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Google’s Voice Search: How much impact does it have?

With voice search becoming more popular as the years pass, it begins to have more of an impact on businesses SEO strategies. Google Voice Search, also known as Search by Voice is a Google product that enables users to make searches by speaking on their device such as a phone, tablet or computer. The device searches for information based on the query the user has spoken to it. It was initially released in 2002 and has since then gone through various upgrades such as more command languages being added and the speech recognition pattern being altered.

The impact that Google Voice Search, and in extension all voice search tools such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Window’s Cortana has had on people is monumental. Google commissioned Northstar Research, a global consulting firm to conduct a study surveying 1,4000 Americans across all age groups and their results show that as of October 2014, 55% of American teens and 41% of US adults use Google Voice Search multiple times throughout the day, and that the technology’s use has more than doubled in the years 2013 and 2014.

What is more interesting however, is exploring Voice Search’s impact; specifically, how it impacts the digital marketing world. One of the key areas, if not the most important is how voice search tools affect search engine optimization (SEO). How will search engine result be influenced by an ever changing manner of searching?

A person who uses voice search and a person who uses traditional text search don’t usually have the same reception. While the fundamental search algorithm may be the same, voice search tends to fall into different query types from traditional search. A digital marketer who understands these differences will be able to prepare for an audience that predominantly voice searches and adjust their strategies to better suit them.

Using conversational language shows stronger intent. The who, what, when, where, and why keywords all show intent and the readiness of a user to act based on their search.

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Speaking a query leads the user to talk in a more relaxed and conversational manner, and as a result this makes the search results bring up web pages that are more content worthy. Previously, marketers were over-optimising by including too many keywords in their material and as a result their content was not catered to give value to human readers. Since 2011, Google’s Panda algorithm update has begun to combat this by excluding keyword based search results in preference of broader, more sophisticated page search results.

As voice search continues to grow, so will marketers continue to modify their strategies. Key is the conversational tone of voice that users use and the emphasis on phrases and sentences rather than sematic search. There are numerous methods that marketers can apply to their websites to make them more likely to be favourable search results. They can use long-tail keywords.  FAQ strategy can be used in their content that answers the who, what, where, when and so forth questions voice search users often ask. They also can write their website content in a natural voice so that their brand sounds more comfortable and use the language of their customers. It is a possibility that in the near future, rather than being directed to a search result website, a device will instead read back the data gathered to the user. Implementing these tactics will aid in keeping digital marketers abreast in a rapidly changing world of user search forms and SEO.

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