Voice Search SEO Study: Results From 10k Voice Searches

We Analyzed 10,000 Google Home ResultsHere's What We Learned About
Voice Search SEO

We Analyzed 10,000 Google Home Results. Here’s What We Learned About Voice Search SEO
Brian Dean

by Brian Dean · Updated Feb. 28, 2018

We analyzed 10,000 Google Home search results to answer the question:

How do you optimize your site for voice search?

Specifically, we investigated the role of 11 potential ranking factors (including Page speed, Schema, and HTTPS) on voice search results.

And in this post I’m going to share what we discovered.

A Summary of Our Most Interesting Findings Are As Follows:

1. PageSpeed appears to play a major role in voice search SEO. The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds (52% faster than the average page).

2. HTTPS websites dominate Google’s voice search results. In fact, 70.4% of Google Home result pages are secured with HTTPS.

3. Google prefers short, concise answers to voice search queries. The typical voice search result is only 29 words in length.

4. Schema may not play a key role in voice search rankings. 36.4% of voice search results come from pages that use Schema (which is only slightly higher than the worldwide average of 31.3%).

5. Authoritative domains tend to produce voice search results significantly more than non-authoritative domains. In fact, the mean Ahrefs Domain Rating of a Google Home result is 76.8.

6. Content with high levels of social engagement tends to perform well in voice search. In fact, the average voice search result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets. 

7. Simple, easy-to-read content may help with voice search SEO. The average Google voice search result is written at a 9th grade level.

8. We found that very few voice search results had the exact query in their title tag. Therefore, creating individual pages for each voice search query doesn’t appear to be an effective voice search SEO strategy.

9. The average word count of a voice search result page is 2,312 words. Therefore, Google tends to source voice search answers from long form content.

10. Content that ranks highly in desktop search is also very likely to appear as a voice search answer. In fact, approximately 75% of voice search results rank in the top 3 for that query.

11. Appearing in a Featured Snippet may help you rank in voice search. 40.7% of all voice search answers came from a Featured Snippet.

I have detailed data and insights from our findings below.

Fast-Loading Websites Appear To Have an Edge in Google Voice Search Results

To uncover the relationship between website loading speed and voice search, we analyzed the PageSpeed of the results in our data set.

And we found that the typical loading speed of a voice search result was much faster than most webpages.

Specifically, our data found that the average Time to First Byte (TTFB) of a voice search result was .54 seconds (vs. the worldwide average of 2.1 seconds).

Time To First Byte (TTFB)

We also found that the time it took for a search result page to load completely (4.6 seconds) was significantly faster than most pages (8.8 seconds).

Time to load

As you might have heard, Google recently unveiled their “Speed Update“.

speed update

This update makes a site’s loading speed a more important ranking signal than ever before. In fact, in the post announcing the algorithm update, Google states:

Google webmaster blog

And this philosophy likely also applies to Voice Search results.

When you ask Google Home or Google Assistant a question, you don’t want to stand around waiting for device to spit out an answer. You want your answer ASAP. Therefore, it’s plausible that Google’s voice search algorithm would use page loading speed as an important ranking factor.

And our data supports this theory: voice search results tend to load significantly faster than most web pages.

Key Takeaway: Google’s voice search algorithm may use PageSpeed as a key ranking signal. In fact, the average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds (which is 52% faster than the worldwide average). Therefore, if you want to rank in voice search, make sure your site loads as quickly as possible.

HTTPS-Secured Websites Dominate Google Voice Search Results

Google has stated that HTTPS can give your website a “minimal boost” in the search results.

But does this also apply to voice search?

Our data suggests that HTTPS might play an even more important role in voice search than in desktop or mobile search.

In fact, we discovered that 70.4% of voice search result URLs have adopted HTTPS (compared to only 50% of Google desktop results).

Using HTTPS

As with many of the other factors we investigated, this relationship could be chance correlation. After all, if you take the time to write search engine optimized content, you’re also willing to spend the time and money required to set up HTTPS.

