What happened to voice search?

Have you ever decided to order a hot cheesy pizza in the middle of the wash?

If so, would you rather:

  • Stop what you’re doing, dry your hands, pick up your phone and say “dominoes delivery?”
  • Lean over your shoulder and say “Dominos Delivery” to your Google Home device?

Of course, # 2 is easier, faster, and more convenient.

Enter, voice search.

For years it has been predicted to be the next big thing to look for.

A 2016 article speculated that by the end of 2020, 50% of all searches would be voice searches.

So is it true?

Is voice search finally here?

Is it the biggest today?

Why doesn’t it really seem to have conquered the world?

And if so, will it ever come completely within itself?

Let’s dig into the data.

3 amazing voice search statistics and predictions

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been following every new development in voice search for a few years now.

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Here are a number of stats and predictions to keep your head turning.

By 2023, 8 billion voice assistants will be in use

4.2 billion voice assistants will be in use in 2020.

According to experts at Juniper Research, that number will double in just three years.

This means that there is a voice assistant for every single person in the world! (The world population is projected to reach 8 billion by 2023.)

The smart speaker market is expected to be worth $ 39.3 billion in 2025

Grand Review Research, Inc. says that the reason for this growth will be the integration of voice assistants into smart home devices.

Yup! You can come home on a rainy night and tell your Google Home device to turn on the lights, lock the doors, and play relaxing music. While your fingers are dripping wet and freezing.

41% of people who own a smart speaker say it feels like talking to a friend

Do you ever ask Siri, “What is the point in life?”

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I know you did 😀

That is, you know that she replied, “I find it strange that you would ask this of an inanimate object.”

*Giggle*

But you understand what it is about.

Many of us speak into our smart speakers and imagine another person on the other end answering our questions.

It can even feel like talking to a friend.

What happened to voice search?

With these breathtaking predictions and statistics, you’d think voice search has finally arrived.

But did it?

As a business owner, should you invest all of your time, energy, and money in optimizing voice search?

Should you make your own voice apps?

Probably not.

3 reasons not to rely 100% on voice search optimization

If you’re not devoting all of your resources to optimizing voice search, Ad News says there are three reasons you might be right.

Not many people shop through voice assistants

Imagine.

You are driving through immobile traffic and suddenly decide to buy a pair of running shoes.

Fortunately, your smart speaker is next to you.

“Buy running shoes online,” they say.

In seconds, your speaker will find a great pair of running shoes for you.

You buy it while you are maneuvering through the traffic jam.

It will arrive at your doorstep in a few days and you will be super happy about it.

True story?

Probably not.

According to eMarketer, smart speaker shopping isn’t starting as expected.

What happened to voice search?

The reasons?

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  • People are unsure of safety when shopping through smart speakers.
  • Customers want to see the item they are buying before making the purchase (Google and Apple addressed this problem by introducing smart speakers with their own screens. However, many users already own older screenless speakers and don’t feel like they do they need an upgrade).
  • People are asking smart speakers to add items to their shopping cart but won’t actually make an actual purchase until they can do it manually.

The voice search offers you no variety

What’s the best thing about shopping?

The variety, of course.

You can try, compare, and argue for or against different brands until your throat is dry.

But there’s not much to compare to voice search.

Your smart speaker can only guess what brand you’re getting yourself into, but that doesn’t add much to your instinctive behavior in finding variety as a shopper.

Voice assistants are mainly used for simple commands

Do you have to get up at 6 a.m. tomorrow?

The Google Assistant can help you with that.

What happened to voice search?

The thing is, you’d rather use your voice assistant to wake up early or tell you what the weather will be like tomorrow, rather than looking for a new brand or buying something.

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And you are not alone.

In fact, people are 40 times more likely to use a voice assistant to perform a simple action (think “play music” or “turn on my kitchen light”) than a Google search.

What happened to voice search?

While billions of people own smart speakers today, they are unlikely to be using them to buy anything from you.

Why Optimization is for Voice Search Still a good idea

OK, so voice search optimization isn’t the magic formula that will increase your sales over the roof.

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If your neighbors buy smart speakers, it will likely help them turn the lights on and off without getting up from the couch.

But here’s the thing.

There are People out there doing voice searches.

And if you optimize for voice search, this could be another piece of the puzzle of your digital marketing strategy.

Not the whole puzzle, but a really helpful piece.

Here are two reasons why you should.

People use voice search to ask for directions

Do you own a pizzeria or a burger stand?

People are looking for you!

While they linger on the sidewalk, exhausted and hungry after a long day at work, they take their cell phone and say, “Pizza.”

Your voice assistant will respond with a list of pizzerias in your area.

And if you are one of them, you will get a new customer!

Sure, voice search didn’t result in a direct purchase.

But it brought a customer to your store where they made a purchase.

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Surprisingly, this happens more often than you think, as 40% of adults use their voice to ask for directions.

What happened to voice search?

Voice search leads people to discover your brand

Optimizing for voice search may not be like creating a landing page that generates direct revenue.

But it can help you grow your follower list and increase your leads.

For example, let’s say people say to their voice assistant, “How do I write a blog?” At.

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When you’re the rich snippet for that keyword, the wizard will pass your piece on to the searcher.

If they like it, they will follow you and you will grow your leads.

How to optimize voice search: 3 easy steps

Sure, voice search hasn’t really proven itself yet.

But that doesn’t mean it will never be like that.

In fact, it’s growing steadily every year, and who knows?

If people have more confidence in their voice assistants and become more used to voice search, they could be making purchases by voice in a few years.

The best thing you can do is prepare for the voice search explosion whenever it happens.

Here are three ways you can do this.

1. Register for Google My Business

By registering with Google My Business, Google can verify the authenticity of your business. This means that your name is more likely to show up when doing a voice search.

The good news?

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Google My Business is free and very easy to use.

What happened to voice search?

2. Optimize your site for mobile devices

You may not be doing voice searches on your desktop.

You will likely do it while you are driving or washing the dishes.

This means your customers are doing the same.

And you don’t want them to land on your website and feel unimpressed or worse, frustrated.

To make sure they love your website, optimize it for mobile devices.

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It’s as simple as:

  • Make sure your buttons aren’t too small to be comfortably seen on a mobile device.
  • For mobile-friendly plugins.
  • Optimize your site so that it loads in less than 3 seconds.

3. Check out the recommended snippets from Google

This is not an easy task, but it is the number one reason you will be considered in a voice search.

For example, if you ask your voice assistant, “Use emojis in title tags,” you get:

What happened to voice search?

Work briefly and directly on answering relevant question keywords for a greater chance of accessing the snippets presented by Google.

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Voice search: optimize or not optimize?

I know you’ve heard it many times.

The voice search is going to explode into the greatest thing ever.

You have probably heard predictions like this since 2016.

But nothing enormously has already happened.

People still use their keyboard to enter text.

So, you’re wondering if voice search optimization is a bad idea.

The answer: yes and no.

Yes, if you want to drop all other strategies and focus entirely on voice searches.

(Your conversions and earnings will likely go down too.)

No, if you want to use voice search optimization as a small but important piece of your digital marketing puzzle.

More resources:


Photo credit

All screenshots by the author, October 2020

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