Voice Search Is Growing In Popularity – Is Your Local Business Ready?

As artificial intelligence improves and proliferates, we are seeing more and more people using voice search to find what they’re looking for online. These days we’re carrying virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana in our back pockets, and we’ve invited Alexa into our homes. OK Google searches mean we can find what we’re looking for on our smartphones even while we’re behind the wheel!

So what does voice search mean for local search traffic for your business? Have you factored voice search into your SEO strategy?

How popular is voice search?

Here are some stats to put things in perspective.

  • “40% of adults now use voice search once per day,” says Comscore.
  • “In May 2016, 1 in 5 searches on an Android app in the USA were through speech,” says KPCB.
  • Mindmeld claim that “60% of people using voice search have started in the last year, and that 11% of people using voice search started more than 3 years ago.”
  • Hubspot say that 40% of people use Siri at least daily. (Also Read: https://www.top10-websitehosting.co.uk/small-business-statistics)
  • And quite importantly, according to Search Engine Watch “Mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to be local-based than text.”

In short, voice is to search what mobile was to internet use years ago. It is on its way to becoming a dominant force, and digital marketers would be wise to start factoring this trend into their plans.

It’s easy to see why voice searches are gaining in popularity. It’s faster to speak than it is to type, particularly if you’re on the move. These days, technology is much better at listening and getting it right. Today, Google’s word accuracy is more than 90%.

How are voice searches different?

When text searching, we’re more inclined to just use keywords – e.g. Tesco closing times. But when using voice search, we tend to use natural language, speaking in full, grammatically correct sentences – e.g. What time does Tesco close today?

It also makes sense that the majority of voice searches are done on mobile devices, because they’re more convenient than typing on screen. According to stats from Higher Visibility, 53% of voice searches were carried out while driving, 21% were done while doing something else at the same time. Multi tasking is both opportunity and threat.

With this in mind, how should you change your SEO / Marketing strategy?

Natural language keywords and long-tail keywords need to be researched and factored into site content. When your customers are searching for your business, what questions might they be asking Siri or OK Google? If you’re not sure how to slip these types of questions into your site content, an FAQ page is a godsend. However, there are many more things to consider and we discuss voice search in more detail based on 2018 developments here.

While you’re at it, make sure your site is optimized for local search, which means ensuring you sign up for a My Business account on Google and register with free local business directories and paid directories, like Yell.

Is your site mobile friendly?

These days, about 60% of web search traffic originates from a tablet or mobile device. So if your site isn’t mobile friendly, search traffic will continue to diminish as mobile and voice search continue to grow. You will be penalised by Google too so it really isn’t an option. Read our beginners’ guide for advice on how to get started optimizing your site for mobile.


Christian Taylor is a writer and digital marketer and a member of the VKN Digital team. VKN Digital Ltd is a digital marketing agency in Cornwall, UK. We aim to help SMEs overcome marketing hurdles and create compelling digital content that drives results. Need help creating and launching a native advertising campaign? How about assistance with SEO or social media? Please contact us for a free Skype consultation.

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