Alexa, please play the song, ‘Starboy by Weeknd!’

If you are one of those people that have used an AI voice assistant to play a favorite song, you are not alone. By some estimates, over 100 million devices bought by homes in 2018. If you calculate the family size to be roughly four, then imagine the volume of searches through voice.

In this article, we will tell you about some of the most important points related to ‘Voice Search’. We will answer questions like-

Is the future of search engine marketing going to be the voice?

What is the target audience (age, gender, and market) of voice searches?

Which are the major companies that produce voice search assistants?

How can Voice Search help boost your SEO?

What are people searching for when they use Voice Search?

Google Home, Amazon Echo, and other Voice Assistants

Voice AssistantsLet’s start with a small game.

Can you tell us what the highest selling product on Amazon was in 2018s festive season (Christmas and New Year gifting)?

It was the Echo!

The Amazon Echo is not the only voice-based assistant flying off the charts. Google Home and Xiaomi’s Mini AI Speakers are also doing incredibly well.

The growth percentage hovers over 200% for such devices. It is evident that the future of search is going to be voice assisted.

This is a new trend and one that is here to stay for a very long time. Naysayers are discrediting data by saying that this is a fad, and is likely to go away in some time.

I think quite the opposite. The reason I think that voice is here to stay is because of the two main players in the industry- Google and Amazon.

Google and Amazon are the bosses of the search industry. There is no bigger player in the manufacturing industry than these two. It is no surprise that Echo and Alexa will help play positively in voice-based searches.

No matter how much we say that these giants will not tweak the search results specifically for search, we know what the reality is.

Rather than fighting voice search, what we can do as brands and marketers is to adopt the platform. This will help brands and digital marketers to benefit from voice-based searches.

How can Brands benefit from Voice Search?

Think of the number of times you have asked Alexa about the closest place for lunch, or the nearest movie theatre. Trust us you are not the only one.

‘Ordering Food’ ranks as the fourth highest search on Alexa in 2018. This translates to millions of searches worldwide.

As a brand, you need to ensure that your website and its offerings are compatible with voice search engine marketing.

The best part about this new development is the positive impact on local businesses. Voice search helps display locations and services closest to your location. If local businesses are able to make themselves compatible with voice search, they will start doing really well.

This is not only true for local restaurants, but also salons, grocery stores, hardware stores, and multiplexes. Think of all the local brands offering products and services around you.

Up until now, brands were using content marketing and SEO to rank higher on search results. However, with changes in technology, they should start adapting themselves. Evolution is the key in the digital industry for being successful.

Why is Voice Search more Attractive than Traditional Search?

Voice search offers a seamless experience if you compare it to traditional desk search. The flow of information is quicker, more effective and quite attractive. Not to mention the human quality of voice assistants.

Siri and Alexa lend a human touch to technology, and this has great psychological effects. Traditional searches are one-way. You type, and you receive the result. With Siri and Alexa, there is one more additional level. The human quality of voice-based searches helps you interact with someone.

Aristotle states, ‘Man is by nature a social animal’. No matter how individualized we get, we would never pass on an opportunity to interact with someone. In this case, it is not a real human, but Siri and Alexa, give us the virtues of human beings.

Voice search also helps you connect smart devices with your voice assistant. Televisions, refrigerators, air conditioning, are some devices that can truly convert your smart home experience.

More than anything, voice search is an advancement of technology. The aim of technology is to provide information as quickly as possible. Compare typing to speaking. You can command Alexa even while dusting your shoes, or preparing your meal. Can you type while doing the same?

Voice-based search is attractive to users as it provides a level of convenience. ‘Calling a Cab’ is something that millions of people do every day. Try comparing the time that you physically call a cab through your app, with when you ask Alexa to call one for you.

You would be amazed at what you can do in 30 seconds to one minute. Cumulate time over the day and you have saved yourself more than 30 minutes (all tasks). Human beings can use this time far more productively.

Who uses Voice Search?

History shows that newer technology has always had a younger audience. Majority of the voice searches are being done by people in the age group of 18-36. While the age group of 37-50 is slowly catching up.

The volume of searches is only going to increase. It is not only the volume but also the searches by the different age groups are also quite different.

Homemakers in the USA used voice assistants to search for recipes online. Middle-aged professionals used voice assistants to help them connect with tax attorneys.

This is an incredible amount of information, which can be helpful for brands. Younger populations are using voice searches for information on food, recreation, and products.

It is not only the west, which is becoming a hot destination for voice searches. In countries like India and China, where the young population is driving the economy, this presents great opportunities.

