Up until now, your SEO strategy has probably focussed on what people type into search engines; but if you want to keep pace with modern search habits, that should be changing. Voice search has gradually been rising in popularity since the first modern digital assistant was installed on the iPhone 4S back in 2011. Since then, Siri and other smartphone assistants have come a long way, and now they’ve broken into other pieces of tech.
In a short space of time, voice search has grown enormously, and the pace of change is ramping up another gear. Within just two years of Apple launching Siri, Google launched Google Now and Microsoft introduced Cortana. It took just one more year before the first modern smart speaker made its way on to the market in the form of Amazon’s Echo.
Last year, Samsung introduced Bixby, Google launched a multi-user function for Google Home, Apple announced HomePod, and Alexa skills surpassed the 10,000 milestone – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what was achieved in just a twelve-month period. When you look at how voice technology advanced in 2017 alone, it’s easy to see why voice search is set to become a game-changer.
It’s technology that consumers are eagerly snapping up too – in 2017, 33.2 million smart speakers were shipped worldwide. This year units sold globally are expected to reach 56 million.
At the moment, just 10% of UK households are thought to own a smart speaker. But, according to research from OC&C Strategy, this will quickly rise to almost half by 2022. While consumers will use smart speakers to make calls and get information, they’re going to revolutionise the way we shop too. The research predicts that within the next four years the number of transactions taking place through the tech will rise from £0.2 billion to £3.5 billion, making it an attractive investment area for businesses.
If the sales projections aren’t enough to convince you that you should be taking voice technology seriously, the search figures should. In 2016, just 20% of online queries were made using voice commands despite being a feature on many smartphones, by 2020 voice searches will account for half of search traffic.
As a result, failing to consider voice search mean you cut out a considerable amount of potential traffic now and it’s a portion that’s only set to grow – It’s time to build voice search into your SEO and content strategy.