In the past several years, voice assistants and smart speakers have become popular products. As a result, marketers have studied consumer behavior on these products to find hundreds of statistics.
Online marketers and SEOs eat these studies up, often regurgitating them to clients and expecting them to be excited. But why care about online marketing percentages and numbers UNLESS you know why they matter to you and how they can be put into action for more traffic and more leads?
In today's post, we're going to list some data from reliable studies, but we'll also provide examples of how you and your web marketing team can use the information for actionable steps and meaningful results.
Table of Contents
- 58% of consumers have used smart speakers to find local business information in the last 12 months.
- 22% of all voice queries are for local content.
- Speech search queries are longer than text queries and often phrased as questions.
- 27% visit the business's website after making a voice search.
- The majority of voice searching occurs on smartphones and tablets.
- Voice searchers are most likely to look for restaurants, grocery stores, and food delivery.
- The majority of voice command device users employ it to book reservations or an appointment.
- Consumers use voice assistants to find local businesses’ phone numbers, addresses, directions, and opening hours.
- 46% of voice searchers are looking for prices of products or services.
- Voice search results are often short, grammatically correct, and conversational.
1. 58% of consumers have used smart speakers to find local business information in the last 12 months (Source).
Voice-activated search began in 2010, with the launch of Siri in the app store. Since then, Google launched its AI Assistant available on more than 400 million devices. Likewise, Amazon’s Echo became their most popular product over the 2017 holiday period.
Voice search technology is past the early-adopter phase, and businesses which begin optimizing for these new search patterns and browsing habits are going to have an edge on their competition in the upcoming years.
2. 22% of all voice queries are for local content (Source).
Don’t just optimize for your city, especially if you operate in a larger metro, like the Twin Cities. Know how people describe your area and optimize for this.
Also, be sure your Google My Business account is verified and optimized and you’re taking advantage of Facebook's new location pages.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS accounts are often the first result in voice searches.
3. Speech search queries are longer than text queries and often phrased as questions (Source).
Speech search is more laidback and conversational than text searches. As a result, voice search queries are longer and tend to ask a question, characterized by words like who, how, what, where, why and when.
SPEECH SEARCH queries tend are longer on average than text searches. Graph courtesy of Moz.
Businesses can capitalize on this change by rethinking how they write content, focusing on making it conversational and including the search questions in their content as headings or in the first paragraph of their content.
Related: Understanding Blogging for Business
You can use frequently asked questions from your Facebook messages or website form submissions to get started, but you should also research common questions about your topic and include your answers.
FAQ PAGES should be designed to be readable for users and search engines using an accordion menu.
Q&A Blog Posts
If your FAQ page becomes too long and unruly, you may consider writing blog posts about your more popular questions. Content with 1,000+ words and related keywords tend to rank better and can boost the SEO for topics you care about.
Writing informational posts related to your product can connect you with customers who are still in the information-gathering phase before they are ready to buy. When they are ready to buy, you’ve already established a connection with them.
BLOG POSTS which answer a question tend to rank well in voice search results.
4. 27% visit the business's website after making a voice search (Source).
Early on, Google results all looked pretty much the same. Search engine results pages (SERPs) were a long list of page titles with links and their descriptions.
However, Google is always shifting its strategy and algorithm to build a knowledge database that makes it faster and easier for users to get the results they need.
Now SERPs include Google My Business results, Google ads, featured snippets, photo carousels, video previews, related questions, and more, so the need for users to visit another website for the answer to their query is decreasing.
Related: Types of Search Features
For local businesses, this has its advantages, mostly with the use of Google My Business. Virtual assistant results prioritize Google My Business profiles near the user's location over web page results. If the user chooses to call the business, get directions, research the price range, or read reviews, all of this will happen on Google My Business.
However, this doesn't mean you should throw out the idea of a local business website. An official business website provides:
- Trust: A professionally designed website shows the world that you are a real business. Online listings consider websites to be the authority on your business name, phone number, and address.
- Reach: Without an official website, your business will only show up in Google My Business. Users who want to learn more about you or who prefer browsing traditional Google results will be lost leads.
- Control: You get to determine how your business is presented to potential customers, unlike listing websites which prioritize negative reviews and allow users to recommend changes to business information (like Yelp, Facebook, or Google).
WEBPAGE RESULTS in Siri voice search.
5. The majority of voice searching occurs on smartphones and tablets (Source).
If you're optimizing for voice command devices, you also need to be optimizing your website for mobile to give users a positive experience when they click through to your website.
