Actionable Trends: Part 3 – Alternative Search

Posted on: November 8, 2022

Welcome back to our fall series. We’re looking at trends that all businesses can take advantage of, beginning with those that have community benefits as well. In this article, we’ll talk about optimizing your website for searches initiated by voice or an image. There are numerous advantages to doing this, so please read on.

Voice search has become very popular. If you’re not sitting in front of a keyboard, it’s much easier. In the car, it’s safer, and in the kitchen, when your hands are already in the dough and you need a substitute ingredient, a virtual assistant like Google Home and Alexa is ready to help. Voice may also be a user’s only method of interacting with the internet, which makes voice search an accessibility tool. There are an estimated 60 million such devices in the U.S. alone.

Optimizing for voice search requires some thought though. The thing is that we speak differently than we write, even when the query or intent is the same. Your website’s keywords and content therefore need to relate to spoken wording as well as the more traditional typed search terms. Just as two examples, a user might type “flights Vancouver to Toronto” to check the cost, but for a voice search, they’re more likely to ask “what’s the price of a flight from Vancouver to Toronto?” Or, they might type “egg substitute” and say “what can I substitute for eggs in a cake recipe?” The differences are subtle, but that’s what optimization is all about – subtle differences that have a big influence on ranking.


While some consider FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages an outdated trend, voice queries are often in the form of a question, giving the old FAQs a new reason to exist. In fact, really good FAQ content can also get your site boosted to the very top of the results page in the form of a snippet, which is when Google displays your content right on the results page.

Search programs are also using artificial intelligence to identify images. The user can snap a photo or upload an image and ask Google to find something similar. It’s a great way to figure out what something is called, like a car part, or to locate an item that you want to purchase, like a coat that someone else is wearing.

Optimizing for image search isn’t complicated, but it does take work. First, you need several high-resolution images of your product from different perspectives, like front, back, and side, preferably with a plain background. Then, you need to provide a keyword-based caption, description, and alt tag.

Whatever form it takes, great content is great for search engine ranking. Remember to create your content based on your customer persona(s) and how you can help them accomplish their goal.

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