The Voice Search Revolution

Estimated Reading Time 5 minutes

How will voice search affect PPC & SEO?

In 2018 there has become a huge growing tendency for users to rely on vocal commands and personal digital assistants to handle their search questions and reminders. Already, 62% of Brits are using or happy to use voice-operated devices, according to Mintel, to listen to music, search, check the news and shop.

So, what is voice search?

There are a number of different voice recognition systems in progress at the moment, many have become household names for example Siri, Google Assistant, Google Now, Alexa and Cortana. According to TechTarget ‘voice search is a speech recognition technology that allows users to search by saying terms aloud rather than typing them into a search field.’

Why is demand suddenly growing?

According to Forbes, there are a few strong motivating factors here, including the increased sophistication of voice-recognition systems—Microsoft’s voice recognition software now has an error rate of 5.1%, equaling those of its human counterparts. Digital assistants make the process of voice searching easier, inviting more people to the system. As more people start using voice search and it becomes more “normal”,  the percentage of the population using voice search climbs dramatically. Predictions by ComScore estimate that more than 50 percent of searches will be voice-based by 2020.

We are right in the middle of a voice revolution, but could this voice revolution go hand in hand with something else?  

Smart speakers

In 2017 alone, the sales of smart speakers has more than tripled, all down to the rise of both Google home and Amazon. However, smart speakers are almost only reliant on voice commands to operate, people are wanting to have the questions answered as soon as humanly possible, reading takes time, so why not have it read to you?

How will voice recognition affect SEO and PPC?

Assuming voice recognition is only going to grow, and become more successful in the future, how could it get better, and would this have an impact on PPC, SEO, and any other advertising techniques? The ways that voice recognition could improve could be the obvious, more advanced speaking and listening technology, with the ability to understand complex theories. According to Forbes the traditional approach to targeting keywords for analysis and optimisation will need to change, favoring longer keyword queries and targeting overall topics, rather than specific terms.

Regarding SEO and PPC, the competition and pressure for the top position is going to become extremely important to make sure your post is the best quality it can be. When iphones and androids are asked a verbal question the system will reply by reading out the top search, and then wait for your next command.  The whole process of voice based searches are going to become shorter and shorter, meaning there will become fewer opportunities to make an impressions to webusers.

It is exciting but at the same time scary to think that voice searches will become 50% of all searches made by 2020!

Summary

In summary, voice recognition is a fabulous phenomenon with extreme amounts of potential, however SEO and PPC will need to evolve with it, and how this will happen will make for another interesting blog post.

Verity Smith
Verity graduated from Brighton University and is working within content creation and social media at Digital Clarity. With time spent at agency DWA and technology group Limelight, Verity brings a creative approach to projects, blended with a commercial aspect that is underpinned, with her ability to analyse campaign data. Verity is a keen horse rider and fashionista.
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