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According to Nielsen, nearly a quarter of American households now own a smart speaker, with most popular models including the Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The growing adoption of voice search technology has been one of the largest technological innovations of recent years, forcing marketers to think differently about how best to approach website optimization.

Growth of Voice Search

Speech recognition software has become increasingly precise, allowing for more users than ever to rely on voice search. Because many smartphones and computers come preinstalled with digital voice assistants such as Siri, Cortana, and Bixby, even users who do not own smart-home devices contribute to the rise in voice search. Last year, over 20 percent of all mobile searches performed were voice searches. Predictions say that by the end of 2020 anywhere from 30 percent to half of all searches will be made using voice.

Effects on Businesses

The rise in voice search is causing a surge in screenless browsing, meaning fewer users are actually viewing search results pages. The AI selects what it believes to be the most accurate result and transmits the answer to the user. Amazon’s technology is even going as far as giving users the ability to make Amazon purchases using only their voice.

Voice search prioritizes the use of Google’s featured snippets, which appear before organic results on a search results page. The featured snippet for a given search term is generally the one transmitted back to the searcher. If you’d like to learn more about featured snippets, check out our article on zero click searches. The growth in popularity of voice searching has been sudden and dramatic, and has heavily impacted the way we think about and implement SEO. Marketers must consider methods of rebuilding websites to accommodate for these behavioral changes.

Over 20 percent of voice search queries concern some locally-based factor, meaning local businesses, more than anyone, must be attentive to this technological surge. Next week, the DSG blog will delve into more detail on the topic of local voice searches. Stay tuned for more inside information!



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