Voice Search - What You Need To Know

Nov 28, 2018

Hey Siri, why should I learn about Voice Search?

What was once just an emerging trend, has now arrived. As a matter of fact, by 2020 its estimated that over 50% of all searches will be initiated through voice. So, what is it exactly? Voice search is a form of recognition technology that allows users to search & retrieve information through verbal speech, as opposed to typed or written text in a search field.

Considering we adapt to what makes day-to-day life easier, you can expect to see voice search continue to make its presence felt amongst consumers who use it, and businesses who optimise its influence.

Driving the popularity of voice search is the fact that it’s simple, fast and importantly, personable.
  • Users want faster outcomes that require less effort.
  • Smart speakers & digital assistants are convenient, and voice facilitates these technologies.
  • It’s seamless with on-the-go searching, which has continually increased.
  • It’s conversational & lends itself to informal language, creating comfort & flexibility for the user.

Competition for rankings will intensify:

Users hardly browse an entire search engine results page as it is, nor will they be intent on spending time listening to numerous search results in a verbal sense. It’s believed that consumers won’t consider more than three voice-activated results when on the hunt for fast and easily digestible content. The pressure will deepen for businesses to think like a consumer and accurately predict their search behaviour more than ever before.
Long-tailed keywords & phrasing will become the priority:

In a standard typewritten search, only a few keywords are used. For example, one might search “Sydney hairdresser,” or “Hairdressers near me.” In comparison, your digital assistant would interpret questions as if naturally conversing with you. A search may resemble this, “Hey Siri, which hairdressers near me accept walk-in customers?”, or “Am I able to walk into XYZ Hairdresser without an appointment?”. With voice searches more likely to take after casual speech, an emphasis on long-tailed words and identifiable phrasing is needed.
User Intent must be considered through your FAQ’s

What questions do prospective customers ask about you? What would I need to know about you before making a purchase decision? Are you better than your competitors, if so why? Will your website’s content tell me all of this? If you use voice search, chances are your last search was asking for something precise. How much you value user intent when configuring your site and content is crucial to meeting user demands, this means that already having the answers to every who, what, when, where and why question of your business can keep you one step ahead.


Only if users are willing to listen

The red flag with voice advertising is that it’s bound to be much more invasive and annoying than graphic or text-based ads because there’s no opt-out or skipping option. Could voice advertisers overcome this challenge? One way around it could be to provide sponsored results after organic results as a reconsideration to what they’ve just heard, meaning users aren’t forced to listen to ads before they hear the organic results like more traditional e-advertising permits. You might think nobody would move ahead and listen to an ad after already hearing organic results, but an intentional click on other online ads is rare anyway.

Picture this - A user asks their digital assistant for the best Italian restaurants in their area. The assistant reads an answer from the top result, but then offers a related sponsored result and asks you if you’d like to listen to it. If the user agrees, then the assistant reads it and complements it by directing a link for that result to your device. In essence it mimics PPC, however the user’s verbal consent determines whether or not the advertiser is charged.


Despite the hype surrounding Voice search and the role it will play in digital marketing, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever completely abandon visuals when searching and browsing. Whether it’s a speaker with an inbuilt screen, VR-friendly smart glasses or wearable tech that’s connected to our devices, attracting eyeballs will always be vital as the marketing-tech landscape evolves.

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