Here’s the thing. People (your customers) are using voice search more and more every day. If your site is not ready for this type of search query, you may be missing out on some potential clients. I will be including several statistics in this post, so if you wish to dig deeper into the data, most of these stats come from here and here.

What is Voice Search?

Simply put voice search is like traditional search engine queries, except the searcher talks to a voice enabled device to search instead of typing the search terms into their browser or app. There are lots of voice search capable devices these days. Most Android or iPhone devices use either Google’s voice search or Siri, but it doesn’t stop there.

Today, we have Google Home,  Amazon’s Echo line and Microsoft’s Cortana. People are adopting these devices at a high rate. In fact, the Amazon Echo Dot was the highest selling product of any product on Amazon.com this past Christmas season. According to Amazon, they sold “millions” of them.

As these product become more prevalent, people are using them more to search for information that they want to know and for products they wish to purchase.

Is Voice Search Different Than Traditional Search?

Yes and no. While a voice search and a standard search that is typed in will provide you with basically the same results, voice searches are usually different in their approach. For instance, a user might type in a search that looks something like “Custom Closet Designer”, but a voice search might be used in a different manner. A voice user might ask a question or use a different phrase such as, “Find a Custom Closet Designer Near Me.”

The difference in the methods will produce slightly different results depending on the location of the user and how the location information of the intended website is used on the website.

How Common Is Voice Search?

There has been a seven-fold increase in voice search since 2010 with the largest increase in the the last 6 months to a year. Forty-one percent of voice search users say they started using voice search in the last six months. Here are a few more stats to consider:

  • Nearly 50% of people are now using voice search when researching products.
  • 43% cite that using voice search is quicker than using a website or an app.
  • 21% don’t like typing on their mobile phone and so turn to voice search.
  • 40% of adults now use voice search once per day.
  • 42 percent say voice-activated devices have quickly become “essential” to their lives.
  • Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text.

What Do People Search For?

Currently, a large portion of voice searches are done to research products or companies, get directions, ask how to do something and just find out general information. This will undoubtedly change as the use of these digital assistants grows. The question we need to consider, is are our websites ready for this type of search.

Why Does My Site Need To Be Optimized for Voice Search?

The more prepared your website is for voice search, the better it will be for your bottom line. Just as we had to adapt our site designs to function better on mobile devices when they grew in market share, we now need to be ready for this new type of search trend.

Google started using mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor for websites when they became a great portion of the web search market. There is no reason to believe that voice search won’t become just as much of a factor. In some ways, it already has.

What Do I Need to Do to Make My Site Voice Ready?

There are several steps you can take to make your site work better for voice search. Plus, these items will also help your site in overall SEO. Here are a few ideas.

  • Make sure all of your company information is up to date on your site and in your Google My Business page. Users often ask for your address or do a “Near Me” search. Another question voice searchers will use revolves around your hours of operation, as in “What time does Joe’s Shoe Store close.”
  • Optimize some of your content to answer questions that customers might have about your product. You probably get asked certain questions regarding your product or service on a frequent basis. Create some content to answer these questions. If you are doing this and your competitors are not, you may very well show up in a search engine results page (SERP) above their content.
  • Use Schema Markup on your pages to provide extra details about your content. This one takes a little bit more effort, but is well worth it. Using Schema Markup will help you not only with voice search, but in traditional search, as well.
  • Try new things. I know this one may leave you scratching your head, but we are really just beginning to see the potential for optimizing for voice search. Keep an open mind and try to think of ways that voice search might work for you when creating new content.
  • When in doubt, ask your current customers. Customers can be a great source of information on what you are and are not doing right with your website. After all, we are oftentimes too close to the situation to see problems clearly.

I’m not exactly sure where the path of voice search is leading, but you can be assured it is only going to grow for the foreseeable future. Having your website optimized for this trend can only increase your visibility. Take some time and evaluate your site to see if you are ready. If we can help, feel free to contact us.