The Growth of Voice Search

Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Google Home – voice search assistants are becoming more readily available and as such are playing a larger part in our everyday lives.

Last year at a keynote conference, Google revealed that 20 per cent of all mobile queries were voice searches. The year prior in 2015, searches on GoogleNow, Siri and Cortana occupied 10 per cent of the world’s search volume; according to the Local Search Association, this equates to around voice searches accounting for approximately 50 billion searches a month!

“Sounds” good to us.

Aside from the convenience of the technology, voice search is set to continue on this upward trajectory become even bigger in 2017 largely because it is improving in a number of ways, one of which being it can by and large now understand context.

According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the Google Assistant will be able to take the context of a previous question to find answers to follow up questions even on different devices, providing a more fluid and comprehensive search for the end-user. Earlier this year, he told MSNBC that voice queries are one part of “total journey” that is a search enquiry.  “So when we think about something like the Google Assistant, we think about it as an ongoing conversation with our users across different contexts. So they may ask a question on voice, later when they pick up their phone they want continuity, so we think of this as an end-to-end thing. And all of this means users engage more with us, more with computing, and look for more information and I think the trends we see are positive. So we think about it from a long term perspective, so I see more opportunity than challenge when I think about voice search.”

How to capitalize on the surge in voice searches

For companies looking to overhaul their online and mobile marketing strategies in 2017, taking into consideration this uptick in voice search is going to be key.

Search Engine Land reports that over half of the world’s search queries are conducted on mobile devices, and so for marketers, ensuring their mobile content is strong is important. We can help you run a site audit to determine how well your current site is ranking across mobile devices, and make suggestions in terms of how to make improvements. One such improvement may be to think about how you can make written content really stand out to search engines, encompassing a range of both short and long tail keywords. A written search and voice query will often be different in terms of words used, so having a combination of both types of keywords is vital so as not to lose any ground in written searches whilst still appealing to voice users.

One core difference between the two types of enquiry is the tone; while written queries may be direct and to the point (e.g. “Italian restaurants near me”), vocal enquiries may be more conversational (“e.g. “Where are some good Italian restaurants near me?”) As voice searches are more likely to begin with questions such as “Where”, “When”, or “How”, having copy on your mobile site that contains these expressions can better your chances of that copy being returned in results. For example, FAQs pages are a great and natural way of doing this. Researching conversational queries to find oft-searched for keywords can help you decide which questions to answer (you can tailor your questions or answers around those keywords).

At Assertive Media, we know that keeping abreast of changes in mobile marketing can be tricky, and that voice search is going to open even more doors in 2017. Whether you need a content audit, want to improve your rankings or need help to otherwise leverage the boom in voice searches, our expert team is here to help.

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