If you own a smartphone, you will most probably have uttered the words “OK Google” at least once today — and you are certainly no exception in doing so. On a global scale, around 60% of all smartphone users have used voice search at least once in the last 12 months.
Alone in the US, the main keyword indicative of voice searches, “OK Google”, has more than a million queries per month.
The keyword “OK Google OK Google”, serving as ironic proof of a Voice Assistant’s slow reactivity, is not doing much worse with its 40 500 searches per month.
Google Voice Search and the speech recognition technologies behind it have come a long way since starting out in 2010, when one had to call a specific number in order to trigger a voice search.
Today, its popularity is exploding amongst Google users, whereof 55% are teenagers.
This doesn’t imply that the Voice Search trend is reserved only for youngsters, on the contrary — just think of the advantages such functions bring to vision-impaired and elderly people in their daily lives.
To draw you a picture here: grocery shopping accounts for 20% of all voice-based searches.
When it comes to UX and UI, designers are also witnessing an unstoppable increase in the demand for Voice User Interfaces (VUI), which enable the service or product users to make voice-based commands and orders.
Moreover, voice-based shopping is expected to jump to $40 billion by 2022.
There is no denying it – our voices are taking over the web and controlling entire electronic eco-systems within our homes and/or pockets.
Voice driven searches and actions will, in its due time, but rather sooner than later, inevitably become the norm.
This will bring about far-reaching ramifications for both marketers and web designers.
OK Google, “So why exactly is this Voice Search trend growing so quickly?”
Since, technically speaking, voice search is still far from perfect— even though Natural Language Processing is paving a way for computers to get smarter at recognizing the intent behind voice searches and commands — the possibility of glitches in understanding the user’s articulation or foreign accent is still relatively high.
When it comes to identifying the intent behind the query, Google has found intricate ways to use its machine learning technologies in order to get it right.
That’s why many of us have already succumbed to the pragmatism of voice-based interaction with our electronic devices during the last decade.
Voice Search queries are, in short, more practical (i.e. hands-free), less time-consuming and therefore extremely user-friendly, resulting in longer, more natural queries, based on intentions that are clearly and fully articulated.
Voice Search also enhances user experiences by providing more direct and pertinent answers to queries and enables website owners to share the answers the users are looking for.
Unlike typed search queries, which are concise and stripped to the bare bones of expression, it also allow us to ask longer questions with more detail — all interrogative words, conjunctions and adverbs included:
“Café near me” vs. “Where is the nearest café within one kilometer from me?”
These changes in the ways we search the web are already reflecting in PPC marketing in terms of keyword segmentation and targeting.
Voice searches have also begun to shape how Google’s algorithms handle specific types of queries, while the marketing niche is trying to figure out a way to adapt to this new phenomenon.
We are all pioneering together in achieving a better understanding of what the future of Voice Search will bring.
Based on these changes in our digital behaviour, there are some considerations to be made when creating voice search campaigns in the short-term future.
Don’t worry, we’re here to provide you with answers.
OK Google, “What should we as PPC marketers be doing to improve our voice-based targeting?”
Well, you’re already on the right track. We should be asking questions.
That’s right, you read well!
The solution to this new targeting method are interrogative long-tail keywords. These include queries starting with:
Which, who, what, when, where, why, how
Can, could, should, would
Do, does, have
Is, are, was, will
You can also feel free to include keywords starting with “Hey Google”, “Ok Google” or “Hey Siri/Alexa” if they are likely to be searched by voice.
This whole emerging span of keywords needs to be included and catered for, lest we lose out on a growing number of potential clients.
Accordingly, our content should be rich in concise answers in order to get pulled by Google as an answer to a user’s voice query.
Try to optimize your content for featured snippets, as these are often used as answers to voice searches.
Lastly, but not least importantly, work on your Google My Business profile.
Fill it out properly, get all your locations verified and engage your audience with promotions and content.
You want your Business to come up in voice searches too, don’t you?
Hey Google, “What else should I take note of?”
Don’t skip on adding structured data to your website. This will help search engines identify your content more easily and they will reward you with visibility.
Take a mobile-first approach and groom your mobile website version by optimizing its loading speed, user friendliness and UX.
Relevant Voice Searches will only trigger your content if your website is prepared for the user’s expectations of instant gratification.
This implies a seamless customer journey, natural language and prompt, clear answers to all their possible FAQs.
After all, isn’t this what you’d be aiming for if you OK Googled today?