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September 09, 2019

Voice search on the rise: Is your business prepared?

Written by Trevor Venegas

For most businesses, being found online means optimizing content and data for text-based searches. Non-branded text search is the workhorse of online discovery, but a recently published report from Microsoft found that businesses cannot continue to unwittingly ignore voice search. 

Voice search is on the rise

According to Microsoft, 72% of the population* has used voice search through a personal digital assistant. While voice assistants still rank behind other ways to search such as mobile browsers, according to research firm Perficient Digital, they are gaining popularity quickly. In fact, OC&C Strategy Consultants predicts that 55% of U.S households will own smart speaker devices by 2022 — up from just 13% in 2018. 

Remember, the smart speaker market didn’t even exist to any significant degree until Amazon launched the Echo in 2014, and now millions of Americans own them. This surge in voice assistant ownership caused the percentage of mobile voice queries on Google to rise to approximately 20 percent, according to Search Engine Land.  A majority of the results provided for voice searches are produced through featured snippets, also known as answer boxes.


Voice Search

For brands, that means owning featured snippets not only translates to more clicks on desktop and mobile through their prominence on search engines results pages (SERPs), but to more clicks through voice search as well. 

Voice Assistants Provide Concise Answers

Here’s why: voice search is an all-or-nothing game. When someone asks Google, Siri, or Alexa a question, like “Why do I have dry eyes at night?” That question is most commonly provided only one answer to get users what they need as quickly as possible. So, the website owning the featured snippet for that question will likely own the voice search answer as well. Check out the screenshots below comparing a traditional Google search with a voice search using Google Assistant:


Dry Eyes at Night

As you can see, goodeyes.com will continue to see steady traffic to their page and a steady rise in authority as Google continues to use the content on their page as an answer. Through featured snippets and voice search answers, a business can truly set itself apart from its competition without paying for ad placement.

How To Capture Featured Snippets and Voice Search Answers

Begin by writing content focused on answering questions that pertain to your business. If you’re just starting out as a small company specializing in Merino Wool clothing, you most likely won’t have a chance at ranking for a search like “best winter clothing.” However, you will quite possibly be able to rank for a search like “how does Merino wool retain heat” by providing content around the answer to that question. 

This content needs to be precise and dedicated to answering the one main question along with any related questions you can think of. For example, goodeyes.com’s page on dry eyes at night is able to secure the featured snippet for “dry eyes at night” along with the featured snippet for “why do my eyes feel drier at night” and other related keywords because their page is a one-stop-shop for information on dry eyes at night.

Purely listening to what customers ask in your store, online, or through social media can reflect what Google is being asked either through traditional or voice search. Answering these questions in a conversational manner on your site can greatly increase your chances of grabbing featured snippets for topics related to your business. SEMrush’s article on how to rank for featured snippets talks specifics about what your content should look like.

With voice commerce sales expected to reach $40 billion by 2022, according to OC&C C Strategy Consultants, business owners really cannot afford to resist the growing popularity of featured snippets and voice search. Capitalize on this steady rise by writing content dedicated to answering your customers’ most asked questions in a conversational tone.

Who knows, maybe one day you’ll say, “Alexa, how does Merino wool retain heat?” and hear her read an answer that you wrote.

Contact Investis Digital

At Investis Digital, we help businesses optimize content for all forms of search in order to make your content more pronounced in every aspect. For further insight into how we can help you, contact us

*Countries surveyed: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and India. 

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