How to Optimize for Voice Search

Services for Real Estate Pros with Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing

"Okay, Google" - "Alexa" - These are two new entities in a lot of homes now. We tell them to add things to a shopping list, tell us a joke, or like me, get quick facts when homeschooling. But voice search is the newest thing and even if we've spent years perfecting our SEO on paper, it's all going to voice now. I ask Siri to give me directions or tell me where the closest gas station is,  ask Cortana about the best sushi in the area or Google how to get to downtown Seattle.


Voice searchSo how on earth are we supposed to optimize for this? 

Did you know that 41% of adults and 55% of teens use voice search DAILY? I don't know about you, but that tells me I better know how to optimize for voice search because if I'm not getting those 41%, the 55% of teens will be homebuying age soon enough and I'll miss out on a huge demographic. 20% of all Google mobile searches are VOICE searches! Just since 2008, voice search has grown 35 times! This is a huge figure we cannot ignore. And we're not going back. It's predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches. (

Voice totally changes the way you search. Think about it... typing a question is tedious and you might shorten it, while speaking it is practically effortless and you usually speak the full question. Voice searches are longer and more conversational. For instance, you might type 'Chicken Parmesan recipe' but you might say "Hey Google, how do I make Chicken Parmesan at home?"

The location changes SEO too. People are searching "______ near me" 150% more than they were just 2 years ago. That's an important phrase when people are asking "Where is the closest mortgage officer?" or "Contact a real estate agent near me". This means that Google is changing from a search engine to an answer engine. Are you answering their questions? 


A little about "Near Me"

This is a Google search that a lot of people are using now and I think it works better for brick and mortar shops than a real estate agent or business that goes all over, but the idea still should be considered. If I'm in downtown Seattle looking for sushi near Safeco Field, that's what's going to come up. Are you the sushi shop near me? Are you the mortgage broker near me? Are you the home inspector near me?

This also means people are getting those answers directly from Google! Not clicking through to an organic or even a PPC listing. (This is why your Google My Business listing needs to be AMAZING! They're seeing it right on the results page and may never actually click on the website.)


So how do we optimize for voice search?

Start with natural language keywords. Instead of searching and using keywords like "Sacramento Cash Offer House" Use key phrases that fit with natural speaking like "How can I sell my house for fast cash?" And let Google geolocate the searcher to the right result. But don't get too lengthy. Try and keep your key phrases to around 5 words. Try adding these phrases in your content in a variety of variations. 


"If Google finds a keyword anywhere in a piece of content, they'll use it as a voice search result" (Backlinko)


Use question words:google voice search

  • What
  • Why
  • Total
  • Where
  • When
  • How

Who (which is the top used keyword up 132% over the last year) (

I've talked about this site before but it's perfect for this research. Answer the Public is a great free forum to see what keywords people are using and how to find a phrase that works for your content. BuzzSumo is another great question analyzer to find good phrases to use.

Answer those questions in a natural way as clear and precise as possible to get Google to match your content to the answer.


Keep your answers to about 30 words or less

Google will tend to give answers that are around 30 words long. So whatever you answer, make it about 30 words or less. I didn't say a blog post that's 30 words long, just the answer to the question. And it should be the first paragraph that really answers the question. Of course, the next 300-3000 words can expand on that but your answers should be no more than 30 words long. 

This is why FAQ pages are excellent for voice search. They literally answer most questions people have about your business, product or service. 

Fun Fact: The average word count of a first page Google result is approximately 2300 words. Yep... Keep writing. (Okay, maybe that wasn't so fun)


Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are Google's a block at the top of the search results page that includes a summary of the answer extracted from a webpage. (25 words)

It will also be the answer given by Google, Cortana, Siri, and Alexa. And it's the only answer it will give so make sure it's a good one.

Optimize for Voice Search

(yes, I went a little Monty Python there)


Long Tail Keywords Don't Have to Be in the Title or URL

To optimize for voice search, embed long tail key phrases into content in a variety of ways naturally throughout the content. Don't create 1000 pages with 1000 voice search answers. Two or Three or even more answers could reside in one post when done correctly. Google will search and pull the phrase or paragraph that matches the content.  This means that a single page could rank for a lot of different voice search queries. 

I know that 2300 word count scared you, but don't let it. Maybe you have a lot to say or maybe you can come back and add to content when you have more information. Keep the page evolving. Google loves it! And as you write and add content, remember the 30-word rule for answering questions. You might just build the authority your site needs to be that end-all, #1 answer.


Don't worry about "stop" words.

Oh, those nasty "stop words" that Wordpress SEO plugins tell you not to use. Well, guess what? Voice search uses them and it's okay! 

Don't use fancy words and jargon - most people comprehend reading at and 8th or 9th-grade reading level - and trust me, I'm homeschooling a 9th grader and even I don't understand some of his text! Make it simple, easy to replicate and natural. 


So is that it? Do I need to do anything else for voice search? 

Well, yes. Like I've said before, SEO is hundreds of techniques and procedures that help a website rank and gain traffic. Voice search keywords are just one of those. Site speed, domain authority, backlinks, and page authority all still matter. Google isn't going to pull a search result from a brand new website with no authority (and if they do, it won't be consistent) Build up your authority by continuing to build out your Google My Business, add more content, share the content on social media, get backlinks from guest posts and high quality sites and make sure your site is mobile compliant, secure, and loads fast. 

There's a lot - A LOT - more to this topic but I hope I've given you somewhere to start. Start answering the public with your own question and answer session and see how that affects your business. Voice search is where it's at. We have to adapt otherwise we'll be left behind.


