VEO | Voice Engine Optimization

Submitted by DigitalMX Online on Fri, 01/18/2019 - 14:50
“VEO” is actually “VEO™”, a registered trademark
VEO” is “VEO™”-- a registered trademark. DigitalMX can help you with a VEO Strategy for your small business

As a small business owner, if you’re not already doing it, you should be looking at voice engine optimization (VEO) as an important part of your digital marketing. Much like SEO, VEO involves optimizing your content, location, and business information to increase your chances of appearing in voice search results.


“VEO” is actually “VEO™” as it is a registered trademark of Chatmeter. VEO is on the verge of joining "Kleenex" and "Xerox" and "Google" in popular use.


VEO is not difficult


By 2020, as many as 70 million U.S. households will have an Amazon Echo or Google Home device.  That’s probably because smart speakers and voice assistants save time and make life easier; at least that’s what smart speaker owners say. According to the IAB, 18% of American consumers already own smart devices, and 65% of those owners say they couldn’t imagine going back to life without them.


The speech recognition technology has been evolving and improving for decades. Advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning have permitted big changes in voice search. Google Assistant improved its understanding of the English language, with an accuracy rate of up to 95 percent and a low word error rate.


Voice Search Use Statistics


In case you don’t think VEO isn’t important to your marketing efforts, BrightLocal, a local SEO survey results agency, questioned 1,012 US consumers concerning their opinions about using voice assistants and smart speakers in mid-year 2018. See if any of these statistics could be useful to your business success.

  • 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last 12 months
  • 46% of voice search users look for a local business every day
  • Consumers want to be able to use voice search to make reservations, hear business prices and find out which products businesses have
  • 27% visit the website of a local business after making a voice search
  • 25% of consumers say they haven’t yet tried local voice search, but would consider it
  • 76% of smart speaker users perform local searches at least weekly
  • Consumers are most likely to perform voice searches to find additional information on local businesses they already know about
  • Voice searchers are most likely to look for restaurants, grocery stores, and food delivery

VEO Impact on Businesses


As these survey results show, B2C location-based retail businesses are most impacted by VEO right now. What the future holds for B2B businesses remains to be seen and is still developing, however; there’s no time like the present to begin a VEO strategy.


Why Does Local VEO Matter?


Voice is 3x more likely to be used for local search than text. Mobile users use voice search for on-the-go information and take advantage of the hands-free design to search for a location while driving.


Wouldn’t you like your business to appear when someone is searching like this:

  • “Where can I buy Nike sneakers?”
  • “Best sandwich shop near me.”
  • “Where can I find a 24-hour pharmacy?”
  • “Where can I get my tires rotated today?”

Why You Should Care About Voice Search


Getting VEO right is even more critical than getting SEO right. Of course, everyone would like the #1 organic spot on SERPs (search engine results pages), but even if you’re not ranked at #1, there’s still hope for spots 2-10.


In voice search, there is a very small window for your business to appear in results. There are only three results for mobile and one result for smart speakers. 


Ranking at the top of voice search results means everything.


How can you improve your chances of being in that one-and-only spot? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Create content that answers questions (i.e., FAQ page) to drive conversions at an easy reading level.
  • Update your content often. Keep it fresh.
  • Questions should be marked up properly in <h2> headers.
  • Answer any existing questions on your Google My Business Questions and Answers section.
  • Look at your business’s comments and reviews to source FAQ content ideas. The reviews you already have are written with natural language and give you content on what your customers are asking about.
  • Create a comprehensive VEO strategy.

Create a VEO Strategy


1. Accurate, Up-to-Date Directory Listings


It’s essential to keep your business listings clean and your name, address, and phone (NAP) data consistent so that you are providing accurate business information to users and to the search engines.


Although consistent data across all directories and on-line listings is an important component of SEO, it’s more important in VEO because the voice activated assistants use the information in your directory listings to show local search results.  Amazon Alexa uses Yelp, Google uses Google Maps, Siri uses Apple Maps and Microsoft’s Cortana uses Bing.


2. Anticipate the questions people might use to find your business


SEO is all about keywords. Voice search is designed to function like a conversation, so for VEO, the focus is on long tail keywords. More conversational content can help you perform better in voice searches. According to Google, 41% of people who use voice search say it feels like talking to a friend. They don’t simply say keywords. They ask questions.


Thus your job becomes finding the natural language keyword phrases that your target audience is most likely to ask. Focus on using conversational, long-tail keyword phrases in your content.


For example, if you want to get a sandwich for lunch, your text search for a sandwich shop would probably be: “Best sandwich near me.”  A voice-based search would sound more like: “Where is the best place to get a sandwich near me?”


Use a keyword tool like Ubersuggest to help you find the best long-tail keywords for your business.


3. Provide answers


When someone asks a specific question, such as “Does Arby’s have any vegetarian options?”, Google detects the web page that can best answer the question and responds with a featured snippet80% of Google Home results come from snippets.


Because Google only features one single featured snippet, it’s important to answer the specific questions your customers have. An FAQ page is a great place to feature these answers, using an H2 setting for the question and body text for the answer.


4. Keep it short and sweet


Google prefers short, concise, easy-to-read answers to voice search queries. The typical voice search result is only 29 words and the average voice search result is written at a 9th grade level.


5. Anticipate customer needs


Customers are much more likely to ask voice assistants specific questions than enter vague information. While a desktop search might read something like “Midtown Hardware Store” a voice search might sound more like “Hey Alexa, what’s the closest, open hardware store?” or even “Hey Alexa, where can I buy a hammer?”


Anticipate the fact that your customers aren’t going to ask for your business by name, but by product, location, and hours. VEO means making sure those answers are readily available and easy to find. An updated, accurate frequently asked questions page is more important than ever for voice search.


6. Make sure your web site loads quickly


Page Speed is a major factor in voice search SEO. The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds (52% faster than the average page).


When making a mobile voice search, most users are looking for immediate results, usually while they are driving. The time it takes to load the average mobile landing page is 15 seconds. If your page takes more than 5 seconds to load, your prospect is likely to move on.


Test your site speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.


7. Test it.


The only way to truly understand how your customers will interact with voice search is by testing it. Buy one – or all – of the voice assistants and test how your business performs for the customer questions you hear most frequently. Get inside the mind of your customer and go through the voice search process. See where you’re ranking and figure out ways you can improve.


Privacy Concerns


People have grown distrustful of Facebook, after a number of revelations showed that the company was collecting user data and sharing it with third-parties. Other social media and on-line companies seem to be engaging in at least similar practices.


Privacy-conscious people should read Amazon’s, Google’s and Apple’s privacy policies carefully before signing up for a voice-activated digital assistant to determine whether they are comfortable with consenting to the recording and sharing of the information necessary for use of the service.




Consumers are increasingly adopting voice search, yet many businesses are ignoring the fact that how people search is changing. Optimizing your business for VEO means claiming the top (and only) spot in your customer’s voice search. Waiting too long could mean not showing up at all.


Sources used in this article and for further information


Chat Meter / VEO Strategy

Search Engine Journal / Voice Search Optimization / Voice Search SEO / Voice Engine Optimization

Consumer Watch Dog / Smart Speakers and Privacy Concerns

Neil Patel / SEO for Voice Search

Bright Local / Voice Search for Local Business Marketing