When you’re used to the convenience of text-based search engines at your fingertips, voice search comes along to knock the game over.
What is this new way to search, and how do you use it to your best benefit?
The fact is that voice search is still technically in its infancy. However, with the rise of smartphones and therefore virtual assistants, this search is on the rise and unavoidable.
Curious about what this search entails, and how you can make it work for you? Read on as we take a deep dive into the world of searching in the future!
What is voice search?
All things considered, this kind of search is pretty self-explanatory, and it could even be seen as the next logical step after digital assistants.
You know how you ask your phone’s AI questions in the hope that it will be able to give you the right answers? These questions are probably in regards to location or asking directions.
That’s exactly what voice search is. And it’s growing.
Did you know that in ten countries, including the US and Japan, more searches are carried out through voice than on traditional search engines?
However, this also offers a thought that’s stark and almost frightening: with this search giving users the convenience and ease of a direct hit result, is there actually a need for webpages anymore?
We’d say we’re a while away from a pageless Internet, but the prominence and growth of this search does mean that web owners need to be looking toward the future.
Just how rapidly is it growing? Google indicates that a little less than 20% of its queries are answered by direct voice search, and that’s up 4% from the last year alone.
Who uses it?
If you have a phone with a digital assistant (and with smartphones in the hands of almost everyone in America, who doesn’t?), the chances are very, very high that you’ve searched this way in the past.
However, if you want to break that down into specific demographics, there’s a handy dandy study available for that.
The study shows that the vast majority of people utilizing the virtual assistants on their phone fall into the 18 – 29-year-old demographic at 71%. 30 – 43-year-olds trail behind at 59%.
What’s probably most surprising are the other demographics involved in the study. 44 – 53-year-olds and those over 54 years of age are almost neck and neck in their virtual assistant usage, coming in at 39% and 38% respectively.
There are a few different possibilities for this. For starters, this kind of search is convenient for those who may not be traditionally tech-savvy.
After all, when all you have to do is press a button and have the answer you’re looking for at your fingertips, it’s hard to argue with that. Additionally, those demographics tend to enjoy the act of talking to someone.
Though your virtual assistant isn’t a real person, it’s the act of going through the motions that matter.
How does it differ from text search?
Text search and voice search may be technically performing the same functions, but don’t take that to mean that they’re all in all the same.
One of the biggest ways this new kind of search differs from text search is in query length.
Query searches for text search are traditionally pretty short. This is because you’re trying to relay the information you’re looking for as concisely as possible. Because of this, keyword searches are typically about 2 words.
Voice searches are traditionally much longer, with 3 words being the optimal length. This probably has to do with the way we talk: rather than speaking in little clips, we tend to describe what we’re looking for.
Another way this new way to search differs from text search is the phrasing of the search. While text search is often most beneficial when you use a couple of words, voice search lends itself to direct questions.
In fact, there’s been a significant growth in phrasing searches as questions over the past few years.
Also, voice search by nature lets you get more specific with your search. If you’re just searching a phrase or a product, there’s really no telling what you intend to do with said product.
If you’re phrasing your searches as questions, however, that probably gives away the surprise. Instead of searching for a product, you’re probably asking where you can buy it, or how does it work, or when it will go on sale.
Probably one of the biggest impacts the new search has is in local markets.
Think about it: when you pull up a voice search for a location, your results will more than likely be populated with results closest to you.
As a business owner, what does that mean for you?
It means your business strategy needs to be on point. If your name comes up in a voice search but there’s no other information regarding your company, not so much as a Yelp page, then the searcher is going to scroll onto the next one. This costs you business, which costs you money.
How to use it
This search of the future is pretty standard and easy to use! As mentioned before, if you have a smartphone, everything you need is at your fingertips.
Keep the differences between this kind of search and text search in mind when talking to your virtual assistant. Don’t be afraid to get hyper-specific when it comes to your search terms, as this can help your results become more specific.
This is a stark contrast to text search, which often gets bogged down the more words you use.
The future of searching is certain: it’s through voice, and it’s only on its way up. While Google’s statements regarding your phone being able to “understand” you better may be a little creepy and unsettling, the fact is that it offers a more efficient way to get the information you need.
You don’t want to be left in the dust.
Are you waiting in the wings with any great knowledge regarding this new voice-activated technology? Any awesome statistics we forgot to share? Feel free to join the conversation and drop us a comment!