Voice Assistants Are Changing How People Search

Monday, September 9, 2019

When the iPhone 4s was released in October 2011, it contained a revolutionary new piece of technology: A voice assistant named Siri. Users could now speak their requests into their phone, and the voice assistant would send their voice search query to the search engines and return the most relevant results.

Less than a decade later, voice assistants are no longer revolutionary, or restricted to the iPhone. They are now an almost ubiquitous presence on tablets, smartphones, home assistants, and more.

Voice assistants are also now revolutionizing how people search, and therefore, how marketers approach search engine optimization. With fully a third of people in the United States using voice search at least monthly, it is past time for businesses to understand this new approach and how to respond.


Voice search is becoming commonplace.

In 2011, asking a robot for information was new territory. Since then, however, it has become not just popular but downright commonplace. Using Alexa to look up a recipe while cooking, or asking your smartphone for directions is as natural as breathing for many people.

How many people? One-third of people in the United States use it monthly, to the tune of 250 billion searches total last year. That equates to 13 percent of all Google searches. When you add in all the people who have used searching by voice at all, the numbers reach almost 60 percent of people in the United States. Millions and millions of people know about and use it regularly.

Amazon smart device with voice searching

Smart devices in homes, such as this one from Amazon, are commonplace.

SEO Takeaway: With voice assistants becoming solidly entrenched as a way for people to get information online, businesses have to account for it in their search engine optimization efforts. Otherwise, they may lose the opportunity to get in front of millions of people who want their products and services but who are accessing information through voice.


Voice enabled search is exploding in popularity.

Vocal search has experienced what can only be described as explosive growth over the past few years. It grew 24 percent and 27 percent in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Its growth has slowed over the last year, as its popularity stabilizes and it becomes part of the mainstream method of finding information. However, its use is still expanding. Between 2018 and 2019, it grew in popularity by 9.5 percent. By next year, the number of smart speakers like Google Home will be at an estimated 21.4 million, as opposed to just over 7 million in 2017.

SEO Takeaway: As it grows, businesses can expect that Google will be incorporating vocal style questions into its SEO algorithms, since the search engine giant is committed to improving user experiences based on what users want and need. In order to stay ahead of the curve, businesses need to prepare for these algorithm changes before they happen. What would you ask your Google Home device about your business?

Here’s more information about:¬†Voice Search and SEO: Understanding the Trends and How to Make Them Work for You


Voice-driven information gathering offers a huge financial potential for businesses.

Voice search differs from traditional typed search in a number of ways. In particular, people tend to use it to address immediate needs. For example, they will use voice assistance to purchase a household item they just realized they are out of, to find directions, to locate a restaurant for dinner, to find a recipe to make for dinner that night, and so forth.

Unsurprisingly, then, directions and shopping are the primary ways in which people use voice for searching information. About 52 percent of people even want access to promotions and deals by voice. Estimates are that purchases made through voice assistance will reach $40 billion by 2022. As a result, it offers a potentially huge financial reward for businesses.

E-shopping on a phone

E-shopping on a smart phone is a daily activity for millions of users.

SEO Takeaway: If businesses want a piece of that $40 billion pie, they will need to create content that makes it easy for customers to quickly identify and make the purchases they are searching for. In particular, offering promotions and deals, developing clear and succinct answers to questions, and delivering conversational content will make their web pages more appealing to consumers and more likely to show up in the search results.


Voice devices are used by everyone.

Sometimes, technological advances are adopted only by specific demographics. However, voice search is successfully bridging many different demographics. The statistics show that people of all demographics are using voice assistants to conduct online searches. About 40 percent of all adults in the U.S. report using voice assistance every single day.

SEO Takeaway: Regardless of your target audience, chances are good that optimizing for voice search will help you to reach and appeal to the people who can use your products and services.

Want to learn more?: Voice Search Optimization Tips

This technology has a local focus.

Finally, the statistics show that this method of searching has a local focus that should drive people to find local businesses to patronize. In fact, search questions to a voice assistant are three times more likely to be local. This makes sense, since consumers are often looking for ways to meet needs immediately: Directions, restaurants, gifts, and the like. Local options allow them to quickly get what they need.

Asking smartphone to search

Stacey asks her smart phone to search for answers.

SEO Takeaway: Optimizing for local SEO can help businesses to reach their target audiences through voice. It also means that small businesses might be able to improve their visibility by optimizing for voice search, where consumers can more easily find and patronize them.

Voice technology is revolutionizing the way people search. As a result, it should change the way you do SEO as well. Voice assistants often only return one result to consumers. This means that being visible to your target audience over this method of search requires careful optimization. There is a lot to gain with careful consideration of voice assistants. That is why finding SEO services like WEBii that understand and can help you keep up with trends is vital. Our approaches to SEO can include helping you to build a search approach that allows you to reach your target audience no matter how they are searching.


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