The counterpoint to that is that voice search results tend to use HTTPS significant more (70.4% vs. 50%) than the other results on Google’s first page, which are also presumably optimized for SEO.

Does Google consider HTTPS more important for voice search results? It’s impossible to tell from our data alone. However, if you want to rank in voice search, HTTPS may help.

Key Takeaway: Voice search results are significantly more likely to use HTTPS than other websites ranking on Google’s first page. Therefore, implementing HTTPS may improve your chances of appearing as a voice search result.

Voice Search Results Tend to Be Short and Concise

It’s clear from reading Google’s Voice Search rater guidelines that they want voice search results that are very brief and to-the-point.

Word length

In my opinion, the examples given in the rater guidelines are an appropriate length. However, Google disagrees. They want voice search answers to be as concise as possible.

And our data supports this. In fact, we discovered that the average voice search answer is 29 words.

Average number of words

For example, here is a query and answer from one of the 10,000 searches we performed for this study:

Google Home – Question/Answer

That answer is representative of a typical Google Home answer (in fact, it’s exactly 29 words).

So if you’re optimizing your content to rank in Google Home or Google Assistant, make your answer snippet as short as possible (while still providing a thorough answer to that query).

Key Takeaway: Google voice results tend to be very concise. In fact, the average voice search result is only 29 words long. So to optimize for voice search SEO, aim to make your answer snippets approximately 29 words long.

Using Schema.org Markup May Not Help Your Voice Search Rankings

You probably already know that Schema.org markup can help search engines better understand your content.

But does using Schema have an impact on voice search results?

Probably not.

Our data discovered that 36.4% of voice search result pages used Schema markup (vs. 31.3% for the average page on the internet).

Using Schema markup

Although voice search result pages tend to use Schema slightly more often than your average web page, the difference is not significant. Also, 63.6% of voice search results don’t use Schema at all.  Therefore, it’s unlikely that Schema has a direct impact on voice search rankings.

We also analyzed the type of Schema used most often on voice search result pages. Here’s what we found:

Analyzing Schema results

It’s impossible to say from our data alone whether Schema can help you rank better for voice search queries.

That said, when used properly, Schema can improve your search visibility on any platform. So it makes sense to use it, even if it won’t necessarily help with voice search SEO.

Key Takeaway: Schema can help your overall SEO efforts. However, our data suggests that it doesn’t appear to impact voice search rankings.

Websites With Strong Link Authority Tend to Rank Best In Voice Search

We all know that backlinks form the foundation of Google’s desktop and mobile algorithm.

To see if backlinks play a role in voice search, we analyzed each result for its Domain Rating and Page Rating (two metrics developed by Ahrefs to evaluate website and page-level link authority).

And we discovered that the average Domain Rating of a voice search result was 76.8.

Average domain rating

Needless to say to anyone that works in the SEO industry, this is a considerably high DR.

Interestingly, we found that the link authority of voice search result pages were significantly lower. In fact, the mean Page Rating of a voice search result was only 21.1.

Average page rating

What might explain this?

Unlike with a traditional search, where you get a list of 10 blue links, Google Home gives you a single answer to your question. This means that Google needs to be extremely confident that they’re giving you accurate information.

And to help ensure accuracy, the voice search algorithm may rely on domain authority over page authority.

In other words, once Google finds a plausible voice search answer on a trusted website, they don’t care how many links are pointing to the page itself.

For example, here is one of the voice search results from our study:

Google Home – Question/Answer

The DR of the site that result comes from (WashingtonPost.com) is 93. But the authority of the page is only 14.

Key Takeaway: The average Domain Rating of a voice search result is 76.8. Therefore, Google’s Voice Search Algorithm may emphasize trusted, authoritative domains.

Highly Shared Content Appears Often in Voice Search

Our study found that voice search results tend to have a relatively high number of social media shares.

Number of shares

Considering that half of all content on the web gets 2 Facebook shares or less, an average Facebook share count of 1,199 is striking.