As mobile devices, tablets, laptops, and desktops meld into hybrid devices, websites which are responsive to touch and have flexible design options have become paramount. Building layouts that are flexible and can re-size based on the user’s display remains a key to website design for voice searchers.
You can test your site for issues using Google's free Mobile-Friendly Test, and then review the results with your web developer. A few common recommendations to improve usability are enabling page zoom, adding jump links on long pages, limiting the number of image galleries, and checking pages for horizontal scrolling.
MOBILE-FRIENDLY TEST results from Google provide a starting point for mobile site recommendations.
Speech-activated search is another way for users to get answers faster, meaning the voice searh algorithms favor websites and pages with quick answers. The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds. Google offers a free page speed tester, but you can also ask your web developer to test your page speed and recommend options for speeding it up.
6. Voice searchers are most likely to look for restaurants, grocery stores, and food delivery (Source).
Consumers are more likely to use AI assistants to find businesses they use frequently, such as restaurants, grocery stores, and food delivery. For these businesses, make sure you have all important business information (phone number, address, delivery area, hours of operation, etc.) readily available on your Google My Business Profile and website.
This statistic does not mean B2B or other B2C business should neglect voice search optimization. Considering its growth, all businesses should optimize for voice search.
If you sell a large-ticket product or service, you are more likely to be discovered through voice search, and then the consumer will do research and make a decision on your website. In this case, you should create voice-search-friendly entry pages for consumers with links to more in-depth information.
7. The majority of voice command device users employ it to book reservations or an appointment (Source).
Some customers may simply search your phone number and call you, but others will want to complete scheduling online.
If you don’t require reservations at your restaurant, include this information on your website, so if a user searches, "Can I make a reservation at the Pizza World?" they will still get the answer they need.
If you do take reservations, and you book them through a service, consider connecting this service to your Google My Business listing. Check out Google's list for current and upcoming reservation integrations to see if yours is listed!
GOOGLE BUSINESS allows businesses to integrate a reservation system with their listing.
If you're not connected to a reservation system, don’t worry. Voice-activated tools will simply recommend users call you to make a reservation or appointment.
SIRI RECOMMENDS calling businesses from their Google My Business if online reservations aren't available.
8. Consumers use voice assistants to find local businesses’ phone numbers, addresses, directions, and opening hours (Source).
Make sure this information is extremely easy to find on your website and Google My Business.
Also, review all your online listings for accurate information, including Google My Business, Yelp, BBB, and all social media platforms. Local Citations Trust Report found that 36% of consumers called a wrong number for a business because of incorrect information displayed online.
The citation listing sites you should use depend on the industry you're in. Use this list to check that you're using the right site, and then contact your web services provider to help get you set up.
BUSINESS HOURS listed on Google My Business listings are easy for voice-search tools to find.
9. 46% of voice searchers are looking for prices of products or services (Source).
If you have an eCommerce business, your prices for each product are probably already online. For other retail businesses, though, you may need to add this information into the site. Make sure you arrange your prices in a way which will make sense to both search engines and your user.
For more expensive products, or services which vary in price per customer, such as car repair, electrical work, or legal support, you may consider writing a blog post about how much services in your industry typically cost and what factors cause these prices to go up or down.
Google My Business asks you to choose between $, $$, and $$$ designations for your prices. This system is very subjective, but if you are more expensive than your competitors because you offer premium services, choose $$$. If you are on par with your competitors, choose $$ or $. Note that while some users would prefer to pick “$” businesses, others might consider “$$” to be more reliable simply because they cost more.
10. Voice search results are often short, grammatically correct, and conversational (Source).
For a chance to get in position #0 as a Featured Snippet, your content should be written with short, grammatically correct sentences that are easy for AI to read and for the user to understand.
To optimize your content, use the same online writing recommendations stand here:
- Write concise sentences. Google chooses short answers for featured snippets.
- Include keywords in place of pronouns so your sentence can stand alone. Just be sure you aren't using too many synonyms or keyword stuffing!
- Read your page out loud. This will help you find out if you sound natural and conversational, as if you're answering a friend’s question over coffee.
Of course, you should write your content for readers first. Instead of making every sentence voice-search friendly, use the first or last sentence as a summary and potential feature snippet that answers one of your customer's questions, and then focus on serving the reader in the rest of the paragraph.
SEO and online marketing are always changing, and voice assistants are just another way to help consumers find your business. After understanding what voice search statistics mean and how you can use them to create action steps for your business, we hope you feel more prepared to take on this new age of online searches.
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