3 things you need to know about voice search

Consumer expectations are higher than ever before; increased mobile adoption has conditioned consumers to turn to their mobile devices for instantaneous information, often while they’re multitasking. Increasingly, consumers are using voice searches on their smartphones, smart speakers, smart TVs, cars, wearables, and other connectable devices to ask for digital assistance in I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy micro-moments.

Voice search is increasing in popularity

Initially introduced as more of a novelty than a feature consumers relied upon, voice search was launched by Google in 2011 as a new way for consumers to search the web on connectable devices.

Every time a voice search is conducted, the digital assistant filters the sounds to ensure it focuses on the search query not the background noise, transforms the query into digital data, conduct a voice analysis, process the digital data, and then connect to external data sources to find relevant answers and translate the information to satisfy the searcher’s intent. Voice search eliminates the effort required for typing a query into a search bar, particularly on mobile devices where the keyboard is smaller, thus providing the convenience and speed of information that modern consumers crave. Since 2011, improvements in speech recognition technology has caused a gradual rise in adoption and dominance of voice search which now can’t - and shouldn’t - be ignored.

Embracing and optimising for voice search is important for every business

Voice search is a prominent digital marketing trend. In 2022, Google reported that 27% of the global population is using voice search on mobile.

At Strange, 6.4% of search terms triggering our campaigns used conversational, long-tail, and question terms; indicating the use of voice search.

The voice search trend is set to grow in the coming years, and as voice searches becomes more common, embracing and optimising for voice search is an important consideration for every business. So, how can you optimise your digital strategy for voice search? First, it’s important to understand how user’s search queries differ from those in traditional search queries:

  • Voice queries are longer and more conversational in comparison to traditional search queries because the user is talking to the search engine instead of typing in text.
  • Voice searchers typically ask for products or services using questions, so thinking about the which, what, why, how, and where of your offering is important when determining your keywords.
  • Voice search queries are often for local content; user’s are more likely to make “near me” searches. So local SEO is important to consider.

Therefore, keyword research and generation by thinking like the user - targeting long-tail, conversational, and question keywords and then using these keywords contextually - is pivotal when optimising for voice search.

Voice search will only continue to grow and improve over time

It was recently announced that the University of Illinois, Google, Apple, Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft are joining forces in the new Speech Accessibility Project to develop advanced voice recognition systems and make voice search accessible to users with non-standard speech patterns (Google). Given that all five tech giants will work together to solve speech recognition problems, instead of separately, further signifies the expected prevalence of voice search in the near future.

It’s likely that voice search technology will continue to improve, connected devices will gain more enhanced voice-enabled features, and consumers will become more comfortable using their voices as a way to search, so digital marketers need to study voice search statistics to identify new trends and reveal how consumer’s search habits are shifting with the ever-increasing usage of voice search.

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