With that, I should be clear about something: it’s extremely unlikely that the voice search algorithm uses social signals. This is likely a case of correlation, not causation.

In fact, Google has gone on the record several times to say that social signals aren’t used in their algorithm.

social signals seo post

And it’s hard to come up with a reason that the voice search algorithm would use social signals.

That said, this data does tell us something: valuable, engaging content performs well in any search engine environment. And voice search is no exception.

Key Takeaway: Publishing valuable, highly-shareable content may improve your chances of ranking as a voice search result.

Content That’s Easy to Read and Understand Ranks Well in Voice Search

Google’s official Voice Search Rater Guidelines emphasize “Elocution”:

google voice search guidelines

This is basically: “Was it easy to understand the answer to your voice search?”.

Needless to say, the simpler the language used, the easier it is for Google to nail the Elocution factor.

Indeed, we found that the average Google Voice Search result was written at a 9th grade reading level.

Average reading level

For example, here is a query and result from our data set:

Google Home – Question/Answer

The readability of that result is at a 3rd grade level.

That said, our data doesn’t prove that Google uses reading level as a ranking factor in their voice search algorithm. But it’s possible. After all, it would make sense for the voice search algorithm to rank content that’s easy to understand.

Just think about how radically different a Google Home result is vs. a list of 10 blue links:

  • It needs to contain simple words that are easy for Google to pronounce
  • You need to comprehend the information without any visual reference
  • You’re not easily able to look up challenging words or phrases

With that in mind, it’s plausible that Google may measure reading level and use it as a voice search ranking factor.

Key Takeaway: The mean voice search result is written at a 9th grade reading level. Publishing simple, easy-to-understand content may help with voice search SEO.

Very Few Voice Search Results Contain The Exact Keyword In Their Title Tag

Should you create a piece of content for every single keyword that you want to rank for?

When it comes to voice search at least, the answer appears to be: “no”.

In fact, only 1.71% of voice search results use the exact keyword in their title tag.

Exact keyword in title

For example, this is a representative query and result from our data set:

Google Home – Question/Answer

The text that matches the voice search query is smack dab in the middle of the page (not in the title tag):

Guinea pigs

It appears that Google may de-emphasize the importance of a page’s title tag in the voice search algorithm (at least compared to desktop search, where it still plays a role).

If true, this would make sense for two reasons:

First, approximately 20% of all mobile searches are now voice searches (and according to Comscore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020). With so many voice searches, it’s impossible for Google to find a page dedicated to every query. Instead, Google explores the entire page for the best match for that particular voice search.

Second, people use voice and desktop searches in different ways. Specifically, voice searches are 76.1% longer than text-based searches. Longer searches make it even less likely that the exact phrase is going to appear in the limited space of a title tag. Again, Google voice search may largely ignore the title tag and find the nugget of information that it needs in the main body content.

In short, don’t worry about creating individual pages that are each optimized around individual keywords. Instead, write in-depth content that can answer several different voice search queries on a single page.

Key Takeaway: Title tag optimization doesn’t appear to play an important role on voice search SEO.

Long-Form Content Tends to Rank Best in Google Home Searches

We set out to see if longer content (>1,000 words) ranks best in voice search.

We did, in fact, discover that Google voice search results predominately come from pages with a high word count.

Specifically, we found the average word count of a Google voice search results page to be 2,312 words.

Average word count

Does this mean that, like with desktop searches, that Google Home has a preference for pages that have a certain word count? Unlikely.

After all, as we previously outlined, voice search results are relatively brief (averaging at 29 words). So there’s no reason for Google to prefer that such a small snippet comes from such a large page.

Instead, this is likely due to chance: more words=more opportunities to “match” as a voice search result.

That said, for that reason alone, you may want to publish longer content in order to rank more often for voice searches.

In addition to the sheer number of words, the structure of your content may play a role in voice search SEO.

We found that, for results where Google provided a source for their answer, 2.68% of voice results came from FAQ pages.

