How virtual assistants are changing keyword research

These days, Alexa and Siri are doing so much more than just telling knock knock jokes and ordering the paper towels your household is set to run out of next week. Virtual assistants are revolutionizing voice search functions and changing how we do keyword research.

Healthcare and financial technology (fintech) are some of the many industries utilizing virtual assistants and profiting from a new focus on voice search optimization. Other industries and even small businesses can benefit from investing effort into mastering search engine optimization (SEO) for voice search.

Even if SEO strategies have thrown you for a loop in the past, there’s a good chance you’ll find voice search optimization easy to implement due to its intuitive nature. If you can ask Alexa what the weather is, then you can do a keyword research for voice search.

For digital marketers looking to stay ahead in the online space, optimizing your SEO for voice search is a largely untapped opportunity.

Through this article, you’ll understand how virtual assistants are changing keyword research across industries and know how to start implementing voice search optimization strategies in your own business.

Only a few years ago, if you wanted to know what time the New England Patriots played on Sunday or how many calories are in a pint of Chunky Monkey, you would have had to take out your smartphone and physically type your query into Google.

Today, no typing is necessary.

Instead, you ask Alexa or Siri, or one of the many other virtual assistants in service, just like you would ask your mom, best friend or a knowledgeable sales associate.The world is experiencing a voice search revolution across generations. From Gen Z to boomers, everyone is hip to the voice search trend. The rise of voice search has been attributed to several key factors, including providing quicker results and being more convenient for mobile users.

Search Engine Land contributor Kristopher Jones predicts that 55% of Americans will own some kind of smart virtual assistant by 2022. Users appreciate the convenience of searching the internet using only their voices.

If your SEO is not optimized for voice search, you could be missing out on approximately a billion searches per month. 

Search Engine Land

Optimizing for voice search is especially important for small businesses. Jones reports that 22% of voice inquiries are associated with local businesses like coffee shops and gas stations.

To ensure your business gets a piece of the voice search pie, it’s important to learn how to do keyword research for voice search. It’s different from traditional keyword research but overall more intuitive since voice search is so similar to how you talk to another person. Use free keyword research tools and prepare keywords for voice searches.

SEMrush blog contributor Himanshu Rauthan suggests targeting question keywords.

Because users “talk” to their virtual assistants, people utilize normal query language that generally starts with words like “how, what, where, when and why.”


Along the same lines, it’s imperative to include “filler words” which might, ordinarily, be omitted in traditional keyword research. Words such as “I, the, of the, on the, to, for” make queries more conversational.

Users include those words when asking their virtual assistants questions, so it’s vital you include them when preparing your keywords for voice searches. Latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords include filler language and can be found in the “search related to” section at the bottom of a Google search results page.

Industries utilizing virtual assistants

Virtual assistants do more than answer questions like:

“How tall is Mount Everest?”

“What movie won the Oscar for Best Picture last year?”

Industries are utilizing virtual assistants to transform processes and improve the client experience. Leading the way is the healthcare industry. According to HIT Consultant contributor Jasmine Pennic, virtual assistant technology in the healthcare industry is improving healthcare quality, patient care and patient outcome, all at lower costs.

In order to deal with the increasing demand placed on healthcare professionals, Pennic reports that the industry has automated the task of patient engagement using chatbots and virtual assistants. Speech recognition-based virtual assistants, which utilize the same natural language process and machine learning models as Alexa and Siri, help healthcare professionals better communicate with patients.

Virtual nursing assistants, according to UIC Health Informatics, is one of the artificial intelligence areas seeing the largest investment in the healthcare industry. Other areas include robot-assisted surgeries and administrative workflow assistance.

The ways the healthcare industry is utilizing speech recognition-based virtual assistants can be applied to other industries. From giant industries like Fintech to small local businesses, this technology can help with administrative tasks such as transcription, scheduling, and information search.

Tips for getting into the voice-search game

Even if you’re not ready to hand over administrative tasks, your business can still utilize speech recognition-based technology through voice search optimization. In fact, your business probably can’t afford not to optimize for voice search.

In addition to performing keyword research for voice search, there are several other steps you can take to optimize your SEO for voice search. These tips will help you target your ideal customers. In addition to market research, a solid SEO strategy for voice search demonstrates that you know how to meet customer needs.

First, and perhaps most importantly, use conversational language when creating content. Content creators should write like they speak to increase their chances of appearing as the featured snippet which the Google Assistant frequently reads aloud to answer queries.

Another tip that is especially helpful for small businesses is to focus on local SEO. For example, after discovering a termite infestation, a user might ask their virtual assistant to find a local pest control company.

If you own a pest control company, you want to make sure that a potential customer is able to find you. In your landing pages and meta tags, use “near me” and geo-targeted search words. Furthermore, you should claim your Google My Business page and keep all of your information up to date. Additionally, making your website mobile-friendly and fast are ways to impress Google and increase your chances of appearing in the voice search results.

As voice search technology continues to improve, consumers will utilize it more and more. Nearly every industry and business can implement and benefit from virtual assistants. You can begin by confirming that your content is optimized for voice search.

This guest blog article was written by Noah Rue, a freelance writer who is fascinated with the world of search engine optimization, marketing, and social media.