You’ve probably heard of voice search before. And even if you haven’t, you have probably seen people talking into their phones, or adverts for Amazon’s Alexa. There you go, that’s voice search for you.
You can perform voice search either by speaking to the voice function of a search engine such as Google Voice Search, or by speaking to a voice search assistant such as Alexa. The difference is that Google Voice Search, for instance, can only provide you with search results, while voice search assistants can also perform small actions such as placing online orders for you.
The main voice search devices out there at the moment are Google Voice Search and Google Home, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Echo, and finally Microsoft’s Cortana. In addition, various voice search functions are being launched this year, and others are in their prototype stage. The world is going crazy for voice search!
Voice search is a daily habit for a lot of people, but the US in particular seems to love it the most. However, its capabilities are still restricted, as for the moment it only provides one single answer to queries, and sometimes it is still unable to provide answers at all.
Having said this, voice search is quick to use, and that’s why it has become so popular, especially amongst young people.
For the moment, its technology is mainly used in private spaces, such as at home or in the car. However, this is predicted to change as more and more people start using voice search devices and get comfortable using them in public.
The real question for businesses is how to use voice search to generate a profit, and how to feature in voice search results.
It’s hard to predict what the future of voice search will look like; however, many believe that there will be opportunities for paid search with this new technology. Paid recommendations might be introduced one day, but they’re not here just yet.
The number of voice searches is increasing, and it will inevitably continue to do so. Having said this, only those businesses which will be able to use voice search effectively to accurately answer customers’ queries and quickly solve their problems will be able to make profit through it.
As technology develops, businesses may even be able to draw insights from users around their mood and emotions, which can be used to cater for their queries more accurately or even to predict future ones.
One thing is for sure: competition to feature in search results will become even more fierce, as the result provided for each query will be perceived as the only result.
But all is not lost yet. There are various techniques that businesses can adopt to feature in voice search results. The top three are:
- Focus on mobile. Currently, voice search is mainly used on mobile devices, so focusing your efforts on mobile and local search is vital. The great advantage of this technology is that it’s quicker, and it saves users time and effort in finding their answers.
- Implement schema mark-up. The implementation of schema mark-up will make sure that search engines successfully understand the content of your pages, which will also benefit voice searches: schema mark-up will make sure that you appear high on SERPs, increasing your chances of being selected for voice search results as well.
- Shift to long-tail keywords. Voice search queries differ from traditional ones in that they tend to be longer, and formulated as if the user was talking to someone: the language is more natural, retaining elements such as articles or adverbs which are usually missing from traditional search queries. The Keyword Planner can help you identify long-tail keywords, but there are also websites out there which can help you with this.
Search engines around the world are experimenting with voice search. Aside from Google, Bing, Yandex, and Baidu are all making use of this technology, and many of them offer it in different languages.
Having said this, a lot still remains to be done when it comes to accent recognition on voice search devices, as some accents still get misunderstood.
Offices and retail are predicted to make vast use of voice search in the future, and this could potentially open up several possibilities for marketers and businesses to expand their reach. You better have a strategy ready for when this happens!
Anna Giulia Novero
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