Voice Search

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According to ComScore 50% of searches will be done on voice search by the end of 2020.  A lot of Industry Experts have quoted this statistic, and Google seems to believe it. BERT, a recent Google Algorithm update, is designed largely to improve the quality of search response by using machine learning to unravel some of the confusing parts of the English Language like words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. 

Google has made it clear that one cannot optimize for the BERT update, but there are opportunities to shine in voice search, and the biggest opportunity is position zero.

Position Zero

Discussions on voice search today center around Position Zero, or the featured snippet. This is the content that Google offers in the top search results position in hopes of directly answering a search query. In the desktop and mobile screen worlds, the top content is followed by a host of other search results that can be accessed by the search user. In the world of voice search, position zero is the only search result shown to the user. Obviously, holding position zero has become imperative for SEO campaigns.

There is no exact roadmap to gaining placement in Position Zero, but the guidelines below seem to be getting positive results:

  • Being the most relevant results for a given voice search is all about giving the search engine the content that it needs to provide a result for the user, whom the voice assistant knows intimately through past search behavior. The more robust the content, and the clearer the context and applications of the product or service described in the content, the higher the likelihood that a digital assistant will rank you first in the search results for a potential customer.  If the customer is a fan of Apple Computers and is seeking a solution for digital editing, the featured snippet that is displayed would need to specify the compatibility of the software with Apple OS.
  • FAQs are an awesome tool to provide complete information on your product and should be designed to respond to common questions posed about your products or services by other current and potential customers.
  • Clean Schema data is a must.  Please be certain that the schema data on your site is organized according to guidelines on Schema.org.


The growing popularity of voice search has left search engines, and SEO Professionals, scrambling to catch up and maintain both the quality of search and how to rank within it.  Spoiler Alert:  I am repeating myself when I point to quality content that will provide placement in featured snippets and voice search.  Content should be thorough and easy to understand and should include internal linking to other areas of information on the website.

Eric Van Cleave is the Co-CEO and Digital Marketing Director for TIV Branding


TIV Branding is a boutique branding firm in Sonoma County, California. We specialize in building brands by using traditional, social and digital channels in unison. If you would like to discuss a project or find out more about how we do what we do, please email us at info@TIVbranding.com.