Today's modern consumer is 7x more likely to conduct a voice search when searching according to a 2016 report. Along with that, 65% of smartphone users operate on voice assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Google Now. As of 2014, 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice searches on a daily basis. Knowing this, businesses must ensure that they are able to control the public facts about their brands not only in mobile search results, but in answers on voice searches as well.
Voice search recognition is a response to an audio query that requires assistance from voice-activated technology such as Amazon's Alexa, to return direct results. Voice searches can range from 'near me' inquiries to voice commands which return single results and actions. According to Google Trends, "call mom" and "navigate home" were two of the most commonly-used voice commands in 2016.
Google reported in 2016 that one in every five searches made with the Google Android App in the United States is a voice search. Therefore, optimizing for voice search is going to be a major priority for marketers in the years to come. Not too long ago, companies emphasized optimizing for short keywords, as that was an effective strategy for Google's algorithms. With the rise of voice search and the changing dynamics it is causing, voice-based search queries need to be drastically different than typed queries. Businesses will need to tailor their optimization efforts toward longer queries that fit with voice search terms, such as, "where is the nearest gas station to me," as opposed to shorter keywords like "gas station near me" that were common with traditional search.
Speed and ease of use has played into the surge of voice search queries. According to Search Engine Watch, this notion goes beyond the U.S. noting that "typing Chinese on a small keyboard is even more difficult than typing English", leading to the "rapidly growing" usage of voice search across China. And this isn't just happening on smartphones. Some of the most common voice searches occur on smart assistants likes Amazon's Alexa and in cars. As these smart assistants become more advanced and functional, more and more people will be attracted to using voice search.
With the undeniable influx of voice searches across multiple platforms, it is imperative that a brand defines their structured data by using detailed schema markup, a vocabulary that can be understood by all search engines. In an 'open coffee shops near me' voice search on Apple's Siri, location pages with defined, accurate and specific information, will rise to the top of search output. Thus, if basic NAP data is correctly and accurately listed for a business, it will ensure the rise to the top. Alongside up-to-date NAP data, if a restaurant has well-structured schema tags including latitude and longitude, hours of operation, and price ranges, searches are more likely to pull that restaurant in top searches. Searchmetrics reported in 2014 that "pages which used Schema ranked on average 4 places higher in search than pages which didn't" and that "results which used Schema are widely agreed to result in higher click-through rate, as they include more useful, relevant and attractive information like pictures, reviews, opening hours, pricing information and more." As users become able to ask increasingly specific voice searches to their voice assistants, especially searches on mobile devices, structural markup of their information will continue to be crucial.
The efficiency and accuracy of voice searches have allowed it to be the fastest growing type of search. Voice search is changing the industry because some of the most commonly used phrases include location. As for voice searches or commands, context based location, app-based context, and context about you is becoming more accurate than ever. If you were to ask Siri "How far is the mall from me?", "What's my office address?" or "Show me the menu," she would be more likely to give you accurate answers if businesses provided correct information directly into the database she consults.This speech programming is being perfected and soon a consumer will be able to have a full voice-activated interaction with any of their IoT devices.
Today, artificial intelligence makes it more critical than ever for businesses to ensure that their digital knowledge is consistent and structured to perform well in organic search. To succeed in today's mobile world, the best way for businesses to adapt to the growing use of voice search is to have accurate, detailed, and updated data — everywhere. It's imperative that you optimize every fact about your business for intelligent search.
In our latest eBook, How Voice Search Changes Everything, Yext VP of Industry Insights, Duane Forrester, breaks down the world of voice search. Download it now for even more insight into how it impacts your business and what you can do to reach more consumers through this technology.