Ok Google! How can I optimize my SEO for voice search?

SEO, the optimization of organic referencing on search engines, is for many of us, nightmarish since the discipline is complex, the results are far from immediate and it seems that Google is having fun changing the evaluation’s criteria all the time. Despite all this, SEO occupies a very important part for all businesses these days. It is now inevitable to integrate these actions at the heart of our digital marketing. Of course, you will always have the option of investing in SEM in order to appear as the first results of a search, but for your long-term strategy, it is important to invest your time in SEO. Since the secret to good SEO lies in long-term recurring actions, let’s now analyze a trend that is causing a lot of noise: VEO (Vocal Engine Optimization). — It is really an optimized version of the SEO strategy you have in place. — At MultipleMedia we talk about the importance of voice search since 2016. This ever-growing trend deserves your attention!

Indeed, voice searches are gaining more and more importance, to this date more than 55% of adolescents [1] use the technology daily  to accomplish simple tasks, mainly on their smartphones. Statistics prove that the trend is only going to continue to grow, it is better to tackle it now. [2]


Statistic Voice Searches


Nonetheless, let me clear up a few things right now, to optimize your SEO for voice search, you must already rank well in organic engine searches. If you are brand new to SEO, and no work has been done on your website to improve your ranking, you should start with a basic SEO analysis.  Have no fear, it’s never too late to start.

If your SEO tactics are already paying off and you rank among the top 10 links in search results. Here is how to maximize your chances of appearing in a voice search and thus being able to add VEO Specialist to your title.

The secret to success!

Smart speakers like the Google Home, Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Amazon Echo of this world only play a single snippet from a single source during a voice request. You then understand why your positioning is so important. The reality is you only get one chance to be quoted. Only one! Since Google has added Featured Snippets, that famous box that sits at the top of your Google page during a specific search and responds to your query without you having to navigate a website. This position has become the most relevant information to offer the user in voice mode.


Example of Featured SnippetExemple Featured Snippet

Featured Snippets were created with the aim of improving the user experience by providing them with faster responses, much to the dismay of digital marketers since this feature tends to decrease the level of web traffic. Although Featured Snippets represent great added value for users, for businesses it means that it becomes even more complex to optimize their SEO. Since web traffic, the time spent on a website as well as the number of direct visits have a major impact on a website’s SEO. One more reason to focus on developing your VEO strategy. In order to be quoted during vocal searches, you must find yourself in this famous Featured Snippets, also called position zero.

I can clearly see your interrogations to this question: How can we end up in this position zero on the Google page? Strap on your hat because we are about to go deep down in the technical. Rest assured, no ibuprofen will be needed to finish this article!

First of all, I would like to reiterate that an extensive work must have already been put into your SEO for the following techniques to work. So your website should already have a good general notoriety, if the website you started two weeks ago is still not performing well, stay calm. Notoriety grows over time with the help of the quality links that point to your site as well as the level of authority that your website has in your field of activity. In addition, it is necessary to offer quality content, regular updates on both the content and the technical level, to be mobile friendly as well as to be well structured. We are talking about structure from a technical point of view, through the use of HTML, and not from a content point of view.

The importance of the FAQ

The FAQ, this famous page where companies try to anticipate the typical questions that Internet users will have about their products/services and offer them the answers. The ultimate goal is to provide better customer service and to relieve the internal team of a large number of emails, and therefore, of all their manual follow-ups. Most websites already have an accessible FAQ page to help their customers. This question/answer format page is more interesting than ever since voice search technology is mainly used to obtain answers to simple questions. It is therefore of major importance that you correctly anticipate all potential questions from internet users. I’m sure NASA employee Eugene Miya[3] didn’t believe the acronym “FAQ” he developed in 1982 was going to become so important in our modern technology.

Currently, these FAQ pages are a collection of information on a multitude of different topics. Imagine being the algorithm that tries to decipher a piece of information about a specific item in this melting pot of data. Difficult, right? I am not suggesting that you eliminate your current FAQ, not at all! However, I suggest that you also include all the questions of your FAQ on the web page that covers that specific subject, and then complete it with a short answer.


Example of FAQ included in a specific web page

Example of FAQ


This technique will allow you to orient all of the information on a page around a single precise semantic field. The goal is that in the end, only the questions relevant to a web page end up on it. By completing the structure of your content page with the integration of the new application model of the FAQ. You thereby offer relevant and better structured content, which will ultimately bring you closer to your goal: to be the Featured Snippet.

Another key factor when trying to optimize your results for voice search is to write on your FAQ thinking out loud. You need to phrase your questions in a conversational tone since people don’t necessarily speak the same way as they write. For example, when I research on my computer the age of a celebrity, I would type “Celine Dion age” whereas if I do the same search using the Google Assistant on my phone, I will ask, “How old is Celine Dion?”. —A little advice for writers, you should write while speaking! And when the whole office thinks you’ve gone crazy, tell them it’s for VEO! —It is therefore essential to formulate the questions by considering the conversational tone of the queries, this implies the use of long tail keywords.


Example of long tail keywords

Example of Long Tail


To help you find the questions related to your industry that are frequently asked by Internet users, here are some tools that can help you: AnswerThePublic, Ubersuggest, Keyword Planner.

The structure of the web page

Let’s start from the beginning by discussing the importance of Hn tags. The role of these is to introduce the titles and subheadings of an article so that Google’s algorithm can understand its structure. These are of utmost importance for your SEO and are even more important for your VEO. Let’s take a look at the structure of a Featured Snippet.


