Voice SEO

The Rise of Voice Search

Voice is changing how consumers search for information.


of search is now done through voice according to Google


of search will be done through voice by 2020 predicts comScore


of consumers have tried a voice assistant at least once

Voice Changes the Rules of SEO

Search algorithms are using many techniques from browser-based search to answer voice queries, but they are also adding new wrinkles. These changes already represent stronger algorithm signals and different query results from voice search that will increasingly diverge from text-based search. We see this today on Google Home and it is just starting on Amazon Alexa. There are three things brands should be aware of now when considering how voice SEO will differ from traditional practices.

» Voice apps will take precedence for voice search results

» Voice search term rankings will be invisible beyond position 1 or 2 which will make it harder to determine ranking improvement and easier to maintain position once there

» Voice apps can help you gather user voice search data today and continually optimize

“When it comes to voice search, you go first position or you go home because beyond the first or second place there is no future.”
- Sebastien Szczepaniak, head of e-commerce for Nestlé SA and former Amazon executive

Voice SEO Best Practices Differ Among Assistants

Companies need different optimization strategies for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa


Google has had a more sophisticated approach than Amazon and offers detailed insight into how the space is evolving. Google Assistant app developers have the option of including,implicit invocations in their voice app design. These are sometimes called “implicit discoveries” because they enable discovery of a voice app when Google determines the app is likely to fulfill the user request.

Driving App Discovery

The user doesn’t need to use the brand name or the official voice app invocation name or even know of its existence. Google serves as matchmaker, connects the user with the Assistant app and measures behavior to determine if the match should be made for similar queries in the future. The first step to voice SEO ranking  is to have a voice app that can successfully match to consumer queries. XAPP has implemented this approach with one customer that now drives 60% of its Google Action sessions from Google Assistant referrals. That reflects 2.5x more volume than publishing without it.


Voice SEO can also be optimized on Alexa through the“nameless invocation” feature for published skills. This is also known by its technical name, CanFulfillIntentRequest. If a user’s query can be fulfilled by an existing skill, Alexa will ask users if they would like to try it. Think of it as instant discovery of your brand by making your content both available through an Alexa skill and discoverable through search intents. When you make Alexa smarter about what your skill can do, you benefit through direct recommendations to consumers.

Defining Intents Your Skill Can Fulfill

Taking advantage of this feature requires a two-step process. First, you need to consider how nameless invocations can help drive discovery of your Alexa skill and determine whether you have the right content and capabilities to take full advantage of the feature. Once you have defined your terms, you then need to update your Alexa skill with CanFulfillIntentRequest  logic and enable the feature in the developer console.

Talk to a Voice Expert

Learn more about how to optimize your voice SEO and Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant