Online Marketingvoice-search

Numerous SEO specialists and market researchers have predicted over the last few years that voice search is going to be the next big thing in the world of search engine optimization. Already many users worldwide rely heavily on vocal commands whether they are using a smartphone or a smart speaker and home assistant device.

The main reason behind this trend is that using voice search seems to be much simpler than typing different types of search queries. While voice search is still in its nascent stages, we can expect to see a full blown voice search revolution within the next couple of years.

However, several marketers are speculating about the impact of voice search in the world of online marketing with a lot of them strongly believing that voice search is not really such a revolutionizing force as it is supposedly destined to be.

What to expect in 2021?

In 2021, we can expect the use of voice search to get a marginal boost in different sectors. However, the trend is going to expand in a major way in about a few years’ time. A closer look at the various trends associated with voice search is going to reveal the factors responsible for the increased use of this form of technology.

Although it is difficult to surmise the total number of voice search queries that are managed on a day to day basis by Google, it is safe to say that the trend has expanded greatly in the recent times. In fact, some researchers suggest that voice searches are going to represent majority of the total number of searches in due course of time.

Rising trends of voice searches

The rising trends of voice searches can be attributed to certain factors such as availability of sophisticated voice-recognition systems such as Amazon Echo and Google Home and a sharp fall in the error rate of voice detection methods. Only in 2017, the overall sales of the smart speakers have increased more than three times of what they were in the previous year.

Smart speakers are exclusively dependent on the voice commands for functioning, helping people to formulate questions and perform tasks with voice-based queries. This is also going to have a major impact in SEO strategies as more marketers will try and target the voice search users instead of focus on traditional search methods.

Necessary to evaluate the efficiency

Given such circumstances, it has now become all the more necessary to evaluate the efficiency of smart speakers and the way they can impact our day to day searching needs. Such evaluations are also necessary to collect important voice search based data that can be used by online marketers to promote different kinds of products and services.

A close observation of the functioning of the smart speakers is going to reveal how they can influence decision making of the digital marketers. Smart speakers are trending nowadays and they are already a being included within the list of most widely used electrical appliances.

Many homes have included them in their inner environments, hoping to make voice search and management of electronic systems easier than ever before. The home assistant features of Google Home and other similar smart speakers have made them incredibly popular among many users.

Smart speaker survey for marketing purposes

In order to have a better idea of the search queries mostly received by Google Home, a survey was conducted to see how these systems were being used in domestic environments. The survey included data collected by experts from multiple homes where the Google Home was installed and being used.

These homes not only made use of Google Home devices but also multiple Google Home mini systems. The study also incorporated data taken from smartphones, desktops and tablets running on Android. The study took into consideration all the voice search commands that were used within a period of roughly three months.

Since the study was conducted mainly within the peripheries of a domestic home, most of the voice search queries were made by the children within the household and involved words that pertain to children’s games such as hide and seek as well as other forms of pretend plays. There were also words that were used as programmed shortcuts for turning the lights on or turning them off at different times of the day.

Among the other top queries that were found in the survey, there were hardly any keywords pertaining to organic or local search results that the marketers could take an advantage of. It was found that most of the voice searchers that were made with the Google Home smart speakers and other Android devices within the home included requests for playing music, setting alarms and timers as well as switching the lights on or off more than anything else.

Most important voice search categories

Eventually it was found that among the roughly 3000 voice queries that were made within the span of 3 months, most of the queries were related to playing music and stopping music, adjusting the volume, alarms, timers and turning the lights on or off which constituted 72% of all the searches made within 3 months.

Other than the 4% of so-called unknown voice search requests, the rest of the 24% of voice searches can be broken down to about 3% of searching for information on the weather, about 2% looking for diverse information on music and musical performers and around 19% of voice searches covered 56 different categories of information with only 1% or even less of usage.

The findings of this survey also closely reflect those that were presented by the January 2021 Smart Audio report released by NPR (National Public Radio) and Edison Research.

Smart Audio Report

The report showed that playing music was the number one activity that people chose to perform by using their smart speakers. When it comes to buying goods online with the help of a smart speaker, most people tended to purchase household supplies for their day to day needs. This was closely electronics products, health and beauty items, pet food supplies and groceries.

The January 2018 Smart Audio report also presented data on types of search queries that took the most precedence based on the time of the day. For instance, most of the people search for traffic conditions between the hours of 5:00 am and 9:00 am, closely followed by the weather and the news. Between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm, most people looked for finding restaurants or other businesses using their voice search.

This was followed by a desire to look for cooking recipes or ordering food from various eateries. The results of the current survey were corroborated with these results and they were found to be of the same nature.

The main area of interest for marketers that can be found in this survey belong to queries relating to Actions on Google, a set of features and tools that allows marketers, brands and developers to interact with their target users. While this particular survey offered little information regarding what marketers can expect from their target users, the January 2018 Smart Audio report suggested that about 43% of people using smart speakers would prefer to buying goods and services from brands that were active on social media.

Before Google chose to release their Actions on Google directory, marketers didn’t always have the information they needed to know the skills that they needed to focus on. However, it is believed that Actions on Google will offer greater opportunities of growth for marketers in the future provided there is sufficient traffic for their brands and company websites.

The intent of the query

One of the most crucial aspects of voice search queries for the marketers is specific intent of a query. This is in fact even more important than the category of the particular search query used with a smart speaker. Up until now, the only relevant and actionable categories for the marketers have been Actions on Google, Local Guide, Facts and Info.

The Facts and Info categories correspond to Know and Know Simple query intent and the Local Guide category corresponds to the query intent called Visit in Person. Nevertheless, the truth is these intents only make up about 23% of the queries as put down by this survey. Most of the queries in this survey pertain to Do-Device Action, which is about 75% and they don’t even make use of search results for obtaining answers.

The fact is that the Know Simple queries are hardly actionable since they mainly lead to a short and precise answer without offering much context. This leaves only 11% of the search queries which can eventually lead to site links. Among these, search results trigger site visitations in only a bit more than 40% of cases which can be used by marketers for gaining online visibility.

The length of the query

The length of the queries was yet another factor that was explored in relation to voice search. Typically voice search led to longer queries that standard typed queries. However, the intent of the query also influenced the query length and word count of the voice search queries.


This clearly shows that although the numbers of people using smart speakers are increasing with every passing day, it is still a long way to go before online marketers can benefit fully from this so-called revolutionary device. This means that even though more people are likely to use these devices in their daily lives, marketers do not stand to benefit much from them. Most of the queries and categories related to purely domestic usage, which means that online marketers stand to only benefit marginally from them.