Voice Search – an introduction
Ok, so you might have seen the funky adverts and heard the wired robotic type voices coming out of various devices, but what exactly is voice search?
Voice search allows you to ‘use’ a search engine by simply speaking on a mobile phone or via a computer, allowing the device to search for data for you upon entering the information via speech. To some, this might sound very far-fetched, but given the likes of Google (obviously), Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung have all invested heavily and developed substantial offerings within this industry, we are heading very quickly towards this becoming part of everyday life, whether we like it or not!
This is all well and good and as we know from today’s developments, not everything that the ‘Big 5’ produce, actually catches on. But when you look at the figures around who is actually using Voice search, things certainly get interesting. A recent mobile voice study shows:
- 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day
- Over 70% of 18-29 year olds use mobile personal assistants
- 36% of adults use voice search whilst watching TV
- The most intriguing figure is that 15% of adults use voice search whilst in the bathroom….Mmmm ok then!
So why are people starting to use voice search more and more, even though touch type search is what we have known for years? Speed is most probably one of the biggest factors. If you take into account that the average human can type approx. 40 words per minute compared to being able to speak 150 words per minute this makes complete sense. Ease of use is another key factor, as well as being very convenient and at the same time, hands-free. However, as marketers and as an agency that offers SEO services, we think the biggest and perhaps the most interesting thing about voice search revolves around it becoming more personal and context-driven. Voice search has the ability to understand and learn based on prior interactions, questions and locations.
If we go back to a quote from computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur, Sergey Brin, we start to understand the dynamics behind how Google approaches Search and in particular voice search.
“My vision when we started Google 15 years ago was that eventually, you wouldn’t have to have a search query at all. You’d just have information come to you as you needed it”.
Also, a very interesting stat that was recently shared by a program manager within the speech team at Google also shows how quickly they are heading towards ‘Typing less and talking more’. They now have 30 new languages and locales within voice, with a recent update extending support to 119 language varieties!
If you are interested in voice search and how your website could start to capitalise on the volume being generated through this method, we have put some pointers together for you to get started:
- Content style should be conversational in tone and reflect natural language
- Structure content to answer common user questions
- Use location-focused queries which are very important in voice search – ‘Near me’, ‘Nearest’, ‘Nearby’
- Implement structured data and Schema Mark Up (a set of parameters that is put into our website’s code to tell a search engine what to do) to provide search engines with additional information about the content
Schema.Org Speakable Mark Up Link – http://pending.schema.org/speakable