Example of the structure of a Featured SnippetExample Structure Featured Snippet

This example is just one of many and you don’t have to copy exactly this format, but I believe it is important to understand how necessary Hn tags are for the structure. In the event, for the example above, where the H3 tags were missing, the excerpt would probably never have been selected for a Featured Snippet. Google’s algorithm simply could not have understood the structure of the article, although the content would have been just as relevant. Note that some tools such as Yoast for WordPress will allow you to customize all the metadata that appears in Snippets without having to make changes to your tags. —This tool becomes very useful, especially if you are in the same situation as me where coding seems like a magic formula that you cannot decipher. —

If we look the suggestion of the FAQ on a specific page of earlier, you will now understand that it is necessary to put the question in an H2 tag so that the structure is understood by Google. In addition, the following explanation should be clear and concise, no more than 45 words, since beyond that the content will be cut.

Another structural element that improves your positioning is the HTML5 code. Will adding these semantic elements revolutionize your VEO? Much to the fear of disappointing you, I’ll have to say no. However, remember that the Google bots whose job is to scan the internet don’t understand visuals like you and me, at least not yet! At first glance, we can locate the header, the footer and content, but they cannot. Adding semantic elements such as <main> or <article> to your code can improve the structure of your page and thus allow bots to better understand you. Google’s algorithm isn’t working for you, you are working for it. It is therefore your duty to be as structured and precise as possible.

Individually the Hn tags and the addition of other semantic elements will not revolutionize your VEO as such, but they remain essential details if you want to land in the famous position zero.

The importance of Google My Business

The majority of voice searches are for local purposes, so it’s imperative that your business information is updated on your Google My Business profile.


Example Google My BusinessExample Google My business

Not only will it be easier to search for your business with this feature, your business will end up on Google Maps which is a must for voice searches. The vast majority of businesses these days have a Google My Business account. Do you have yours? We are at your disposal if you need assistance with it, please contact us! There are several aspects that are important to your Google My Business. In order to thrive and attract the most traffic, collecting customer reviews is essential. Indeed, the quantity and the freshness of the reviews will have an impact on the local ranking with the Google local Pack.


Example Google Local PackExample Google Local Pack

The above example shows that while the overall review score is lower than other competitors, the sheer number of reviews pushes the Bonaventure Montreal hotel to the top of the list. It is therefore crucial, in your automated marketing tactics or traditional digital marketing, to encourage your customers to leave reviews. I won’t hide from you that Google has opened up the discussion about creating a premium version of Google My Business. This would be a paying version, of course, but it would allow some additional functionality. Nothing is set in stone yet. Stay alert, these new features may prove very useful for your business since Google My Business is a great local SEO tool.

In order to help you manage Google My Business, some inexpensive applications such as Oneupapp allow you to schedule and automate all the publications you want to have throughout the year, add images and links. This way, the information presented is always the right one, with a minimum of effort.

An opportunity to seize

Voice searches are becoming important, it would be irresponsible as a marketer to ignore this fact. Still, it would be a stretch to ask you to put this technology at the heart of your marketing strategy, at least for now. It remains important to understand the adaptations that this technology requires since it represents a great opportunity. Mainly for precursors since such as SEO, VEO represents a long-term job. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not become the bodybuilder you know by going to the gym 12 hours a day once a month, but by going few hours every day[4]. The same technique applies to your VEO. The success lies in the details and in recurring actions.

Be real Tech Wizard! Jump on this trend which is here to stay before you are outnumbered by the competition knowing that it will take 4 to 6 months to see real progress. - 4 to 6 months !!! I know, it’s long. —I understand very well that putting in so much effort only to see the benefits several months later is not the most motivating. Nonetheless, it is imperative that you do not give up hope and focus on the long-term success of your business. Remember, the younger generation is filled with voice search enthusiasts and they will be your customers of tomorrow.

It will be our pleasure to assist you with your SEO and VEO strategies, do not hesitate to contact us!

MultipleMedia, Montreal’s multiservice digital agency!


Frequently Asked Question

What is VEO?

This is an acronym that stands for Vocal Engine Optimization. It’s really about optimizing your existing SEO strategy to ensure you get quoted in voice searches.

What is the difference between SEO and VEO?

The two strategies have little difference. SEO is for written searches while VEO is for voice searches. However, the VEO requires a certain level of additional precision since only one title is quoted in a voice search.

What is a Google Featured Snippet?

A Google Featured Snippet is a box that you will find at the top of a Google search. It is positioned organically and aims to better the user's experience, allowing them to find the answer to their query without having to navigate a website.

How long would I need to improve my SEO / VEO results?

When setting up an SEO or VEO strategy, allow yourself a minimum of 4–6 months in order to be able to observe significant results.

What is Google My Business?

Google my business is a tool that allows you to promote your business profile as well as your website on Google and Google Maps.

What are the tools that can help me with my VEO strategy?

Several tools can help you with your VEO strategy such as: AnswerThePublic, Ubersuggest, Keyword Planner, Oneupapp.



[1] https://theblog.adobe.com/voice-assistant-statistics-trends-2019/

[2] Check out our infographic with data from an Adobe study, July 2019


[4] Analogy from webinar SEO : Comment bâtir une stratégie solide en 2020 par la fusée https://app.livestorm.co/la-fusee/seo-comment-batir-une-strategie-solide-en-2020?utm_source=Livestorm+company+page