For Google and Amazon, India is one of its biggest markets. This holds true for other tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and Instagram. The young population is consuming technology and everything related to technology in a massive way.

With Amazon and Google actively pushing their manufacturing of Echo and Home in India, this is only going to rise. This means that brands and businesses in India and China are going to benefit if they are voice search optimized.

How to Optimize your SEO for Voice Search Engine Marketing?

Search Engine MarketingBrands repeatedly ask this one question us- how can our SEO be optimized for voice searches? Well, for starters, you do not have to do anything radically different. Traditional SEO is still king!

Having said that, yes there are a few tweaks here and there that can be helpful for your brand. A good idea is tailoring your content to include words like ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘where’, ‘best’, and ‘new’. Users who do voice searches are asking their voice assistants questions most of the time.

If you are a local business, it is necessary that you have a local listing of your business. All search engines- Google, Bing, Cortana, and others use local listings as a priority for search.

The second major element that is necessary for SEO are featured snippets. The more concise the information about your brand, the more often will it pop up on voice search.

You should remember to optimize these two major areas- local listings and featured snippets. If you have already done this, we predict you have started to see real traction through voice search.

Traditional methods of doing SEO remain as important as ever. We do not think that voice search will fundamentally alter how SEO works. There might be certain inputs that would come from Google, but that will be all.

Artificial Intelligence and Voice Search: The Technology of the Future:

Artificial Intelligence in technology is not a thing of the future anymore. It is very much present in today’s world. With voice search, artificial intelligence is aiming to go a step beyond.

Voice search gives AI a platform to understand the behavior of a user. This is more effective in speech than it is in the text. With a closer understanding of the human giving the command, AI helps tailor results that are that much more personalized.

This is a definite evolution in terms of AI technology. Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft will continue to push for more AI in their products and innovations. There is even talk of Facebook joining this voice search race with its own speakers in late 2019.

Like it or hate it, the world is becoming AI driven. Have you noticed how Gmail has started using predictions in writing emails? This invited a lot of praise from some, but severe criticisms from others.

Almost all the voice assistants are geographically aware of your location. They are connected to your smartphones and can help you prioritize search based on your trends. This is what good AI can do. It helps predict user behavior right down to the ‘T’.

The Problems of Voice Search:

Voice search is not perfect in the present world. If you compare it to text search, there are many problems. However, this is not to say that giants like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are not working to improve them.

#Alexafails is a frequently trending hashtag on Twitter. How voice assistants process the audio is something that needs improvement. This problem is magnified when local dialects are used to speak English. Voice assistants have many problems understanding the accent, tone, dialect, and speech of non-native English speakers.

Given the fact that India and China are going to the two biggest markets in the near future, this needs addressing immediately. There is also a problem of voice assistants needing rephrasing sentences.

Sometimes, the results are not accurate. You might be asking Alexa to play the Beatles in your local accent. Alexa might interpret the same as Skittles, and add it to your shopping cart.

If you compare the same with text searches, we already know that there has been a vast improvement. If you commit a spelling mistake, the text is automatically highlighted.

Google even offers you suggestions after interpreting your spelling mistakes. (You might feel a bit stupid, but you will be proud that Google read it and offered a correction).

However, our most problematic issue with voice assistants is this. You need to be patient for it to complete one search before you can start the next one. Two simultaneous queries easily done on text search will not happen on voice assistants.

If technology is about aiding the flow of information in a faster and more useful way then this problem stays ( at least as of now).

Voice Search Engine Marketing: The Final Word:

 Voice search is not a thing of the future it is already here. Nor is it a fad, which will go away in some time. It is imperative that brands and digital marketers embrace voice search wholeheartedly.

For me, the biggest beneficiaries of voice search will be local businesses. Small brands should effectively exploit the benefits of voice search. This will help them grow their revenues and attract newer customers.

Digital Marketing companies need to step up their SEO game to integrate voice search. If half the world is doing voice search by 2020, you need to have a separate strategy for that.

For consumers, voice search is a fantastic technological tool to aid to make every day simpler. You can use Alexa to play songs, schedule TV shows, book a cab, and 15,000 other skills. This list will keep on growing to the point you will not even consider voice search as a not existing couple of years back.

If you need any help with regard to understanding voice search and the impact, it will have on your business feel free to drop us a comment.

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Ejaz Ahmed

Part-time blogger, full-time dreamer! Ejaz Ahmed likes to think about how technology will ultimately transform human lives for the better. He is deeply fascinated with using technology to democratize the spread of useful information on the internet.

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