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Marketing 17 min read September 2, 2020

Voice Search: A Complete Guide For The Hottest Trend

Voice Search: A Complete Guide For The Hottest Trend
Евгения Сидорчук
Anja Skrba
Content Creation Manager for FirstSiteGuide
In the past couple of years, there has been a substantial growth of software solutions with voice recognition. There are many reasons why this is happening. Most importantly, people are living fast-paced and demanding lifestyles. Convenience has become essential for them.
Over 48% of people are already using voice search to perform web searches. The number of users keeps growing each year. Voice searches are the future, and the future is now. This is going to affect businesses and marketers alike.
They need to prepare themselves and get onboard with the current trends early to reap the benefits.

Here is what you need to know about voice searches and their future.
Development of mainstream voice search
Voice search first appeared in 2011 when Google introduced it. However, it wasn't a feature but more like a fun novelty that people could enjoy for a while. But, since 2011, speech recognition technology has been revolutionized.

This has made voice searches a viable feature and turned them into a vital search marketing practice. Furthermore, all devices that have an internet connection come with this technology, and it's one of the best channels for gathering data about user behavior.

It's easy to find relevant statistics that marketers can use for recognizing trends in search habits. Let's see some of the essential statistics today.
Prominent voice search statistics
Here are just some of the most important statistics we found in this research on voice searches:
Google's voice search has a 95% accuracy for the English language.
32% of internet users say they use voice search every day.
58% of online customers find local businesses with voice search.
43% of online shoppers purchase goods through voice-enabled gadgets.
It's expected that the sales of smart speakers will outgrow tablets in 2021.
These are just some of the statistics that are showing where voice search is heading. To learn more, you can check the full research mentioned above.
Best practices to optimizing for voice search
Since statistics show that many customers use voice search to get information and shop online, it's time for businesses and marketers to start paying attention. This means optimizing your online presence for voice searches.

Companies that have optimized their websites for these kinds of search queries will have a significant advantage in the future. Types and voice-activated search queries are different, and this is why they require further optimization.

Here's what you need to do.

Schema markups
Schema.org is a website designed to help marketers and webmasters improve their optimization practices. Schema has thousands of vocabularies for marking pages so that all major search engines can understand them easily.

After they are added to a page, schema markups add an enhanced description or rich snippet shown in search results. This approach can increase click-through rates, bring more organic traffic, and help businesses get an advantage over their direct competitors.

Even though this requires a bit of knowledge about HTML and coding, you don't have to be professional to use it. Google has even set up a markup helper you can use to generate your code more efficiently.

Local search optimization
Voice searches are used more locally and on mobile devices. As we mentioned, 58% of local customers that find businesses online do it through voice searches. One of the most popular phrases used in these searches is "near me" as people rely on location tracking.

The best way to optimize your site for these searches is to use business listings. Search bots rely on them to find the desired information. You can use Google My Business or some other listing to register your business. Make sure to add all relevant information, including the location, and keep this up to date.
What Every Local Business Should Monitor: Most Popular "Near Me" Queries

The role of featured snippets
Everyone has seen featured snippets, but only a few people know what they are. These snippets always appear on the "position zero" above everything. How many times have you looked for some information and got the answers from a snippet that you could expand?

But not all articles or blog posts get snippets. Only the best ones do, and they get the snippet from the search engine itself. The answers will be pulled directly from this snippet if a person uses a voice assistant to get the same information.

This is why it's so important. If you want Google to display a featured snippet for your content, you need to invest a lot of time and focus on its quality.
A Complete Visual Guide to Google SERPs: What Keywords to Use And How to Get Featured

Optimizing for question phrases
When typing in search queries, people are generally looking to familiarize themselves with a subject. They want to understand the basic idea behind a concept. But when it comes to voice searches, people are naturally using their language, and they aim at a direct piece of information.

Their intent is different, and it needs to be considered when making your content. In most cases, they come in the form of direct questions like "Where can I buy a brand new iPhone?" Include these questions in your content, subtitles, and headers.

This will make it easier for people to discover your content and find the answers they are looking for.
How To Create A Content Plan + Video Guide

The application of natural language
Voice searches are often longer than typed ones. This is because it's easier to speak than to write. They also have a more conversational tone or "natural language." For typed searches, users already understand that they need to make searches blunt and straightforward to get the best results.

With natural language, this is never going to change. That's why you can't optimize your site for keywords like with typed searches. Instead, look to add conversational phrases and keywords that are most common. Long-tail goes a long way with voice searches, and it can boost your typical SEO as well.
The growth of demand for voice search
Some of the strongest facilitators for voice search growth are smart speakers. There is a constant growth of smart speaker owners in the US and the world. In 2019, 157 million US households had a smart speaker. At first, these devices were just fun and didn't have any practical use.