Results from FAQ pages

This makes sense. A good chunk of voice searches are long, question-based queries. In other words, the exact type of questions that are likely to find a match on an FAQ page.

Also, FAQ pages are in a format that’s perfect for voice search: a conversational question and a brief answer right underneath it.

Here’s an example search from our dataset:

Google Home – Question/Answer

And the source of the answer (an FAQ page):

Progressive FAQ page

Key Takeaway: Longer content means more opportunities for the text on your page to “match” a voice search query. Also, FAQ pages tend to perform particularly well in voice search.

Higher Rankings=Increased Likelihood of Being a Voice Search Result

Our research found a clear connection between rankings and being chosen as an answer for Google Home queries:

Ranking .vs. Google Home choice

Specifically, we found that 74.9% of Google Home results came from a page ranking in the top 3 for that keyword.

In other words, the higher a page ranks for a specific keyword, the more likely Google will choose that page as the voice search result.

I should point out that there’s a strong probability that this finding is pure correlation and not causation. After all, as we previously discussed, sites with high domain authority are preferred sources of voice search answers. And websites with a high domain authority also tend to rank well in Google.

Or it could be that Google wants to give voice searchers content that’s already proven in the traditional SERPs. Therefore, they prefer to grab voice search results from high-ranking content. It’s impossible to say from our data alone.

Regardless, the relationship is clear: higher rankings in desktop search=higher chances of being a Google Home voice search result.

Key Takeaway: Pages that rank in the top 3 results in desktop tend to dominate voice search results. 74.9% of Google Home results are sourced from a page that also ranks in the top 3 for that keyword in the desktop SERPs.

Appearing In Featured Snippets Appears to Be Extremely Helpful for Voice Search SEO

In many ways Featured Snippets are ideal voice search results. They’re concise answers pulled from trusted, authoritative sources.

Featured snippet

So we set out to see how many voice search answers were simply pulled from the Featured Snippet for that keyword (in desktop search).

And we discovered that 40.7% of all voice search results came from a Featured Snippet.

Results from Featured Snippet

I should point out that, for this particular analysis, we only looked at voice search results that cited a source (for example, “According to Backlinko.com…”).

(That said, 70% of Google Home answers from our data set cited a website source. So this is representative of most voice search results).

For example, here is an example of a Google Home question and answer from our study:

Google Home – Question/Answer

And sure enough, when you search for that keyword in Google, that exact answer is also found as a Featured Snippet.

Featured Snippet

Key Takeaway: Appearing in a featured snippet seems to help, but isn’t necessarily required, to rank in voice search. 40.7% of voice search results are pulled from Featured Snippets.

Putting It All Together, Here’s an Anatomy of a Page Optimized for Voice Search SEO:

How to optimize for Google Home

Summary and Conclusion

I’d like to give a big “thank you!” to Backlinko’s CTO, Lloyd Jones, for collecting and analyzing all of our data. This study would not have been possible without his hard work and dedication.

And here’s a link to our study methods.

Now it’s your turn:

What’s your #1 takeaway from this voice search study?

Or maybe you have a question about the results.

Either way, I’d like to hear from you. So go ahead and leave a comment below right now.

338 Comments

  1. Azzam Avatar Azzamsays:

    Fascinating stuff Brian. A real eye (ear!) opener. Appreciate you conducting this research

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      HA! Good one. Thanks Azzam

  2. Hey Brian,
    Another great post. I think we all should optimize for voice search nowadays. I am trying my best to optimize my site for it. Anyway, thanks for the great post.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Tusar. Glad you learned some new stuff that you can use to optimize for VS.

  3. How can you implement this into your site easily now though?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Implement what exactly?

      1. Danni Avatar Dannisays:

        I believe he is referring to voice search

  4. Alaa Lahmar Avatar Alaa Lahmarsays:

    Great content Brian. Keep it up.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Alaa. I’ll do that.

  5. Hi Brian,

    Truly amazing blog post.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Hardik. This was a HUGE project. But I’m really happy at how it all turned out.

