Voice assistants and the voice search conundrum
Voice assistants are increasingly more popular. As companies such as Google and Amazon develop their own voice-powered devices, the popularity of voice assistants increases.
This increase in popularity means that more and more searches will be performed by voice. This represents an opportunity for companies to jump on that voice search wagon and secure their place in these new search results.
Voice search functions differently than traditional search so it requires an adjustment of a brand’s SEO and content strategies, otherwise, it will lose the visibility it holds for traditional search queries.
Here’s how voice search differs from traditional search:
Length of query:
When performing a traditional search, the user tends to keep it simple and concise, not realizing sometimes that the more specific their search query is the more accurate and useful the results will be. When performing a voice search, the user tends to be more specific, as if it were a normal conversation. Therefore, the query will be longer and more complete.
As an example, if the user is interested in looking for hotels in Spain, traditionally he/she would search for something like “cheapest hotels Spain”. However, in a voice search the user is more likely to ask “what are the cheapest hotels in Spain?”
Questions vs Affirmations:
This solidifies the example given above. When searching traditionally, the user will most likely use an affirmation such as “cheapest hotels Spain”, whereas when performing a voice search, the user is more likely to ask a question for which he/she wants the answer to, such as “what are the cheapest hotels in Spain?”
For brands that already have strong online visibility for their chosen audience and keywords, this represents both a threat and an opportunity. An opportunity to optimize their content for the new queries and maintain their position on the top positions of the SERPs and a threat because if they don’t tackle this issue, they risk losing that visibility to competitors who are quicker on their feet.
But voice goes beyond search and marketing and voice assistants will be used not only for searching and online purchasing but for everyday tasks ranging from adding items to a grocery list to heating up your food in the microwave and controlling your smart home.
There are some concerns with these devices though, mostly related to data privacy, which seems to be putting the brakes a bit on the adoption of voice assistants. If you recall a situation with Amazon’s Alexa last year, the device listened in and recorded a private conversation between two people in their home, and later sent those recordings to someone in their contact list. This and other similar situations, understandably, raise privacy concerns with users.
However, despite these concerns, voice-commanded devices are the future.
With artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things propelling the use of voice and increasing the connectivity of devices, consumers will soon be able to command the majority of their electronics and home appliances by voice. In the future, everything will be connected and everything will be intelligent.
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