But with the improvements in voice technologies, they've become a standard in most modern homes. People can use them to control devices around the house, get information, set alarms, change temperatures, and much more.

"Old habits die hard." People have gotten used to using their voice with devices. This has translated to searches, and in the future, we can only expect an increase in voice searches. This means that their relevance will grow as well.
Voice Search pushes AI and Machine Learning forward
You've probably heard about artificial intelligence by now. AI is quickly finding its way into different industries and is being implemented to achieve different goals. One of those uses is in voice search, which use NLP or Natural Language Processing, a special type of AI.

NLP allows computers to hear, process, analyze, and understand human speech. With the recent advancements of machine learning, computers and phones have become proficient at understanding human speech.

Since voice searches are growing popular each year, it has become imperative to make them more effective. That's how AI has found its place in the world of business yet again. When using voice search, users don't get 10 website results like with traditional search queries.

Voice search gives you one result that needs to be absolutely relevant. That's where machine learning and AI come into play. AI and NLP are in charge of understanding common speech and accurately determining what users are searching for.

On the other hand, machine learning is in charge of reaching the desired result and looking through countless results that might be relevant. Voice searches are a very specific type of SEO that has lots of options to stay competitive, and that's why it drives the development of technology that can be accurate and fair.
How Artificial Intelligence Changes SEO: Asking Experts
Efficiency is the primary reason Voice Search is growing
Each year voice recognition is becoming more versatile and accurate. Technology and users are developing together. People are starting to realize the benefits of voice search and how useful it can be. At the same time, new technology is allowing them to use this feature without any issues.
The re-innovation of this technology has affected how consumers behave. Simply put, as technology gets better, it provides a better user experience. When talking about voice searches, it's all about "efficiency." Efficiency refers to the level of accuracy these search queries provide without any faults.

In the past, voice search was exhausting. People had to repeat the same sentence several times and yell out into their devices as clearly as possible. This made it very inefficient and impractical, and that's why it wasn't popular.

However, the technology has become much more effective over time, offering users the following benefits:
1
People can search more quickly by speaking than by typing.
2
It's easy and convenient making it a natural part of your daily routine.
3
People instantly get relevant information and answers with a single best-value source.
4
Voice search can be used on phones and home assistants.
5
Voice searches are easier to use while multitasking.
To sum it up, voice search is quicker, easier to use, and doesn't require users to stop what they are doing. For example, you could be doing a math assignment and instantly ask your assistant for an answer without even stopping what you're doing.
Voice-powered chatbots
Traditionally, chatbots were virtual helpers that users could find on websites or social media. Companies and marketers implemented these assistants to help customers with some basic queries. At first, chatbots were simple, and people could only chat with them like in any other messenger app.

However, chatbots have gone a long way. They are both designed differently and can be used for various tasks. A good example of this are voice-powered chatbots, which communicate and interact with users via voice recognition. The technology is pretty much the same as with voice searches.

There are two subcategories of voice-powered chatbots:
1
Chatbots that reply with text messages.
2
Chatbots that reply with voice.
In both cases, they are activated by voice and designed to understand human speech. As you might know already, UX has become an important aspect of SEO. It's impossible to get good rankings from Google unless your site offers a great user experience.

That's where chatbots come into play. These assistants are a great customer support channel, and they can even be used for selling products. At the same time, these voice-powered versions give marketers an opportunity to give a uniform customer journey.

Simply put, if a customer has found a site via voice search they will love getting answers about products or services and even order products using their voice.
5 Ways Implementing Live Chat Can Improve Your SEO
Conversational AI
Everyone talks differently, and technological developments are getting better and better at adjusting to specific accents and speech patterns. Chatbots are already starting to give personalized answers and talk back in a way that humans would. The development of machine learning has made this possible.
However, this technology is going a step further and looking to develop solutions that will allow users to have a completely natural chat with a program like you would with a human. This concept is called "Conversational AI". It might seem irrelevant in terms of SEO but bear with us.

Google already relies on machine learning to fetch the most relevant results for search queries. As we mentioned, machine learning also powers conversational AI. With the perspective on voice search, machine learning could be used to fetch the best information based on a real conversation that is happening with human users.

Through conversational AI, digital assistants, chatbots, and search engines can pick up lots of different slangs, pronunciations, and lingo to perfect search results with repeated conversations. The more this technology is used, the better it will become. Some even say that it will be possible to recognize emotions and the tone of voice to provide more accurate answers.
Conclusion
Voice searches are a growing trend that won't stop soon. This means that optimizing your site for these kinds of searches is becoming a necessity. If not, you will be losing a lot of potential customers. Modern customers love technology, and they reward businesses that implement new innovations.

If you do this early on, you will be able to gain a strong competitive advantage. From there, you can build on your voice search optimization and be ready for the future. To be an SEO pro, you can no longer neglect voice searches.

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