  6. Sam Obrart Avatar Sam Obrartsays:

    Hats off to everyone in the Backlinko team for compiling the data for this amazing resource and presenting it in such a visual way. Incredible work as always Brian! Are there any tools currently out there or in development that compile data for voice searches similar to a keyword research tool? And which industries do you think this will have the most impact on this year?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Cheers, Sam.

      Right now, Google doesn’t provide any voice search data (it’s still super early). That would be an awesome tool.

      In terms of industries, I’d say every industry will be impacted. But only certain keywords will be affected by VS. Basically, any search where people want quick or at last quick-ish answer will start to become mostly searched for by voice. But anything that requires lots of reading and research will probably stay as it is now.

  7. Great case study. It is very hard to cope with voice search. It seems like https is #1 thing to make sure to have if we want to have a chance of ranking.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Jean-Christophe. HTTPS does seem to be important for voice search rankings. It’s good to have anyway, but this makes it even more of a no-brainer.

  8. Holy Rusted Metal, Batman! Brian, you’ve really nailed it with your style of presenting data studies and the actionable results from them. I especially appreciate, as someone that worked with you before on a similar study, the transparency you provide readers with the second doc that goes into the nitty gritty of the research process.

    Also, kudos to you Lloyd since you were the main data guy here. I spoke to about 400 people last week at a conference and the presentation was “Hacked the Google Robot: Here’s What I Learned.” I mentioned there some recent studies that are making people dubious about the reliability of correlations, studies that aren’t transparent, and rank studies in general. I am adamant that studies like this one on voice search do a HUGE service to the content maketing community. Rank Fishken has said the same.

    But, in an age of “fake news,” we know people believe what they read too easily without fact checking. So, the transparency here is critical. I’m guessing that if anyone wanted to “peer review” some of the raw data, I know you guys well enough to see you’ve done this by the book & would be fine with that. Personally, I don’t see a need since you’ve both proven your expertise and reliability in doing data studies.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Eric. I appreciate that.

      Absolutely: as someone from the world of legit peer reviewed studies (I worked as a researcher on nutrition studies), I welcome peer review. The funny thing is about “real” studies is that ALL studies get criticism. In fact, it’s a best practice to be up front about the limitations of the data (something I try to do with these studies as well). So the criticisms that people have of correlation studies are completely warranted. But that doesn’t mean the data as a whole is worthless.

      So yeah, great points all around.

      1. The fact that you had the experience of working on scientific studies is critical (and you you have an experience dev working with you as well).

    1. Hey Eric,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      This was certainly a tough one, from a data gathering and logistics (porting + manipulating large data-sets) point of view.

      We also had a ‘fun’ situation whereby Ahrefs’ Domain Rating was updated mid-way through the study – we used the new DR scores though, so this is all fresh stuff.

      Cheers,
      Lloyd

      1. Ahh, the dreaded ahrefs DR update! Those guys are far and away my fav SEO tool now, but that was challenging to understand the transition.

        Yea, what people don’t get about the challenge “big data” studies is the amount of things that can “go wrong” in putting together or comparing data sets which is what makes it take so long to do them. I feel for the developers that have to find tune 10,000s of thousands of lines of code to work together, something I don’t know about but which must similar. Great job.

  9. Brian,

    I’m curious if you saw any instances where answers from Voice Apps would get priority / favored over answers from feature snippets or other text-based sources on Google Homes and Google Assistants?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Joe, what do you mean by a voice app?

      1. Google recently released their Actions Directory for websites that allow them to build voice applications that help extend the reach of the Google Assistant. I’ve been trying to figure out how or when they decide to provide an answer from one of the apps instead of a website.

        https://developers.google.com/actions/extending-the-assistant

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Oh I see. From our data set, 100% of the answers came from pages in Google’s index.

  10. Great insights Brian and I love your Anatomy of a Page Optimized for Voice Search SEO… thanks for sharing.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Hazel. That’s a new thing we’re trying to make the data from our studies easier to implement. Glad you liked it.

