Voice search is a voice-enabled approach to search your queries on the internet. Instead of typing your query with a specific set of keywords, you use the voice commands to carry out your queries on a web browser or a search engine. In fact, voice search has become one of the most used digital marketing strategies in 2020.
Voice search might have started as an infant concept but in today’s date, it is one of the most important topics of the search industry. People cannot get enough of a voice search. The ease that people get from voice search is second to none and beyond the limitations of typing.
Every second, Google, the number 1 search engine processes 40,000 voice search queries(1) all across the globe. This number is instantly growing. Everybody, now, has a personal voice assistant on their mobile phones and the way we get answers from Google has changed a lot lately.
We all remember the time when Siri came out as a personal voice assistant on Apple phones in 2011. That was a novelty that was regarded as cool to try out. It was informative and sometimes, made us laugh with its responses.
But nobody has ever thought that the same voice assistant would become one of the biggest digital trends in 2020.
People are moving towards voice search rather than traditional text search. It brings ease and convenience. However, due to the huge demand, there are now various voice-activated technologies in the market. Hence, the reason why 420 million voice assistants have been sold to the public.
Voice search is being used mostly for commands, that is to call mom or to set an alarm. There’s more potential for this field. It can change the whole perspective of voice marketing in the future.
Artificial intelligence lies behind voice search and according to Google, the accuracy of it has grown to 95% now since the year 2013(2).
But do you have any idea why it is getting bigger and evolving more than ever? Well, voice search follows some trends and specific traits of this digital technology has won millions of hearts. Let’s discuss its growth and dig in the reason why it’s constantly growing and is expected to take over text search by storm.
Why Is Voice Search Getting Bigger?
Imagine you are cooking an absolutely new dish, but you have to follow the steps in the recipe so that the dish could come out nice and tasty. Now, you might get confused with the steps, given its not in front of you but on your phone. Would you want to open your phone or even touch if with your messy hands to see the recipe? I guess not.
Can you think of another way? well, I can. One way is to ask your voice assistant to repeat the whole recipe so that you could continue cooking merrily, without interruption.
There are thousands of situations where our personal voice assistant can save us. Here are some prominent reasons why voice search is getting bigger and becoming the new talk of the town:
Voice Search Is Faster and Easier Than Text Search
Voice searching is 3.7 times faster than text searching. In short, searching by voice commands is easier and faster than through traditional methods such as text searching. It’s convenient to speak long-tailed keywords rather than typing it, isn’t it?
42% of people use voice search while they are driving and do not have access to their headsets. While 38% of voice search users think that it’s a fun way of searching.
Voice Search Is More Appropriate and Convenient
When your answer is one sentence away, would you choose to speak or type? I’d go with asking verbally without any shadow of a doubt. In the same way, people who live in an era where time is money would like to have their answers quicker and faster.
It’s pretty obvious that people choose the latter option because they do not like typing on their phones.
Voice Search Is Apt for Mobile
This is probably the biggest reason why voice search is viral and popular among the people today. People always have their smartphones with them, and this gives them the leverage to take help from their voice assistants.
Bright Local(3) indicates that almost 56% of voice search is made from smartphones.
This statistical data indicates the role of smartphones in the emergence and popularity of this digital technology. Mobile phones are actually a gate to access voice searches.
Also Read: What is Voice Search: The Beginners Guide
Characteristics of Voice Search
Here are some notable trends of voice search that would help us understand why it is important to optimize our websites for voice search:
Voice Queries Contain Conversational Words and Asks Questions
While using a desktop, we intend to be direct so that we could get accurate information in less time. when using voice search, the tone is somehow conversational. For instance, if you want to search for restaurants on a desktop, you would probably write, ‘restaurants in ABC area’. However, whole voice searching, you’d be giving voice commands like, ‘which restaurants are open now?’.
Voice search does not necessarily contain long-tailed keywords. Instead, it contains question phrases.
Did You Know that 22% of Voice Queries are for Local Content?
Internet Trend Report indicated that almost 225 of voice search queries are location-based. And somehow, it all seems sane because people voice search on the go.
Google recently disclosed that due to voice searches, the ‘Near Me’ searches have increased to 130%. People use voice search to find things near them.
Needless to mention, the voice search is a mobile-driven trend.
Users Expect Immediate Results
Voice searches are mainly used by adults and teenagers to make calls or for asking road directions. When people use voice search, they do not have the intent to look for a local business all the time.
For instance, a person looks for restaurants nearby. He gets all the information about all the restaurants. After that, the person will have to look for the desired restaurant and then make a reservation.
Things are different when a person has information-related queries, for instance, ‘What’s the best restaurant in the world?’. In this case, he wants an immediate answer.
