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Voice recognition technology lets you perform searches by speaking to a device, like your smart phone or home speaker. Amazon alone says a staggering 100 million Alexa devices have been sold. Voice technology is on the rise and it is changing how we search. 

Voice search is a quick tool

Voice search is focused on ‘micro-moments’, where a user is looking to buy something, know something, or go somewhere. Many voice assistants have ‘trained’ users to expect an efficient output of information, based on a series of commands. Often voice search is used when a user requires a quick and definitive answer, as there is no ability to scroll through a search page of results. The most relevant and helpful information is presented in a short snippet. Usually, this is where a searcher’s journey ends.

Hey Siri, will I need an umbrella today?

Alexa, what’s the best place to eat near me?

OK, Google, add bread to my shopping list.

Location, location, location

75% of people search for a local business at least once a week, meaning that businesses need to focus on local SEO. Many searches will ask about business opening times, location or services. Or, they may ask about an industry – what nail salons are near me? Over a quarter of consumers go on to call the business they search for.

How you can optimise for local voice search:

- have an easily accessible phone number and address

- update your Google business listing

It is changing how we interact with technology

An estimated 30% of internet browsing sessions will not involve a screen by 2020, according to Gartner research. We are searching for information in new ways, and we are discovering it in new ways too. Commands such as ‘call mum’ and ‘set my alarm for 6am’ appear alongside ‘order an Uber for 8pm’ and ‘best restaurants near me’.

Voice search is conversational

Searches performed with voice are more likely to be in a conversational tone, rather than a simple statement typed into a search bar. Why does this matter? Marketers should reassess their keywords and how they optimise content. For example, long-tail keywords will matter more for voice searches. The most common keywords that start a voice search query are ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘best’.

Shopping with voice search

Over half of those who shop through voice search use it as a tool to research products, and 22% make a purchase directly. Voice search plays a role in all stages of a consumer journey. Voice assistants know a user’s preferences and shopping habits, allowing them to interact on a personal level.

Voice technology is continuing to evolve. As more people start to embrace assistants like Alexa and Siri, its capabilities will continue to grow, and so will how we analyse it.

By Megan McCaskill at 1 Jul 2019, 12:02 PM