  11. Very useful, especially love the infographic! Thanks for putting this together Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Sadie. I agree, the infographic turned out really nice.

  12. Justin McKinney Avatar Justin McKinneysays:

    Awesome study! I’m doing something similar right now so I respect how much time it took to put this together.

    I think the takeaway about using FAQ pages is a good one. One thing that might be an interesting follow-up is to see if the presence of QAPage schema has any impact on voice search rankings. I don’t think this schema type is used often, but I’ve begun experimenting with it.

  13. Brian, as always thank you for creating resources we can rely on. It’s interesting that schema generally has no affect on voice search results – almost counterintuitive to earning a one-box / answer-box.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I was surprised by that too. My take: Google is getting smarter at analyzing/interpreting content. So it doesn’t need our help from Schema as much as 2-3 years ago.

  14. Awesome post Brian. Great infographic as well.

    It’s always a good idea to write in 9th-grade English. It might even help the page get a featured snippet.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Ayden. I’m with you: I aim for a 5th grade reading level myself. But with technical topics like SEO, it’s hard.

  15. Very useful! Ty

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      No problem, Osmar

  16. Thank you very much Brian this is a great little article published at exactly the right time.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Simon. Yup, voice search is blowing up! So I thought it would be cool to figure out the ranking factors that Google uses with Google Home

  17. David Alexander Avatar David Alexandersays:

    Some great insights here Brian, thank you.

    Some thoughts I had:

    I feel correlation is more likely than causation with quite a few points like site speed and SSL as authoritative sites are going to be adopting good practices.

    Readability makes a lot of sense as a factor as the easier the answer is the easier the algorithm can understand it and have confidence it’s a good answer to use.

    I’m curious of the answers Google voice search gives are live queries of the SERPs or calling a cached answer from a Q&A database that’s separate for voice search?

    The last question I think most people are left with when it comes to voice search SEO is – how can this benefit us anyway? brand exposure perhaps? but beyond that?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, David. All fair and solid points.

      To your last question: it’s really hard to say at this point. It’s looking like mostly brand exposure. Plus, if people want more info than what Google provides, they’ll go to your site to learn more.

      1. Brian & Lloyd, this is all fascinating! Thanks so much for your efforts in putting it all together and spelling it out so clearly.

        I had the same initial question David Alexander did — where is the benefit to all the content creators in optimizing for voice search? I’m not much of a mobile user, so I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around how the average person would use this technology. Am I wrong in thinking it would be pretty unlikely for a voice searcher to actually end up at your website after having done a voice search?

        As a content creator, I’m not spending every waking moment writing articles in hopes that Google will scrape my content for an answer to a user’s search query and serve it up to the user without the user ever having been to my website — especially since you point out that Google isn’t even crediting the source of the information in all cases! If they don’t correct that, I’m guessing there will be an outcry from the web’s content creators when it becomes widely known.

        But for that matter, I’m also trying to wrap my head around how Google would monetize voice search results?

  18. Very insightful Brian! Ahref has recently updated the way they measure domain rating, you mentioned Ahrefs domain rating of a google home result is 76.8. Is this according to the new Ahref rating?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Yuvraj. Yup, that’s with the new Domain Rating (we reran that analysis 10 days or so ago)

  19. On the bleeding edge as always, Brian!

    I thought this was such a smart topic to be doing right now – and it was also extremely well done. Noice graphics too. All super on point! 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Darren. I appreciate that 🙂

  20. Andrea Lynn Drake Avatar Andrea Lynn Drakesays:

    I’m loving this data. I never considered myself a data nerd, until I took your SEO That Works Class. I have now re-classified myself.
    I sit and ask Google questions all day long just because I am fascinated that my phone answers me back (I’m old, I admit it). I hope I didn’t skew the results 😀
    As always, thank you Brian. You are the best!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Andrea.

      Me too! I’ve been using voice search more (for fun) and also for practical reasons (it’s 2x faster than typing on an iPhone).

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I try 🙂

      1. Elizabeth Avatar Elizabethsays:

        … and so modest!

