As far back as in 2011, Google, Amazon, and Apple revealed voice-search capabilities in their devices. But voice search wasn’t as refined back then, these early versions of Alexa or Siri were merely used for entertainment purposes rather than functional. However, since 2013, voice search accuracy has grown around 20% due to Machine Learning. And in 2014, Andrew Ng, Machine Learning and AI Scientist, envisaged 2020 to be the year when 50% of searches will be carried out by voice.
Andre Ng in 2016 said, “As speech-recognition accuracy goes from 95% to 99%, we’ll go from barely using it to using all the time!” Google made a breakthrough in speech recognition when its speech-recognition accuracy levels rose to 95% for English, which is equivalent to that of humans. And Google’s RankBrain, powered by machine learning, tries to understand the intent behind the user’s query by mathematically calculating results via previous patterns and searches. Hence, working towards perfecting the outcome’s accuracy. But Google has a rival in voice search: China’s iFlytek’s speech recognition program has an accuracy level of 98%, with its team set to achieve 99% accuracy in three years’ time.
Since these improvements in technology and high-speed internet, the use of the keyboard is slowly and gradually petering out, companies are integrating voice search into their technologies, consumers are using virtual assistants and smart devices with voice commands, and performing web searches via voice.
How Voice Search is Creating Opportunities?
Google, Apple, and Amazon are creating an ecosystem of products managed by voice. In 2018, 34 million devices were sold in the market, and the year 2019 sales are approximated to be 36 million. In fact, Google’s voice search is available in around 100 different languages. Other companies are running to keep up with this technology i.e. Domino’s pizza utilizes voice search to help their customers order without picking up their phones. Nestle and Campbell’s Kitchen let their consumers cook while giving voice instructions. Whirlpool collaborated with Google and Amazon to create appliances that are controlled remotely by voice.
As per Bondcap’s Internet trends Report, 20% of mobile searches were performed using voice. According to Gartner, 30% of browsing sessions will have a voice search by 2020. And these trends will continue to grow exponentially. Voice search, backed by AI, is enabling the user to perform web browsing without scrolling through websites on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Imagine the level of convenience consumers have in the command of their voice. And they expect the same level of convenience provided by every brand, their website, their tech. So, it’s imperative that brands align themselves with a voice search strategy or risk being left behind their competitors.
How to Optimize For Voice Search?
1. Use Conversational Language
Bondcap’s Report revealed that nearly 70% of voice queries are performed in a conversational/natural language. As compared to typed queries that are 3 to 4 words long, voice queries are often longer than 10 words. While optimizing for voice search, it makes sense that long-tail keywords are adopted and content be written from a more conversational perspective, facilitating the voice search algorithm to recommend that content.
2. Optimize for Local Searches
Think, with Google revealed that in the past couple of years, there have been more than 150% surge in localized searches i.e. restaurants near me now, movies near me now, etc. And 58% of those searches were performed using voice search. So it’s important for optimizers to use local keywords and have a Google My Business page with up-to-date information. It also will serve the business’s ranking well, if modifiers like ‘top’ or ‘best’ are included in the keyword.
3. Unlock the potential of Schema Markup
Schema Markup and rich snippets give the content a better context in search queries, tells the user what’s on the website or page before they click on it, and are much accurately understood by the algorithm. Approximately 36% of voice-based results come from sites using schema markup, even so only 0.3% of websites use schema markup. Using this technique will get greater traffic and better ranking for the website than its competitors.
4. Always Optimize for Mobile
Even before voice search, there was an emphasis on mobile optimized and accelerated webpages. Google voice search algorithm considers mobile page load time in its search rankings. An average voice search result loads twice faster than a traditional webpage. If the site isn’t optimized for mobile, users tend to leave the site immediately.
If you haven’t begun to optimize for voice, it’s high time that you do. Voice search trend is ever-evolving. Just look at how far we’ve come since 2011, from a rudimentary voice assistant to a voice assistant that executes our daily tasks. Voice search is here to stay and will encompass everything we do. So better learn to evolve along this technology.