Everything You Wanted to Know About Voice Search
We have been hearing about major changes to search engines for the past 20 years, as new technologies and algorithms alike seek to adjust for one another and improve the search experience.
Arguably one of the most disruptive search trends to emerge in recent years has been the emergence of voice search: designed to eliminate the need for keyboards and written language, voice search is part of a growing trend of convenience options for individuals who either do not wish to use or cannot use traditional search options.
With that being said, voice search can be intimidating. Many nascent brands, blogs and businesses aren’t sure how to differentiate voice search optimization from standard SEO. In order to make the process a bit easier to understand, let’s discuss the finer details of voice search!
The Basics of Voice Search
Voice search pertains to inquiries spoken by voice to search engines. For example, using smart home devices to initiate commands does not count as voice search, but using those same devices to ask about the weather or find the nearest restaurant does count as voice searches. Instead of pinging links and lists of results to users, voice searches from home devices simply provide an agreed-upon fact – or the most popular/relevant result to the user.
Currently, the vast majority of voice searches originate from two sets of devices: smart home devices that eliminate the need for visual interfaces altogether, and mobile devices. In this respect, voice search is slowly encroaching about both traditional and mobile search areas.
How Many People Are Using Voice Search?
It might surprise you to find out that a majority of search engine users in the US, UK and other similar nations are using voice searches on a regular basis. Voice search is still predominantly used to fetch easy facts and pieces of information that do not require discernment on the part of the user, which is why three-quarters of people using voice search have done so for this type of information. Additionally, roughly half have used voice to search for nearby businesses and products.
However, voice search volume as a share of all search traffic remains relatively small for now. Anywhere from 3-10% of searches are performed by voice, depending on which set of statistics you believe. Ultimately, this number is set to continue growing as more mobile and voice-activated devices enter the market and fewer people are browsing screens and pinging links.
Critical Facts to Know About Voice Search
Perhaps the most important information to know about voice search is how search engines optimize and decide to provide results. After all, voice search results not displayed on screens will default to one result.
Search engine voice results tend to vary depending on the device and user (in situations where preferences are relevant). It is generally rate that voice search results feature information from pages that are not highly-ranked, which make optimizing for voice even more competitive. In the event a search engine result page has a featured snippet or other comparable knowledge box, voice search results often default to providing this information.
Now that you have a better understanding of the dynamics of voice search, you can decide whether to optimize your content for it and/or begin embracing strategies designed to focus on voice search alone.