Opinion / 16.08.16 / 4 min read

The rise and rise of voice search

We all know that voice search has been around for a few years now. Following a sluggish start for people using these voice-activated apps, with 85% of IOS users saying they did not use Siri in 2013, they’re now much more commonplace.

The rise and rise of voice search

But with the release of Google Assistant and Google Home later this year we thought we’d delve into the rise of voice search and how it could potentially affect SEO strategy in the near future.

More recently, with improved technologies and numerous updates from the big market players, people are becoming much more conversational with search.

Google stated earlier this year that “20% of search queries are voice searches.”  Clearly consumers are beginning to see the convenience and ability of very quick answers to their questions.

The big player voice-activated platforms are Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Now, which are all utilising popular third party apps to improve their search results. For example, Google has recently announced that it has integrated a number of third party apps to work with their voice-activated search; Uber, Open Table, Spotify and Whatsapp to name a few.

So what does the rise of voice search mean to us marketers?

  • Search will adapt more conversational phrases
  • Long tail key word phrases will likely become the focus
  • Semantic search will become a bigger player in voice search
  • Optimised videos will see a rise in the search results
  • Voice search results will mostly be localised

As voice search apps become more widespread, it may soon be the case that users never have to open an app or visit a website again. Using a two-way conversational approach, these apps will assist users in completing real world tasks, like making bookings, purchasing items, chat interactions and answering queries.

We know mobile search took over desktop search towards the end of last year and now with a larger percentage of those mobile searches being voice searches there are important content and SEO implications:

  • As marketers, we currently have no way of tracking voice search metrics (although it has been rumoured that Google will provide us with voice search metrics in Google Search Console).
  • Sites that rely on traditional search networks may see a downturn in traffic as this won’t be reflected in voice search.
  • If sites are mainly informational and fact-based, organic traffic may be affected as Google could decide to give that answer via voice. This could potentially result in loss of site visits, thus a drop in conversions etc.
  • Brand awareness may also suffer as Google could have issues saying certain brand names out loud and correctly- especially true if that brand name is an acronym or a made up word.

As marketers, we’ll need to adapt to voice search and strategise future marketing tactics for a more conversational approach and determine the possible implications the increase in voice-activated platforms may have on our clients.

I believe voice search will be a positive move for SEO as it offers users another means to search for information. I believe there will still be a need for traditional search as some queries demand more detailed information and some users will just want to browse the web. The changes in technology over the years have always led us to change and adapt our SEO approach and the rise in voice search will therefore be no different.

We’d love to hear your thoughts though! Do you use voice search? And what are your thoughts on the implications it may have on SEO? Please feel free to comment below.

Sarah Dennis

Marketing Director