The Rise of Voice Search and How It Affects Website Design
As new algorithms, software, and AI continue to develop, web design and digital marketing will need to adjust to these changes.
20% of searches through mobile devices are done through voice search¹, with this thought to rapidly increase over the next few years. This trend is revolutionising people’s search patterns, so businesses need to keep up with this and think about how they fit in with UX and SEO.
What is Voice Search?
Voice recognition is getting more and more accurate, meaning people are turning to voice search for things in surprisingly large numbers.
Voice search allows users to use their voice to command a device to search the internet - instead of manually typing in a query, users state them to a voice-activated device, allowing for greater accessibility.
Since voice search was introduced by Google in 2011, it has grown immensely. There are also voice specific devices - such as Amazon Alexa - which can be awoken by using trigger words, such as Hey Alexa’. The device will then be fully reactive and listen to what you’re asking for. However, almost 60% of voice searches are still performed on a mobile device. This is helped by the fact that personal assistants, such as Siri, are now included in all smartphones as default.
The Rise of Voice Search
When voice search is involved, people subconsciously change their behaviour and give more information or words, being more specific to help them find the best result. This is one of the main differences between voice search and traditional type search. For example, when you type you usually only input a few key search terms - but with voice you may add words to make a fully formed sentence, ‘can you tell me the..’.
Voice search is revolutionary as it helps to unveil the user's intent upfront, compared to traditional search that sometimes struggles to understand the motive of the search. It is also a pioneering piece of digital development - as it allows people who are not capable of using a computer to communicate with others faster, and also helps us to communicate with others when there is a language barrier. Not only this, but it helps people to search, shop and buy quicker.
We as humans can also speak 150 words per minute, compared to a much smaller 40 words per minute typing. People are getting increasingly more lazy when it comes to typing searches - and voice search is a result of this. In fact, 32% of people use voice-activated search daily instead of typing.
Voice search presents a new and exciting opportunity to connect with your customers better - and also to rise above your competitors. To stay prominent in search engines for voice search, you need to adapt your website content accordingly.
Changing Your Website for Voice Search
It goes without saying that your website should already be mobile friendly, but especially so for voice search. Voice searches are more likely to be conducted on mobile devices than desktop and tablet devices.
Voice Search & Local Queries
Research shows that voice search users are increasingly searching for local results, with 58% of consumers finding local businesses using voice search. An example of these searches are ‘What is the best web agency in Longbridge?’. Your website needs to focus on ranking high within your local area, to allow for a better digital experience.
Target Long-Tail Keywords
As we discussed earlier, voice searches often include longer search terms - in fact, half of all searches are now long-tail searches, meaning that your content should be optimised for this.
Using in-depth keyword research, you can determine the phrases that people are saying when searching for products or services that are related to your business. Keyword research should be conducted regularly to keep your content current and build competitiveness.
An increase in these keywords brings new opportunities to tailor your website content to phrases that you may find to be lower in competition, making it easier for you to rank for them.
Writing articles based on the questions that your potential customers are asking is a great way to increase your website traffic, helping to attract leads at an early stage in the marketing funnel. These keywords are also great for determining ideas for new content.
‘Position zero’ is the new ‘page one’ for voice search. Getting in this position can greatly improve your chances of being seen and users clicking through. What’s more, rich snippets can keep queries in a context that is better understood by search engines. To do this, follow a few simple steps:
- Identify a common, relevant question that users are searching for
- Match the question with a clear, marked up heading
- Follow this with a direct, valuable and concise answer
This makes it easy for website visitors and Google to find the correct answers to their questions.
Remove Intrusive Interstitial Ads
Remove any ads or promotional messages that are intrusive for better user experience. Google recently warned that it was releasing an algorithm to crack down on interstitial ads on mobile pages - so any ads that go against this could harm your search engine ranking. It’s important to also think about the frequency and intent of any popup messages on your website - if they risk compromising usability then consider moving this pop-up content into the main site content instead.
Businesses need to take note and understand that it is important to get their results found on voice search engines.
What’s more, optimising your website for voice search also improves your overall SEO. This increases your ranking - which paired with higher exposure and increased traffic levels - allows you to also get higher conversions and revenue from your website.
If your website needs to be optimised for mobile and voice search - contact our team to see how we can help your business create a successful website with search and voice friendly content.