The Rise of Voice Search: A How-To Guide

By Emilia Totzeva

Me, to Siri, earlier today – “Siri, what is the meaning of life?”

Siri – “I Kant answer that. Ha ha!”

(Please note that I changed the default Siri voice to be the voice of an Australian man, which makes the answer so much better.)

All joking aside, all of us have probably used Siri, Alexa, Cortana, or Google Now at some point, either for fun or for practical purposes. In fact, voice search has grown considerably over the past few years. According to Google, more than half of teens and 41% of adults use voice search daily. The most common ways to use voice search are to call someone, ask for directions, dictate texts, and get information (surprisingly, asking Siri dumb questions was NOT a common way to use voice search). People generally use it while multi-tasking – cooking, watching TV, and driving – to get information more efficiently. And more than half of all queries will be voice search by 2020, according to SearchEngineLand. So, this is not something marketers and SEOs can ignore.

There are four major players in the voice search market:

  • iOS, which uses the beloved Siri and utilizes Bing as its search engine
  • Androids, which use Google Now and utilize Google as its search engine
  • Amazon, which uses Alexa and utilizes Bing as its search engine
  • Microsoft, which uses Cortana and utilizes Bing as its search engine

So, what are the major differences between typed and voice search? We’ll lay them out for you.

  1. Voice search is more conversational.

We talk differently than we type. If you’re looking for Chinese food, you’d probably type “Chinese restaurants near me” or “Chinese takeout in Alexandria.” But if you were talking, you’d probably say “Where can I get Chinese food?”

Search engines are picking up on this trend and trying to have a conversation with you via voice search. Try this fun experiment (okay, so my idea of fun may be different than most people’s):

Go to Google and type in:

-Who is the prime minister of Great Britain?

Then do a new search. How old is she?

And then another. Where did she go to school?

Google gets confused. It does not realize that when you say “she,” you’re referring to Theresa May, your answer in question #1.

But if you try the same in voice search with Google, you will see that Google understands that your queries are related and provides you with the correct answers. If you repeat this example with Siri, she understands that the first two queries are related, but not the last one.

  1. Voice search tends to be longer.

On average, the query length for typed searches is 3.2 words. With voice search, the average query length is closer to 4.2 words.

  1. Voice search incorporates more question words and therefore shows more intent.

Since voice search is more conversational, voice search tends to incorporate more question words – “who,” “what,” “where,” Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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