Is voice search poised to take over the conventional text search in the near future? The answer is definitely yes. Judging by the undeniably fast-paced growth of voice devices and technology, voice search will definitely have a great impact on SEO and search marketing. Search engine users are already turning to voice search as their preferred search mode, and for a good reason. Voice search is convenient, faster than text search, and gives you the ability to do any search, for instance, find the nearest restaurant, on the go.

Voice search is already incorporated in most mobile devices and easily accessible. With more improvement in voice technologies and services such as Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, voice devices will eventually reign supreme in the world of search and SEO. Voice devices are going to change almost everything in the search marketing industry.

How Popular is Voice Search Today?

Google HomeThe popularity of voice search has not been exactly phenomenal but judging by its progression since the launch of technologies such as Siri and Google Assistant on smartphones and tablets, you’ll admit that it has finally taken off.

Voice search has been around for over a decade now. Although a majority of us are still used to typing out our search queries, statistics show that many more are finally warming up to the easy and convenient voice technology. The rise of voice search can solely be attributed to the rapid growth of smartphone technology and usage. According to Search Engine Land, 60% of search queries are done on mobile devices and 20% of these searches are actually voice searches.

Voice search enabled devices are also growing at a fast pace. A recent study by VoiceLabs reported that more than 24 million Amazon Echo and Google Home devices were sold in 2017 alone. ComScore states that by the year 2020, at least 50 percent of all search engine queries will be done via voice devices. Voice platforms such as Amazon Echo, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana will soon become an essential part of digital life.

Given that 2020 is less than two years from now, it is high time brands and digital marketers started realising the huge impact voice devices will soon have on SEO, branding, and especially content marketing. Voice search will soon become the preferred option so start preparing for a world where all searches are done without search boxes and browsers.

Impact of Voice Devices on Search Behavior

Thanks to the mobile web, voice devices are changing the way people perform their online searches. Let’s look at some of the ways voice devices will change search behavior among consumers judging by the trends we are already seeing today.

Greater Focus on Long-tail Keywords

As voice search becomes more popular, short tail keywords will become less relevant. Why? When people manually type their queries into search engine boxes, they naturally use the least number of words possible. However, the convenience and ease of using voice search allow the user to search using as many words as is necessary in a conversational way. For example, a person searching for a restaurant in Melbourne will simply type “Best restaurant Melbourne” but on voice search the user will ask,

“Which is the best restaurant on Swanston Street Melbourne?”

The increasing use of long-tail keywords will have a major impact on the type of keyword marketers and webmasters will be using in their SEO campaigns. Long-tail keywords will become the norm. It will also be important to figure out the context of the search query and the intent of the user. SEO in the near future will focus on finding the right long-tail keywords to capture voice searches.

Faster Page Loads

People using voice devices for online searches will expect to get the right answers instantly. The ease of voice search will make people even more impatient. They’ll want to get the information they are looking for in a timely manner. We already know how impatient people are today when they type out their search queries manually. Kissmetrics says that close to 47% of internet users usually hit the back button or close the page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds or less. And that’s just on typed out queries. The voice-search user of the future will expect even faster page loads.

Voice Tech Will Bring More Search Players on Board

Voice tech is going to change a lot more in the way marketers do their SEO. At present, we focus on optimising for Google more than any other search engine. However, with the growing popularity of the voice-activated “Personal Assistant”, more players will soon enter and dominate the search marketing industry. Tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, besides Google, are already building their gateways on voice-enabled web platforms. Most of them already have a strong foothold on the mobile platform.

As more players enter and dominate the search industry, it will be imperative to optimise for more than just Google. SEO professionals will focus on making websites visible to other platforms besides Google, such as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon. For example, while Google gives high priority to its local results, Amazon draws its local listings from Yelp so with increased use of voice searches on Amazon and other platforms, it will be necessary to ensure that your website is optimised for multiple sources on the web. It will also be interesting to see how Google, after decades of dominance on manually typed search queries, will handle the competition brought about by voice devices.

Final Thoughts

It is an inescapable fact that voice devices will have a major impact on the future of search and SEO. Voice search will be the most used search channel. As voice searches take over the search industry, we’ll need to change the way we do our search marketing today. For example, long tail keywords will become the norm and even faster page loads mandatory.

It is therefore high time you started preparing to embrace voice search technology. Brands that focus on voice search today and tailor their SEO for voice devices will dominate search engines in the near future.