Originally posted at

More Resources:

How to Optimize Your Google Business Page

If you Want to Complete, Know your Competition

The Importance of an SSL Certificate

Online Marketing Tips that Actually Work


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ActiveRain and SEOTammy Emineth is an expert in custom content and original articles for blogs, website, press releases and more. Contact me anytime and feel free to subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on my latest blogs and informative information. Email me or contact me for Real Estate Website Marketing and SEO Content Writing.

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jeff Dowler, CRS 09/12/2018 04:54 PM
  2. Frank Rubi 09/12/2018 06:27 PM
  3. Fred Griffin presently on Leave of Absence 09/13/2018 10:43 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
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Show All Comments
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

honestly, you have great posts, so much good info. Thanks

Sep 13, 2018 04:40 AM #15
Foster Smith Summerville
Carolina One Real Estate - Summerville, SC
Summerville & Charleston Homes for Sale SC Realtor

Great info. Thanks for sharing.

Sep 13, 2018 04:44 AM #16
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Tammy Emineth,

So glad your post is featured and I just read a post by Tammy Lankford, advising us to read your post. As Jeff Dowler, CRS commented "this is intense!! There is a ton of great information here - so glad it was featured. I had no idea that voice search had gotten so popular and prevalent! Bookmarked for reading a few more times - it's a lot to think about!"

I'm definitely on overload but have it bookmarked too!

Sep 13, 2018 05:02 AM #17
faye schubert
Branson, MO
technology and marketing specialist

This info is so timely as I was just thinking about voice searches and how to best optimize keywords for it. Thank you!!!!

Sep 13, 2018 05:48 AM #18
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

People, do not bookmark this critical information just to never read it again. It is almost the weekend so that is good time to improve your knowledge and implement. Note: do this early in the morning before you run off to personal plans etc.

Sep 13, 2018 07:02 AM #19
Robert Newman
Inbound Real Estate Marketing L.L.C. - Buffalo, WY
Creating Enduring Online Marketing Results

Nice Artice Tammy. Following You. 

Sep 13, 2018 07:21 AM #20
Doug Perry
Strategic Real Estate Trainers - Chicago, IL

Hi Tammy, thanks for the post.  I listen to Gary Vaynerchuk's podcast, and like you, he's betting big on the future of voice.  The neighborhoods I farm in Chicago are Logan Square & West Town.  Posts which get the biggest response feature celebrities, food, drinks, and jobs.  I'm thinking about creating a weekly podcast where I feature those things.  It would be smart to optimize for voice search so that my podcast comes up when someone says, "OK Google, where's the best burger in West Town?"

Sep 13, 2018 07:27 AM #21
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

My Goodness Tammy Emineth .  Your article just added another layer of "TO DOs".  Thank you so much.  You are wonderful!

Sep 13, 2018 08:09 AM #22
L. Scott Ferguson
Ask4Ferguson - Your House-SOLD Name in Real Estate - West Palm Beach, FL
Sunny Florida Real Estate Professional

Voice is where pretty much everything is going and getting my team set up for this!  Great post and congrats on the feature!





Sep 13, 2018 08:11 AM #23
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Wow! So much good information. Especially, the "near me" description which is right on target.

Sep 13, 2018 09:22 AM #24
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Great information as always Tammy Emineth  You are awesome

Sep 13, 2018 10:05 AM #25
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

More stuff I don't know that I should know ..moving so fast!

Sep 13, 2018 12:44 PM #26
Kate McQueen
CB&A Realtors - Cypress, TX
Tailored service for your real estate needs!

Voice search will be the primary search process on mobile devices, I believe.  I almost always use voice search when using my phone.  The only time that I actually type in a search phrase is on the occasion when Google voice search is being picky.  I have found that because I use it so often, I'm already thinking this way when I prepare content or a blog post.  I picture someone with their phone looking for what I am posting, so I put myself in their shoes and try wording a few sentences in ways they might record their search.

Sep 13, 2018 01:40 PM #27
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Thank you Tammy, I have to read this once over. My Alexa can be of better service to me other than telling me that she missed me today.

Sep 13, 2018 02:55 PM #28
Greg Kilroy
Keller Williams Sonoran Living - The Velocity Group - Paradise Valley, AZ
the Velocity Group

Head is swimming. Thank you for the wake up!

Sep 13, 2018 03:11 PM #29
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

So Tammy, how do I get Alexa, Google, Siri and Cortana tell them who I am when they ask for a real estate agent in Phoenix Scottsdale?

Sep 13, 2018 05:51 PM #31
Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service

My head is on overload, thank you for realizing that from now on, I got to teach myself and my smartphone to use my voice from now on. I see quite a few of my fellow agents talking to their phone these days, lol.

Sep 14, 2018 12:25 AM #32
Janice Zaltman Realtor, LEED AP
United Realty Group - Boca Raton, FL

Maybe I a deeper voice as whenever I ask Siri a question on my phone or computer it comes out wrong. Found that when a strong male voice asks the same question, the answer comes out differently. Thanks for keeping us informed of the future which is here now.

Sep 14, 2018 06:59 AM #33
Eleanor Thorne
Equity Resources - Cary, NC
Equity Resources 919-649-5058

This is solid advice!  Thanks so much for sharing information on Voice Search, it is a different SEO "Animal."

Sep 17, 2018 11:16 AM #34
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you, thank you!  I'm just getting started using phonesites, mobile web sites for FB ads. This will help tremendously not only in that arena, but EVERY arena.  I just forwarded your post to my daughter, a new agent in Alabama. Her husband is a techie and will be all over this!  Great job.  BTW, I've shared your contact info to others for website changes, etc.  

Sep 22, 2018 11:35 AM #35
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