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The Growth of Voice Search and Its Impact on SEO

Published on 17 August 18
The recent growth in voice search usage has brought about a couple of changes and disruptions. Not only in the way people make online searches, but also in the way they optimize their websites. These changes are expected to continue happening as voice search usage becomes widespread. Though currently there are only 40% of adults using voice search on a daily basis, ComScore estimates that the number will rise to 50% by the year 2020.
The infographic below, created by SEO Tribunal contains even more eye-opening numbers, but here are a few reasons why voice search becomes even more prevalent.
Why the sudden rise?
Considering the fact that voice search usage has been in existence since 1961 when IBM introduced its IBM Shoebox, the increased usage over the past few years can be narrowed down to this:
  • Increased usage of mobile devices. More than 2.53 billion people worldwide own and use their smartphones to make searches online and 94% of these people do carry their phones everywhere. This widespread mobile phone usage has made people get used to accessing information on the go and from anywhere. Hence, using voice to make online searches has more appeal today than previously, when only only a handful of users had access to smartphones.
  • Improvement in voice search technology. More sophisticated voice recognition software and digital assistants like Google Assistant, which gets 90.6% of its answers completely and correctly and Amazon’s Alexa whose answers are 87% accurate, have made the process of translating voice into text easier and faster than typing a search term. Thus, drawing many people to use voice and the more people use voice search, the more it becomes the new norm.
Moreover, the smart speakers of today are much advanced than earlier iterations. The introduction of smart devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and most recently Google Duplex have more than tripled sales of these devices.
  • Easy and quick usage. Many people find it easy or convenient to multitask while using voice as majority use it while driving, watching TV, showering, cooking and when exercising. Others use voice to make enquiries because they find it difficult to type on some devices. Also, it takes only about 4.6 seconds to attain results of approximately 2312 words, making voice search an efficient tool to use on a daily basis.
Voice Search Impact on SEO
Here is how voice search is changing the way businesses optimize their websites:
  • Focus falls on long-tail keywords. Since voice search queries tend to be longer than 10 words, this means that natural and conversational keywords are the next big thing. Hence, you need to embrace the usage of long-tail conversational keywords in question form that extensively describe your products or services to positively impact voice search optimization. This is because natural and conversational content does match consumer queries and its usage will soon become a must as voice search continues to grow. Also, voice search queries come in question form so it’s vital to incorporate question form keywords in your marketing strategy.
  • Demand for concise answers. Google prefers short and concise, but still thorough query answers. A typical voice search result is just 29 words long. Also, the content should be simple and easy to understand since the average voice search result is written at a 9th grade reading level.
  • Semantic search will soon become the norm. This is because Google relies on the users’ previous searches and patterns to contextualize queries and deliver optimal results. To this effect, companies need to research on how people talk about their products or services when carrying out voice searches and include these findings in their content.
  • Local search optimization is vital. Since most of the voice searches tend to be local with 39% based on business information like store location and 42% on events and activity information, optimizing for local search is essential. Most voice users search locally because they want to go visit a place or store and to distinguish menus. And with the introduction of Google Duplex, you can now use it to book a table in your favorite restaurant.
  • Reliance on featured snippets. Showing up in a Google featured snippet can increase your rankings in voice search. According to, 40.7% of voice query answers come from a featured snippet and 70% of them have cited a website source in their content.
  • The domain authority of a site is more important than its page authority. Since smart speakers like Google Home provide only one answer to a voice question, they have to ensure the information they’re providing is accurate. To this effect, they tend to rely on a trusted website over a single page with high authority.
  • The importance of keywords in title tags is limited. Voice search results rarely contain the exact keywords in the page’s title tag. The text that exactly matches the search query often is placed in the middle of the page. Hence, there is no need for you to create content for every single keyword that you want to rank for. Moreover, with voice searches being longer, it’s quite unlikely that the exact keyword can fit in the limited title tag space.
As voice search continues to grow in popularity, your business needs to keep abreast of the changes its causing to SEO and incorporate these changes in your SEO strategy.

This blog is listed under Development & Implementations and E-Commerce Community

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