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          LOL 🙂

  21. Great content, Brian!
    I am just new to blogging business and my whole experiences about camping can’t be displayed by Google and reach potential audiences if I don’t set time for SEO. Thanks for giving me great advice for a long time cause I’m a root reader of your blog 😀 This article reminds me of learning more and more. I admit that this is the first time I’ve heard of voice search 😀 Hope to apply some of your advice successfully!
    Have a great day, Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Kevin. Best of luck with the new blog!

  22. Tarun Kaushik Avatar Tarun Kaushiksays:

    Brian,
    This is really cool stuff and your research for voice search is really very informative.
    I am new in your list but I am regularly reading and watching your content.

    Keep sharing amazing stuffs with us.

    Thanks

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Tarun.

  23. Brian,
    Outstanding research. Cutting edge, relevant, and actionable.

    I didn’t realize that FAQs can be so effective in creating a voice search. Thank you so much for sharing your expert knowledge.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Dade. This wasn’t an easy study to put together, but I think it’ll help give the SEO industry some insights into how Google treats voice search queries.

  24. Lukas Avatar Lukassays:

    Such a good piece of content! Greetings from Germany.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Lukas. I hope you learned some new stuff that you can implement

  25. While all of our posts are great to help produce, this one in particular is big for me because of the more central role I played.

    This was fun (most of the time), mind-numbing (some of the time – I’m looking at you, Google Home and your 10,000 questions) and challenging throughout.

    One of the key things here was experimenting on a small (couple of questions) scale to find viable approaches, then trying it on a larger data set, then on the full data set.

    Also knowing when to call for third-party help (I created the approach on paper, then in code, and then we got a Golang expert to chip in and get everything working smoothly on a large scale, handling goroutines efficiently, etc – thanks Nurlan!).

    If anybody has any questions, feel free to comment and I’ll get back to you!

    Cheers,
    Lloyd

  26. sandra sulzbach Avatar sandra sulzbachsays:

    Nice project, good work, thanks for sharing

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Sandra. Happy to help

  27. Wow! This is a great post, well researched about Google Voice. It has actually awakened me to focus more on my content creation now and in future. So, it means more emphasis will be more on voice? Embracing this outcome. Thank you, Brian, for a detailed post.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Duncan. Based on the trends, it looks like voice search might outpace keyboard searches before we know it.

  28. John Sutcliffe Avatar John Sutcliffesays:

    Great timing Brian, I’ve been trying to figure out how long form content would perform in voice search for the last few days.

    Wonderful guidance as always.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Awesome, John. Based on our data at least, long form content seems to help.

  29. Andrew Deen Avatar Andrew Deensays:

    Tons of awesome stats in here. Always updating your community with the latest and greatest. Thanks so much Brian!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Andrew. That’s how I roll 🙂

  30. Dear Brian,
    Excellent Project, Awesome to read…….u always something special !!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thank you, Santosh. We put a lot of effort into our studies and guides so it’s good to see that people are getting so much value from them.

      1. WOW! I just want to ask one question: How many hours required to create this pillar page?

        I have shared it with my friends and tweeted it. Now I am a regular Backlinko reader.

        Thanks,
        Pradip

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      No problem, Anik

  31. Thank You Brian for this Article

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Eslam.

  32. Brian, did you already use the new Ahrefs Domain Rating in your tests or the old one?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      The new one.

  33. super interesting especially page content size and written grade level

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That was interesting to me too, Mike. But it makes sense that longer pages would do better with voice search (even though the answers themselves are <30 words)

  34. Great article Brian but curious about the keywords used for this study? Were the keywords used all question based where the searchers intent was looking for an answer? Or did they include keywords where the searchers intent was buying?

    I’ve used Google Home before and when I’m looking for a product, I’m taken to results that are different from the desktop/mobile SERP. I’m seeing (hearing) results from Google Express.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Joe, Good question. We have a link to our study methods at the end of the post.

      Basically, we focused 100% on question-based queries. So “what is X” etc.

