?

Although these programs are pre-installed on your phone or computer, there are two ways to use the voice assistant:

The first depends on where the personal assistant gets its information from. What do we mean? Well, where exactly do they look for the answers they give you? For example, in the case of Siri and Google Assistant, Google’s search engine is used by default, while Alexa uses Amazon’s information for product-related queries.

Secondly, queries made in a search engine while voice search technology is activated work in the same way as if a user chooses to formulate the query by typing. After all, it is the search engine’s AI that writes down what is heard into text. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you write or speak, Google will translate what you have said into what you would have written.

But let’s get to the point of this post: what should we take into account when we talk about Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for voice searches?



Yes, in caps. They are the key to this whole affair. 

Let me explain.  When we formulate voice search queries, we tend to go into much more detail. Let´s go with an example:

We would say: “What is the name of the actor in Titanic? whereas if we were to write it down, we would say “Titanic actor”. You can see that the former takes a lot more effort to write. We are lazy and we tend to shorten our queries when we type in search for an answer. .

Regardless of the silly example, what I want to say is that long tail keywords play a very important role. Therefore, in your SEM campaigns remember to add interrogative pronouns: “how”, “when”, “where”, “which/which”, “why”, etc.

And this is a bit different thinking, because for SEM experts, it is to maintain a KW that is normally blocked.

Although long tail words are very essential in voice search, there are other factors to keep in mind:

RankBrain, algorithms and snippets have a big influence on the result information returned by the search engine. Let me explain them one by one for you to understand them better:


1: The RankBrain

RankBrain is a machine learning system which allows Google to give context to complex search queries. It is part of Google’s overall algorithm that allows it to rank information from thousands and millions of pages, with the goal of finding the most relevant answers to the search query.  


2: The algorithms

Google likes to keep the information about the exact function of their algorithms hidden. Therefore there is no definitive guide about what they look for. We can however give you a brief overview. An algorithm is a mathematical formula, in Google’s case, it uses several algorithms, and they are the secret ninjas for Google. There are a lot of them involved in voice searches:



asseses conversational searches, voice searches and is in charge of managing and relating the information to Google, so it can rank it in the search results.


ranks searches by focusing on the relevance of geolocation, to provide a result in the local context in which the query occurs. It delivers accurate information via map and local search listings.



evaluates quality information, penalizing duplicate or low-quality content.



assesses the reputation and authority of the website, focusing on monitoring links and bad link-building practices.



classifies misleading or false content to prevent it from appearing in search results.


I’ll give you an example: if we ask through the voice assistant “what is the best hamburger restaurant” the main algorithms that would come into play are Hummingbird (interprets the semantic search), Pigeon (searches in the geographical context in which the user is, after all, it is useless to find the best hamburger restaurant in the US when I am in Barcelona looking for a dinner place) and Penguin (it will show me those websites with the best reputation).


3: The snippet

Snippets are found in a box at the top of Google’s search results. It is the quick answer that Google provides for a query. 

The featured snippet is the first information that appears above the organic results.

Why are snippets important? Because voice search assistants rely on them, they consider such information to be the most relevant answer to the user’s query. Not surprisingly, most of the time, it is information from Wikipedia.


What does a website need to be optimized for voice search?

By way of summary, what do you need to take into account for your website to be optimized for searches through virtual assistants?

Quality content.

Readable and responsive information for mobiles. That sounds pretty obvious in 2022, but keep in mind, if you are not prepared for mobile phones, you are out.


Page speed, no doubt if your website is slow you won’t be part of the voice search results either. Appreciation calls for the page speed on mobile, and all the 4G and 5G connections.


Integration with Google My Business: keeping your business information updated will help you appear in the results. Remember the Pigeon algorithm is based on the geographical location of the user. GMB is a really important source of information for Google.


Overall, information for long tail searches give a more conversational tone to the content. Think about how the user would search for that information. You can make use of the powerful Answer The Public tool, other tip could be: Generate FAQ pages so you can include as many questions as you think necessary.

Once the Voice Search Engine Optimisation (VSEO) of the website has been properly worked out, we move on to the tips for optimizing PPC campaigns for voice search:


SEM optimisation for voice search

1: Long tail keywords

Yes, we say it again, it is very important to focus on long tail words. Rephrase questions and phrases in natural language for keywords and ads.


2: Focus on the local

It is true that the results returned by the search engine depend on the geographical context, Here are the types of queries you can expect: “where is an ice cream shop near the Rambla de Catalunya”. Use reference points close to the business as keywords.


Knowing where users are in the conversion funnel will allow us to generate successful marketing campaigns. Potential customers, who are close to conversion will begin their queries with  words like “where” and “when” when using voice search. They are very close to making a purchase decision and will not look further than the first couple of results that appear on Google. If you have not optimized for these keywords, however, you are missing many opportunities as a business. Increase the bidding for these phrases and show them content that will convince them. Discounts and promotions tend to work very well. 

Voice search is here to stay (let that be clear), so it is crucial to start by first adapting your website and, secondly, optimizing your SEM strategy for voice search.


If you have made it this far through the blog…

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Phanum team

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