The content usually appears on featured snippets above the search fold.
How to Optimize for Voice Search
Marketing analytics estimates that by the end of 2020, 50% of all the searches would be voice-based. Not only is this digital trend rising but the digital purchase trend for IoT devices, smart speakers, smartphones and voice assistants is on the high rise as well.
This whole situation calls for re-optimization. We are rapidly approaching a voice-first world. Our businesses, content on the internet, websites, and blogs need to keep up with the current trend.
Let’s see how we can optimize for voice search in different ways:
The featured snippets are just boxes that appear above SERPs on Google. The search engine basically pulls out the most relevant content for the query from the websites and put it in the boxes. Featured snippets matter a lot while considering voice optimize because 30% of Google queries contain them.
So, if your content is featured in a snippet, you can be sure that a voice assistant would definitely pull its query’s answers from there.
The most important thing to rank your website higher in a voice-first world is to provide quality data that qualify to get featured in the Google snippets.
You need to know people’s intentions. Do they want to buy something from your website or are they here to fetch information about your brand? The user intent can be determined by the query that he has put in the first place using a voice search.
Sometimes, the user intent is pretty obvious as his query contains words like, ‘price’ and ‘buy’. But other times, the intent is only in a user’s brain.
Google’s Hummingbird update crawls through each website’s content and gives accurate answers to the user’s query.
Therefore, consider user intent as much as you can while curating and creating content. It dramatically enhances your site’s relevance to specific user queries.
Long-Tail Keywords and Questions
When talking to a voice assistant, people tend to have a conversation with them. Hence, the reason why voice search queries are long. Using long-tailed keywords and questions phrases in your content is a good practice if you want to make your content voice search optimized. This would help you rank higher in featured snippets.
The text search is quite relevant and specific. Meanwhile, voice search is natural and close to human language.
To find out the most authentic questions that your targeted audience can ask, use the help of software like ‘Ask the Public’.
When choosing the questions to include in your content, make sure to write them around your site. moreover, answer the question concisely and as briefly as you can.
Also, do not forget to keep your ‘other related questions’ filled and always updated to make it to featured snippets.
Speed of Page Loading
Page speed refers to the time that your website page takes to load. In short, it’s the loading time. This speed influences your ranking in a voice-first world a lot.
A person who uses voice search is usually in a hurry. So, the speed optimization of your website is really important.
To start with, you can take the speed test with PageSpeed Insights.
Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Try to enhance your site’s mobile speed as most of the voice searches are done by phones.
Structured data entails coding that’s added to your site’s HTML code so that search engines could understand your content better.
This helps the search engines to crawl through your website efficiently and easily. Take the help of Schema Markup to optimize the way you give information about yourself, your brand and your products.
Using structured data in featured snippets brings competitive advantages to your website. This data could help you to feature in snippets. Hence, in voice search results.
Bright Local reports that almost 58% of consumers use voice search to look for local businesses. To appear in the top voice searched results, you have to optimize your content based on your location. You can update your business listing information by taking help from Google My Business.
Whether you own a large enterprise or a small pet shop just around the corner, fill your business listing information and ensure that it is correct. If you have stores at multiple locations, you can use tools like Yext and Moz Local to fill in the business listing information.
Make sure that your website is business-friendly. A site that is mobile-friendly is probably voice search-friendly. Design a responsive website, invest in off-page and on-page SEO tactics, eliminate structural mobile errors recorded by Google, ensure that business listing information is easy to find and that the website has a quick response and loading time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Pages
Another way to optimize your content for voice search is to create frequently asked questions pages that focus more on question phrases and long-tailed keywords.
Think of common questions and group them together. Try to sound natural. For the highest-ranking, you need the search engine to pull answers from your website. So, anticipate the questions and add relevant long keywords in them.
Ensure to add quick answers to increase your chances to get featured on Google snippets.
This might be a daunting task to do but it can help big time to be at the top of voice-searched results.
How People Play with Voice Search
If you have ever used Siri, you must have joked around it unnecessarily. Admit it, you have asked your personal voice assistant some silly questions that you still are guilty of.
But the point is, people can play with their voice assistants in many ways. There are a million ways to interact with digital technology.
Try to find unique ways through which you can engage with your customers.
Online Listings for Local Businesses
You can skip this tip if you do not run a business website. But if you do, it is important to get your local business listed. You need to be prepared for the voice search revolution as soon as possible. There are chances that voice assistants like Siri and Cortana won’t display your website on the searched results. So, you need to get your company listed especially if you want to attract locals.
As the search industry continues to grow, the marketers must learn new strategies and be ahead of time to keep up with the digital trends. Follow the above tips to optimize for voice search to ensure that you are ahead of your competitors.