      What’s an example of a product-based query that you might use? Like “I need something for X”?

  35. Wow, lot’s to digest and implement Brian. Thanks for breaking it down for us 🙂

    Best,
    Coop

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Coop. You’re not kidding: there’s A TON of data here. I did my best to break things down into bite sized tips whenever I could.

  36. Brain, Great post from you as usual. I have subscribed to your youtube channel, twitter, facebook so I can’t miss any update.

    You all post something that’s worth sharing.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Awesome, Sachin. How about the newsletter? 🙂

  37. Thanks Brian for this text. Does subheading important as before? How much words can it process google voice 4-5 or 6?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Sasa. We didn’t see any correlation between H2s (which are usually used for subheaders) and rankings. But breaking your content up into chunks (like with FAQ pages) does seem to help

  38. Ramu Kadiyam Avatar Ramu Kadiyamsays:

    really happy for your content, which is very valuable for future SEO. Finally i am happy for the way you openly discuss the strategies.

    Thank you
    Ramu Kadiyam

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Ramu

  39. Thanks, Brian.
    This really helps break it down and shows just where to focus your energy on a website, for the foreseeable future.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Nick. Voice search is going to be MUCH bigger in the future. So yes, it’s time to spend some time optimizing for it

  40. Wow this is the great thing in #seo, Thanks for sharing this awesome information with us.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Govind

  41. Hey Brian Dean,

    Thanks so much… Was looking for this type of informative Content on Voice Search, because after Google Now, Apple Siri, Bixby and various other Platform of voice command apps search results from voice increasing day by day..

    I’m also wanted to write great article which will help my site to rank in voice search.

    Thanks Again!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Sarkari. You’re smart for investing in voice search now. It’s growing insanely fast

  42. Great information! Thanks for sharing. So the page content should be long but the snippets short, is that right?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Exactamundo 🙂

  43. Woooow, Great Study Brian. I will use it in my SEO campagne.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Nice!

  44. Przem Avatar Przemsays:

    Brian,

    Does this mean that articles on the blog are best created as Q & A Page? What if I put a dozen subheadings (as questions) in one article and answer in 29 words:

    1) how to get cheap tickets for disneyland
    2) how to get cheap tickets for broadway
    3) how to get cheap tickets for les miserables
    4) how to get cheap tickets in vegas
    5) how to get cheap tickets ……
    6) …

    Will it be okay for desktop search, mobile voice search and search, at the same time?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Good question and I’m glad you brought it up, Przem. In many cases, FAQ pages are ideal for both. That said, it depends a lot on the particular keyword. So even though voice search is growing fast, I’d put traditional desktop/mobile first. Does that make sense?

  45. Beautiful study, again, Brian!

    Question, where did you get the information stating “The average Google voice search result is written at a 9th grade level”?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks JL. Not sure what you mean.

      1. Not sure what I mean? I quoted your tip above and asked where you got that information. Is it opinion or fact?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          I was confused because that stat was part of our study results. Not sure how that could be an opinion.

  46. Jesse Avatar Jessesays:

    Thanks for the information. It was an eye opener. I will apply this information to my website!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Awesome, Jesse!

  47. I was wondering what happens if the searcher doesn’t like the result he receives.
    Also, I think certain kinds of searches are still better on desktop, e.g. when you are trying to find a low price, or study something deeply.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Great question, Peter. I’ve wondered the same thing. If you search for the same thing again (similar to a bounce in desktop search), you’re going to get the same answer. So maybe Google looks at things like people saying: “Not helpful” etc. and uses that as feedback.

  48. Elizabeth Avatar Elizabethsays:

    You read my mind when you conducted and published this research into voice-search optimization. I’ve seen plenty of info about the growing importance of voice searches, but yours is the first piece I’ve seen that offers a thorough, fact-based report on how to respond to the voice trend.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Elizabeth. That’s actually why we did this study: everything out there about voice search was people guessing about what was and wasn’t important. It was time for some data!

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