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How Voice Search Changes the Game for Affiliate Marketers

Neil KokemullerNeil Kokemuller
April 4, 2018

With the rampant escalation of voice-activated searches via smart watches, mobile devices, and other technology, affiliate marketers cannot ignore the impact on search engine optimization. As you manage your SEO, consider the implications of voice search on your strategy.

The following is an overview of key data illustrating why search is changing the game for affiliate marketers, along with insights on an appropriate reaction.

Voice Search Data

The proportion of searches facilitated by voice rather than text queries has been steadily rising over the last few years. Recently, ComScore projected that half of all search queries will be voice-activated by 2020. Given this projection, affiliate marketers must recognize the implications of voice search.

Voice vs. Text Query Differences

There are a few key differences that you need to know about the way people submit voice searches relative to traditional text-based queries. Perhaps the most important difference is the length of a query. Whereas text submissions commonly range from one to three words, voice queries are generated in more natural speech conversation. As the graphic below illustrates, spoken searches are more often long-tail searches of six or more words. They are also more likely presented in question format.


Image Credit: Purna Virji, citing Bing data

Also, voice searches are more routinely conducted for local resources. Someone looking for a place to shop or eat, for instance, is likely to ask Google, “Where is the closest sushi bar?” Thus, voice search is a huge opportunity for local segmentation. There is also more often a sense of urgency with voice-action, so more concise results are acceptable.

The following chart offers some additional insights into the types of resources and information people seek when they conduct voice searches:


Optimize for Voice Search

When you are an affiliate marketer, optimizing for voice search is helpful for competing against large and local merchants for consumers submitting speech queries. The following are some keys to optimization for voice.

Create Answers to Questions: Given the propensity for question-formatted queries, prepare blog articles and landing pages that serve as targeted responses. You could even prepare blog article titles in question format, or as answers mapped to particular questions.

Target Immediate Needs: As noted, voice searches are often time sensitive. To get your product landing pages in front of people looking for something quick, prepare thorough content with videos, images, testimonials, and reviews. You might also leverage geographic segmentation to catch people looking for local options.

Continue Optimizing for General SEO: In reality, a lot of the searches that lead to affiliate marketers are more general in nature. Thus, even as you adapt to changing search habits, maintain focus on general SEO strategies that appeal to Google’s algorithm and user experience.


The data is clear that voice-activated searches are a major factor in the current landscape of search. Leveraging content that appeals to natural voice search interests is beneficial for affiliate marketers, but so too is a disciplined focus on conventional UX and SEO strategies.

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