Here at .ME we pride ourselves on making decisions based on data, so we’d like to start with this: Research suggests that 20% of searches via a mobile device in 2017 were voice searches, and approximately 40% of adults used it on a daily basis in 2018. Do you still think you can afford to ignore this trend? We didn’t think so.
There’s no doubt – voice search is the new big player in the field of digital marketing and we’re here to get your ready for it!
The Impact of Voice Search on Businesses
Voice search is gaining in popularity as we speak. You might not have realized it yet, but it will play an enormous role when it comes to the organic growth rate of small and medium-sized businesses, as well as bigger enterprises.
Still not convinced? Then you must have missed the fact that 22% of people who use smart speakers have made a purchase via their devices. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
Let’s first take a look at who uses voice search the most, why and what for.
Who Is Using Voice Search?
Millennials use voice search nearly as much as baby boomers and Gen Xers combined. However, in 2018, the two older generations have caught up with the millennials, so the number of voice commands was similar for all three generations.
It should be mentioned, though, that the environments in which people feel comfortable enough to use voice search differ substantially according to age. Namely, those younger than 24 (now dubbed as Gen Z) were 33% more likely to use voice search in public places, that are by many often considered taboo (such as a public restroom, mind you), as opposed to those older than 24 who prefer to use voice commands in a more private settings.
This tendency younger generations have to use voice commands in public and on wearable devices indicates that people will turn to voice search even more in the future.
The Benefits of Voice Search
The novelty of voice search is definitely not wearing off and the reasons are many. Aside from it being fun (let’s face it – it is fun), people use voice search because it helps with:
- Daily routine – Google revealed that 72% of people consider their voice-activated speakers a crucial part of their everyday lives. Voice search is a great tool that can help you browse for anything that comes to mind without interrupting your daily flow. Virtual assistants are slowly replacing handwritten notes and are increasingly used for routine tasks, such as setting reminders, creating to-do lists, or checking commute times. Moreover, they are often placed in the living room to be even more accessible.
- Multitasking – Being able to look something up while keeping your hands busy is a true game-changer. Let’s say you are in the middle of preparing a delicious pie but can’t seem to remember a crucial ingredient. Using voice commands to check the recipe when your hands are covered in flour is much more convenient than any alternative. Considering, it is no wonder 34% of people use voice search while driving – they don’t have to stop to check directions or to get search for a business address.
- Instant feedback – It goes without saying that the majority of people are much faster when it comes to talking than typing, especially when using a touchpad. Plus, it is easier to ask questions out loud when we are on the go and get immediate feedback.
Why Would Anyone Use Voice Search?
Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps – music requests, asking for directions, checking the weather forecast, looking up contact numbers, setting the alarm clock… need I continue?
People who use voice search technology and artificial intelligence are embracing the opportunity to look up and interact with various brands and business just by using their voice. This implies an increase in direct day-to-day interaction between customers and services offered by both the local enterprises and global corporations alike.
Furthermore, searchers frequently use voice commands to find additional information on local businesses, such as their address, directions and phone number. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that the top five things people search for using their voice are restaurants and cafes, grocery stores, food delivery, clothing stores, hotels, and bed & breakfasts. Voice commands are utilized to make a restaurant reservation, book a medical appointment or a beauty treatment, and to inform themselves about prices.
With a potential customer base of 53% voice search users performing local searches every day, it is high time businesses got on board and reaped the benefits of having their brand appear first in voice search results.
How to Prepare and Optimize for Voice Search Results?
Don’t Forget the Human Element
There is a big difference in the way people speak as opposed to the way they type when searching for information. If a person is looking to buy a new washing machine for their home, they’d probably type in “washing machine brands”, but if they wanted to use voice search, they’d say something along the lines of “What is the best washing machine brand?”
Therefore, try focusing on questions and word formations people might actually ask, which are related to your target keywords. When optimizing, try to think of long-tail keywords and conversational phrases to ensure the discoverability of your business.
Create FAQ pages
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages can do wonders for your voice search optimization. Leave room on your site for an FAQ section or an elaborate knowledge base. Content archives such as these can be a deciding factor in the neverending ranking race, since they address issues and answer questions many people tend to look for.
Aim for Featured Snippets
You know when you search for something and you see a box at the top of the search results page offering a summarized answer? That is known as the featured snippet, or position zero – the answer Google considers the most relevant to your question.
Why is this important? Because featured snippets can have a great impact on search results. And in the world of voice search, the rules are simple: once you ask the question, there will be just one answer provided. That answer will, more often than not, be the featured snippet.
When you use voice search to ask a question, Google is likely to collect information from a featured snippet and read it out loud to you, while stating where the information came from. That’s an excellent opportunity for your site to appear in voice search results.
Make Sure You Are Mobile-Friendly
Search engine market is already tuned to be mobile-oriented, due to the ever-rising popularity of portable devices. It wouldn’t be a surprise that, one day, voice search results become the norm and gain the upper hand over the conventional results. Luckily, the process of optimization for both of these search environments has the same strategy – the majority of things you can do to optimize your site for voice search can be used for mobile-first optimization as well.
Just keep in mind that 88% of “near me” searches are conducted using a portable device. Moreover, the majority of commands are made using a mobile device. Thus, making your site mobile-friendly can definitely bring you many benefits.
Local SEO Is a Must
Although voice searches, in general, are not strictly local in their nature, an outstanding number of local searches are carried out with voice. When people are on the street, driving, or are in the middle of another activity, they are frequently looking for an instant fix, like finding the nearest pharmacist or a local market.
Also, people tend to use their mobile device to ask for an address, working hours or a phone number when they are getting ready to visit a local restaurant or a beautician.
Our advice – put additional efforts into optimizing your website for local search results – it’s definitely worth it.
We are all witnessing a major cultural shift which will could alter the future of digital marketing and internet search as we know it. If you don’t want to stay behind your competition and see your business go belly up, your company should start adapting ASAP – you owe it that much!
Prepare now so you don’t lose the race for high rankings because voice search is definitely here to stay!