Voice Search & PPC Campaigns | A Guide to Domination

25 October 2022

“Okay Google, turn down the tunes so I can listen to Loud Mouth”

Voice activation is nothing new to the modern world. We’ve had new family members called Alexa and Siri in our lives for some time now. But while we have quite seamlessly welcomed them into our homes, not everyone has welcomed them into PPC campaigns.

For some of our clients with actively voice searching customers, we felt it was time for a refresher in voice search for PPC best practise. And with Google’s CEO reporting that 20 percent of the queries on its mobile app and across Android devices are voice searches, it’s time to get Alexa back on board!

It’s important to note too, it’s not just Google using this technology for PPC campaigns. With the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, other search engines like Microsoft and Yahoo are also harnessing the power of voice search optimisation for pay per click campaigns.


// First thing’s first – is voice search right for your target audience?

While Google has had voice search optimisation available on their advertising platforms since 2018-2019, it doesn’t mean everyone needs it or wants it. For some key sectors however, it would be mad not to try it!

Those sectors where voice search is a strong fit are predominantly mobile search traffic sectors – but of course, not exclusively. So, retail stores, hospitality venues, popular tourist spots – Museums, Art Galleries, garden centres, and local parks or location based entertainment venues.

For example, restaurants, bars and the hospitality sector get a great deal of mobile traffic and voice search traffic. People looking for a nice place to dine that evening, or other specific needs like: ‘Okay Google, where is my closest beer garden?’

To find out if your customers are using voice search – head to Google Search Console or Ahrefs, even SEMRush, export your search terms and filter them to keywords like ‘okay google’ or ‘siri’ and it will give you a list of all the times someone searched using voice and found your website. If you find none come up, voice search isn’t necessary for your customer base.


// Key differences between traditional search and voice search

  • Voice search queries are often longer than typed search queries. In fact, most voice search queries are more than five or six words long.
  • Voice search queries and typed queries often use the same keywords. However, some keywords are seen more often on voice queries.
  • Voice search queries are typically in the form of a question. Given that these queries are more conversational, they contain more question terms like What, Where, When, and How.
  • Since many voice searches are from a mobile device, voice search has high worth when it comes to local searches. For example, those searches that contain the phrase “near me.”
  • A similarity however, is whether it be voice or traditional search – Google is trying to understand the intent of your search. So keep up to date on the latest SEO here, because if Google can understand the intent of audiences and how your website answers those questions – you’re golden!


// Best Practise for Voice Search Optimisation


  1. Keywords are Everything!

As with traditional PPC campaigns, keywords and putting budget behind the right search terms is absolutely key. So, start by analysing the data available to you on what keywords have high volume for your sector, what keywords convert for your business, and what offer the most value and potential return. Then it comes to the fun part!

Voice Search keywords should always be long-tail phrases. For example, people won’t say ‘best bars Utah’, they’ll ask ‘what are the best bars in Utah?’. Consider that when adding your keywords. Long-tail is your friend and should be well considered for your broad match, exact phrase or other keyword optimisation. Same goes for negative keywords too. Don’t forget that the same best practise in PPC goes for voice search campaigns. Make sure your negative keywords are updated, and those should also include long-tail.

Search Engine Journal also offer some solid advice on keywords and campaign set-up: “You can begin to add more conversational-type keywords to your campaigns, ideally in historical ad groups so you can utilize previous quality score data for comparison and adjust bids accordingly based on purchase intent. For instance, I am more willing to bid higher on a search term including “find a gym near me,” as this is a higher intent search compared to “ok google what are the best gyms in Austin.” However, if I were a gym owner in Austin, Texas, both of these search terms would still be of value to me.” (Search Engine Journal)

  1. Act Natural

The major difference with Voice Search campaigns is the way people will structure search terms. When you know your most conversion rich keywords and search terms, say them out loud as questions. How would you phrase them naturally when searching. Because most users are putting their phone up and asking, it needs to be natural and usually, less formal.

To see if there are existing search terms being used for your brand, business or sector in general – remember the advice above on doing a review of search terms to date and seeing if there are trends you can find and use for better return on investment.

  1. Think Local & Think Mobile

Data shows that the majority of voice searches are via mobile, largely due to accessibility. So, make sure to allocate budget accordingly to mobile devices for voice campaigns, to ensure you capture the right customers.

The data also shows that the majority of voice searches are for local businesses. Whether that be a local restaurant, garden centre, venue, etc – so consider this when optimising your keywords. Add in your location city, state name in the US, or specific keywords surrounding your local area. If the locals are searching, you want to ensure you’re found!

For example, if you’re a cocktail bar in Glasgow, Scotland use search phrases like ‘where is the best cocktail bar in Glasgow’ or ‘show me the best cocktail bars in Scotland’ and capture the local traffic.

  1. Stronger Together

While we search through our vocabulary of puns, our final point is this – a combination of terms in your voice search campaigns will be a winner… cough cough, stronger together, cough.

Including both informational search terms alongside purchase intent search terms can be a winning combination and can ensure you widen your reach in campaigns. For example, some terms might be relating to your products, keywords around services or items your audience are voice searching for – ‘top restaurants’ or ‘best cocktail bars’ – but they are generic and can aid brand awareness. Versus purchase intent search terms which are clear for Google to understand and for those customers further down the funnel – ‘best places to eat in Belfast’ or ‘closest bar to me right now’ – ultimately for those customers wanting a quick win.

Consider those objectives you want to achieve, do your research, think about your audience and what language they would use alongside what intent they would have; and combine the two!


There you have it – a guide to Voice Search PPC campaigns. For how best to approach PPC strategies, achieve business objectives and drive digital growth in your sector, make sure to speak with our leading PPC Agency in Belfast. We won Small Paid Media Agency of the Year at the 2022 UK Paid Media Awards, and we also got a Highly Commended for Biddable Team of the Year at the 2022 Drum Search Awards… so, safe to say you’ll be in good hands!

You might also like