OK Google: What Is Voice Search?

According to a recent Microsoft Voice report, it’s expected, by 2020, that 75% of households will have at least one smart speaker in their home.

Ignoring voice search is no longer a viable option for your marketing and it should now be considered a key part of your search engine optimisation strategy moving forward. Here’s why.

How does voice search work?

Voice search is a function that allows users to search online through spoken commands rather than typing. Available on a variety of devices; including smart phone, tablet, desktop and smart home assistants, voice search is becoming an increasingly popular form of search, with 50% of all searches across the internet predicted to be voice-based by 2020.

Are people using Voice Search? Yes.

Adoption of voice search is rapidly growing. With every smartphone device now supplied with some kind of voice-activated search functionality, it’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

  • 76% of smart home speaker users conduct local searches at least once a week—with 53% performing daily searches. 
  • 1 in 5 adult’s uses mobile voice search at least one time a month. (Source: Global Web Index)
  • 22% of smart home speaker owners have made a purchase using their device. (Source: Edison Research)
  • 2 of 5 adults perform a voice search at least once a day.
  • Shopping through voice activated devices is expected to increase by 48% by 2022, delivering £3.5bn worth of spend. (Source: OC&C Strategy Consultants)
  • 85% of smart home speaker owners accept the recommendation given by their device. (Source: Edison Research)
  • Individuals aged 26-35 represent the highest percentage of smart home device owners. (Source: Walker Sands)

How to rank for voice search

When a user initiates a voice search, only one answer will be provided, unlike when searching via traditional means. With that in mind, context is key. Ranking first in search engines is no longer a pre-requisite to appearing in voice searches – instead, context is key.

Artificial Intelligence has increasingly become, well, more intelligent; increasingly capable of greater understanding, all powered by Google Hummingbird. The results shown for a given search term now take a number of factors in to account, including:

  • Location
  • Time of Day
  • Content Lengths
  • Mobile-Friendliness
  • Security

All important factors in determining when your website will, and will not rank, for a search term.

To ensure your website is capable of competing for voice search rankings, we recommend the following activities at a minimum:

  • Focus less on keywords, and more on conversations – human do not speak in keywords, rather than “best restaurants Newbury”, look at search terms such as “what are the best restaurants in Newbury”. Take an informal tone.
  • Optimise your website with structured mark-up – to make it easier for search engines to find the answer to the searcher’s query.
  • Build detailed answers for your content – search engines value quality.
  • Ensure your website is mobile friendly and HTTPS secure.
  • Optimise for local search – update Your Local Listings and develop your Google My Business information.
  • Focus on local content – local queries are three times more likely on mobile devices than standard desktops.
  • Encourage reviews – these are a fantastic indicator of quality and reliability.

How we can help

As an experienced SEO agency, and certified Google Partner, we can help your business rank for voice search, ensuring your website is best optimised from a content and technical perspective.

Over the past 10 years, Google has continued to change the goal posts, but our philosophy and approach to search engine optimisation has remained the same; we always focus on the fundamentals and getting the basics right, before building upon our successes.

Get in touch with an expert SEO consultant today, or give us a call on 01635 887 730.