A study conducted by Meticulous Market Research estimates that by 2025, the global voice recognition market will reach $26.8 billion. Today, more than 1 in 4 people regularly use voice search on their mobile devices. By 2024, experts estimate the number of digital voice assistants (think Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana) will reach 8.4 billion. That’s more digital voice assistants than there are people on the planet!
Text-based SEO is taking a back seat to the rise of voice search.
From websites to blogs to paid ad campaigns, peppering online content with relevant, long-tail keywords is indispensable to any marketer’s search engine optimization (SEO) playbook. But today, 90% of consumers believe that voice search is faster and more convenient than text search. Due to the rapid growth of voice search adoption, brands must broaden their SEO strategy beyond text-based search and integrate a voice search optimization (VSO) game plan built to capture every spoken word and pattern.
Voice search isn’t new. IBM developed the first speech recognition system, “Shoebox,” over 60 years ago. While VSO has existed in one form or another for decades, it wasn’t until the rise of voice-assistant technology that widespread adoption accelerated. In fact, by 2025, the transaction value of purchases made through voice assistants is expected to reach upwards of $164 billion.
Optimizing For Voice Search CX Success
Talking is the new typing—with a twist. Imagine someone craving coffee in San Diego who also wants a spot to work. In a text-based search, they might type “coffee shop San Diego Wi-Fi” into the search bar. On an Android mobile device, they could say, “Hey Google. Where’s the closest coffee shop to me with good Wi-Fi and working space?” While the desired search result is the same, the language patterns differ. In voice-based search queries, people go with what’s conversational and comfortable.
To optimize for voice search, marketers need to think differently about search engine optimization. For one, brands should create high-quality content that answers specific questions, uses conversational language and integrates long-tail keywords. As in the coffee shop example above, many voice searches are from users looking for a nearby, often nonspecific location-based product or service. To rank higher than local competitors, brands must integrate their VSO and SEO strategy to grab position zero—the holy grail of featured snippet top spots on search engine results pages.
Building a strong VSO/SEO strategy isn’t exactly like killing two birds with one stone.
While VSO essentially falls under the greater SEO umbrella, and there is overlap, it’s not quite a “two-birds-with-one-stone” situation. Optimizing search for text and talk requires specific and varying tactics. Here are the four actions you can take to help your brand score at the top of voice search results.
1. Integrate natural language patterns into your keyword strategy.
Consider the words, phrases and questions people are likely to use when speaking instead of typing. Include location-specific keywords or phrases to capture that local voice search traffic. For instance, focus on queries like “best restaurants near me” or “coffee shops in city name or neighborhood.”
2. Optimize your content with long-tail keywords.
What words or phrases would your target audiences ask to find solutions or information related to your products or services? Implement short phrases with terms specific and relevant to your brand and the kinds of questions your customers ask.
3. Create an FAQ page.
FAQ pages increase the opportunity that your brand will rank higher for voice queries because they follow the ideal format that search engines like—a natural-language question followed by a brief yet specific answer.
4. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and optimized for voice search.
Voice search is often utilized on mobile devices or smart speakers. Improve your site speed, create easily scannable content, and provide a seamless user experience across devices. According to Backlinko, the average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds—52% faster than the average webpage.
The Future Of Voice Search Optimization
Given the statistics shared above and the speed at which this technology is moving, no company will want to be left behind. Here are four trends to watch.
1. The Development Of Omnichannel Voice Experiences Beyond Search
Voice search is not limited to audio responses. Incorporating images, videos and rich media with voice-optimized content can be effective for an enhanced user experience.
2. The Evolution Of Deeply Personalized Customer Experiences
Voice assistants are improving to recognize individual voices and provide personalized responses. This means marketers increasingly need to identify opportunities for personalized marketing, customized recommendations and tailored voice-search experiences.
3. The Growing Implementation Of Speakable Schema Markup
Speakable schema markup is a structured data markup providing explicit information to search engines about sections of webpages best suited for text-to-speech playback. By implementing this markup, brands can indicate which parts of their content should be considered for text-to-speech playback in response to voice search queries.
4. The Continued Impact Of AI On Voice Search
The advent of AI-powered voice assistants rapidly elevated the acceptance and adoption of voice search. According to a recent TS2 Space analysis, “The future of voice search promises to be an exciting journey, with AI driving innovation and transforming the way we search for information and interact with our devices.”
As the modern marketplace emerges with ever more sophisticated technologies to entice customers to choose one brand over another, the pressure on sales and marketing teams to perform is relentless. But if interactions between consumers and brands focus on facilitating human-centered connections, there is little that’s more resonant and present than voiced communication.
We’re not talking sentient voice assist here—just accurate, honest information that gets the customer closer to your checkout, whether online or in-store. VSO is another tool that can pave the way to developing the human-centered, authentic relationships consumers crave.