How to Optimize Your PPC Campaigns for Voice Search


It’s time to prepare and optimize pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for voice search, the shiny new way people are searching for your business. Keyboards are a thing of the past, voice search done on smartphones and home assistants are the new norm. Searches starting with “ok google” or “hey siri” are making it easier for customers to find what they are looking for. It’s finally time to think about how you can use this insight to improve the results of your PPC campaigns. Some ways to help optimize your PPC campaigns for voice search include evaluating current search terms and negative keywords, and then building or optimizing campaigns by adding new keywords based on the relevant search queries.

Evaluate Current Search Terms

First, it’s important to learn how people are already searching for you. Using Google Ads, you can find specific search terms people have already used to see your ad. In Google Ads, you can find these terms in the left menu within Keywords under the Search Terms tab. Most voice searches are long-tail keywords ranging from 5 to 6 words because of question or phrase-based queries. Voice searches are typically longer because people (hopefully) don’t type the same way they normally speak. When digging into your search terms report in Google Ads, look for long-tail keywords as well as any searches that begin with:

  • “ok google”
  • “hey siri”
  • “alexa”
  • “when does”
  • “where do I”

Finding these specific keywords is crucial to optimizing for voice search because you will determine what people are already searching in order to improve keywords in your PPC campaigns. If you find many search terms with “alexa” you may want to note that Alexa uses Bing as the default search engine. If you do not currently have paid ads for Bing and you are seeing many of these searches, you may want to consider creating Bing ads to reach this audience. Next, if you find some of the above terms relevant, you may consider adding these long-tail keywords. What people are searching for and what works best for you will also depend on your type of business.

Add or Remove Negative Keywords

Next on the list to optimize your PPC campaigns for voice search includes taking a look at what search terms list and determining if you need to add or remove negative keywords. You will most likely find some terms that are not ideal for your campaigns. Adding negative keywords will help your ads to only serve for relevant searches. You also may need to remove some of your negative keywords for voice search. To further optimize for voice search, you may want to remove previous negative keywords such as “ok google,” “alexa,” “where do I,” or “when does.” If you have a retail location, you may find these terms helpful for searches like “where do I go for fancy shoes?” or “alexa, when does the shoe store open?” So, you wouldn’t want these negative keywords stopping your ads from showing for relevant voice searches.

Build or Adjust PPC Campaigns for Voice Search

After some research on current search terms, you can build a list of keywords to better reach people using voice search. Depending on the amount of voice search terms you find you may want to create a new campaign or optimize an existing campaign. Using an existing campaign’s ad group is helpful to easily compare quality scores for ads to determine what is working.

Optimizing PPC campaigns for voice search include adding keywords that are question based or long-tail phrases based on the research from the search terms. Keyword tools such as Moz, Google Ads Keyword Planner, and SEMRush can be an aid in building a keyword list with search volume data for new keywords.

When building a new list of keywords for optimizing voice search, your search terms can also show you where your customer may be in the buying cycle. The search terms report will most likely identify if your customers are closer to the awareness stage or purchase stage depending on their searches. This will help decide which keywords such as “what,” “who,” “when,” or “where” are most used by your customers. This can give you a better focus on what long-tail keywords you may want to add to ad groups and potentially gain more purchase intentions or conversions.

Ok, Google, I’m ready to optimize for my PPC campaigns!

Personal and home assistants are making voice search more prominent and are constantly improving to make search easier and more relevant for the user. It’s crucial to prepare PPC campaigns to better reach these users and understand how they are searching. Evaluating current search terms and negative keywords is a great first step into understanding how to optimize PPC campaigns for voice search. Try out these simple steps, it could be the breakthrough for conversions that you could be missing out on!

If you’re not sure where to start – we have a team of experts ready to help answer your questions, so drop us a line.