Technology comes to our rescue in dispute settlements with friends — Hey Siri, why is the Statue of Liberty green? And, in satisfying a midnight hunger pang — OK Google, which restaurants are open right now? Voice search systems have become such an integral part of our lives that we don’t bat an eyelid when we see someone talking to their cellphones!
What is Voice Search Anyway?
Voice search is essentially a speech recognition technology available on smartphones and other portable devices. Instead of typing, users can speak their queries, and digital assistants provide us with the answers.
Voice Search Devices
Smart Speakers: Remember the time it was fun just to ask silly questions to Alexa and Siri? Technology has seen rapid improvements since, and smart speakers are rapidly becoming a common household accessory globally. Google Home, Apple HomePod and Amazon Echo have revolutionized the voice search market, which grew a jaw-dropping 187% in the second quarter of 2018, according to a report by Canalys.
Mobile Phones: The first voice assistant Siri was launched in 2010 by Apple along with its flagship iPhone. It was initially used to merely show off a cool feature on the iPhone. Unfortunately, Siri couldn’t understand much of what was asked and struggled with the majority of accents. Voice assistants evolved over time, with dramatic improvements in technology, and are now able to understand user behavior and intent through available data and information to help consumers more effectively. Siri and Okay Google are household names now and have become the new search box.
Computers: Microsoft integrated Cortana into Windows 10 to power voice search on all devices from PCs to Xbox One. The Chrome browser comes with Google’s voice search as an inbuilt feature. This feature is also available on Google Maps.
Some Amazing Statistics Highlighting Voice Search Growth
Here are some facts and figures that tell us about the growing adoption of voice search and changing user behaviors associated with this technology.
On an average, one billion voice searches are conducted per month, as of January 2018, according to a report by Alpine AI. More than 70% of folks who own voice-activated speakers used these devices as part of their daily routines, says an article by Google. And, an estimated 41 million smart speaker units are expected to be sold in the US alone in 2019, according to Activate.
Our dependency on this technology will only increase, as 50% of all searches will be voice search by 2020, says a report by ComScore.
As expected, millennials may lead the way, given their preference for functionality over entertainment. Millennials are expected to constitute almost 40% of people using voice-enabled digital assistants in 2019, say statistics revealed by eMarketer.
A report by Google lends insight into user behavior. It says that more than half the people who own smart speakers use their devices to get information about deals, promotions and discounts, while 39% of users look for business information. Another report by BrightLocal reveals that 58% of people use voice search to find a local business and that 46% use voice search daily. The report also says that 27% visit the website of the local business after making a voice search.
Such insights provide a great deal of actionable data to businesses and brands. Let’s have a look at how brands can leverage this technology.
How Brands Can Leverage Voice Search
As voice search becomes bigger, brands need to adopt this in their plans. It will change the way SEO is done and how traffic is attracted to websites. It can help businesses optimise their customer experience and give an edge over competitors. Here’s a look at a few techniques to help you optimise voice search.
Create Strong, Relevant and Quality Content
Businesses first need to understand that there’s a huge difference between content that is created for written searches and for voice searches. While written searches are more focused on phrases and fragments of sentences, voice searches are more conversational and typically takes the form of questions. For example, if you wish to buy pancakes, you might type “buy pancakes online” whereas you may ask your voice assistant, “where can I eat pancakes nearby?”
Since you’re addressing specific questions, you need high-end content that typically answers the what, who, where, why and when of topics. After creating content that answers all these aspects of a topic, you need to creatively consider follow-on questions. In fact, this strategy can benefit normal search as well.
Use Structured Data
Structured data enables more content from your website to be accessible to search engines. Use of Schema Markup (optimising the structured data) also improves SEO. These changes can enhance your result in both normal and voice search results. Structured data plays a crucial role in content marketing.
Optimise for Local Search
Local search comprises a major part of all voice searches. For companies and brands with a physical presence, local SEO is crucial for enhancing outreach. Most voice related searches are made by people looking for places or items around them, like “the nearest bear brewery” or “top vets near me”. To optimise your local presence, it’s best to have an active social media presence and local SEO achieved using the Google My Business account.
Brands not only have to recognise that people are increasingly using voice search to find products and services online, but also that this technology offers great potential to businesses to reach highly targeted customers. Despite the tremendous advancements, this technology is still in its nascent stage and marketers need to keep a close eye on how it evolves and changes user behavior.
Contentworks is a content marketing agency that’s all about understanding your brand, telling your story and achieving your goals. Unless you want to climb Everest. We analyse your existing content marketing efforts, strategise and create managed content marketing plans that don’t tie up your precious resources.