B2B Articles - September 08, 2016

How Will Voice Search Impact SEO?

Some 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day, according to Google. Yet what does this search process transformation mean for marketers? How will voice search impact SEO?

Voice Search Trends

Just three years ago, 85% of iOS users didn’t use Siri. Yet a MindMeld 2015 research study found 41.6% of 1,800 adult smartphone users in the U.S. had begun using voice assistant and voice search tools in the past six months.

Voice search and it's impact on SEO

Mindmeld’s study found respondents were loyal to Siri (40.4%), OK Google (25.9%), Microsoft’s Cortana (6.1%), or Amazon Echo/Alexa (2.1%). Only 36.7% hadn’t yet tried voice assistants.

Nevertheless, increased adoption of smartphones, voice assistants, and voice search tools, coupled with enhanced user experience, are likely to drive a seismic shift in how marketers manage search engine optimization (SEO).

Search has been incorporating semantic context for a few years now. For instance, Google no longer looks exclusively at the query keywords. Instead, it can now take into consideration the implicit aspect of the query using data points provided by the device itself. Someone might type in Manhattan bookstores, but Google could better customize the search results by taking into consideration the person’s location and device use (e.g. iPhone user, on 42nd street).

With voice assistants, the implicit context becomes even more important as users will want a more specific answer than a list of websites. To this end, voice assistants address three types of queries: Transactional, Informational, and Navigational.

Voice search query types

Voice Search Impact

In addressing SEO, the marketer has already been tasked with trying to think how their prospects might phrase their query. Content marketers, for instance, try to shape blog titles around the question a buyer might use in trying to learn more about addressing their pain points. Now, though, with voice search, it becomes even more important to adopt a human “conversational” tone in marketing content.

By 2020, voice- and image-based searches are going to make up at least 50% of searchers. The voice search queries will be more personal, descriptive, and specific. Marketers will need to provide content, creative, and ads that are more responsive to the increasingly dynamic demands of users. Tom Anthony suggests, for instance, “IPAs are the new interface to your service — build an app to leverage this.”

Questions will take precedence. In fact, Google has seen a 61% year-over-year increase in question phrases. The move to natural language search will encourage compound queries and query revisions too. For marketers, this could be a good thing as the question query can make it easier to predict searcher intent and help us tailor content accordingly.

In this voice-search-driven world, web search will no longer solely dominate. Page rankings will no longer be a primary goal. Instead, the marketer will need to find increasingly adaptable and responsive ways to meet customer needs, utilizing various and evolving access points.

Anthony, T. (2016, March 23). Intelligent Personal Assistants, Search & SEO: SlideShare. https://www.slideshare.net/TomAnthony/intelligent-personal-assistants-search-seo
Anthony, T. (2013, August 26). From Keywords to Contexts: the New Query Model. https://moz.com/blog/from-keywords-to-contexts-the-new-query-model
Bhuiyan, J. (2016, June 1). Mary Meeker: Voice and image searches are going to make up at least half of all searches by 2020. https://www.recode.net/2016/6/1/11829844/mary-meeker-voice-image-searches-2020
Patel, N. (2016, August 9). Type No More: How Voice Search is Going to Impact the SEO Landscape. https://neilpatel.com/2016/08/09/type-no-more-how-voice-search-is-going-to-impact-the-seo-landscape/
Sterling, G. (2015, December 10). MindMeld Launches Voice Assistant 2.0, Says Voice Search Growing Dramatically. https://searchengineland.com/mindmeld-launches-voice-assistant-2-0-says-voice-search-growing-dramatically-238130

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