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Voice Search is the New Norm?! There’s No Time for Skepticism.

With Bernadette Coleman, CEO Advice Local

This is the latest in BIA Advisory Service’s Vantage Points series where we tap the perspectives of various lookout points from around the local media and tech sectors. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect that of BIA Advisory Services. 

How many of you have heard countless radio, television and print advertisements for voice search-enabled devices this holiday season? I have, and it’s not at all surprising – really!

The age of voice is here. It’s risen to meet the demands of the Super-Empowered Consumer, and as a result, it will turn half of the population into one. Seriously, that’s the prediction after the 2018 Christmas season: 48 percent of people will have a smart speaker, according to Adobe Analytics.

With that much power at consumers’ fingertips – or vocal cords, rather – who knows if they’ll ever go back to a typed search again. If you’re like many people, that’s probably too unbelievable to grasp. But allow me to illuminate you on why voice search is becoming the new norm.

People Are Using Voice Search at Home, Too

voice-control-2598422_1280Well, your great-grandmother might not be, but this voice-enabled technology is not just being utilized by the millennial and GenZ demographics like many would assume. In fact, the age group using voice search technology the most is 35-44 year olds, according to Stone Temple Consulting. This number is projected to rise, which makes sense as older generations gradually lose their patience typing on tiny keyboards and straining their eyes.

Sure, having Siri built right into our phones took some getting used to way back when, but after it had some time to sink in, people of all ages realized its usefulness and efficiency in the promotion of multi-tasking – and they ran with it.

Whole-Home Voice Technology

Speaking of multi-tasking, enter the convenience of a household voice device like a Google Home Hub. For example, you’re cooking in the kitchen. Your hands are dirty, and your computer or tablet has a recipe pulled up for you to follow. But, you are confused on a measurement. All you have to do is say, “Hey Google, how many ounces are in a cup?” In just a moment, your query is answered.

Voice-enabled technology is extending as far as our thermostats, microwaves, light bulbs and even electric plugs. Just like remotes were revolutionary when we no longer had to get up to change the channel on our televisions, so is voice-capable technology of all kinds, mobile and otherwise.

Voice Search Is the Response to the Super-Empowered Consumer

Like it or not, we have all been forever changed by the convenience of the various technologies now available to us. Do you want your answers quick, correct and in no time at all? You are what Google calls the Super-Empowered Consumer.

These consumers work mainly from their mobile device, as its always on them, and are generally impatient. But, in an emergency situation, they deserve to be cut some slack. If someone is searching for an ER, a veterinary hospital, or something of the like, they want it done fast, and even hands-free. This is why voice search is changing the game.

Getting a Voice Search Strategy Rolling Full Steam

As you may know, I’m all about local SEO. In fact, I’m known as the #QueenofLocalSEO. Helping local businesses get found online is what I do – and this expands beyond optimizing business listings to get found in voice search. Here are some tips to help get a business’ website and other platforms voice search-ready, too.

1. Yes, Page Speed Matters

Voice search is synonymous with speed. That’s what we’ve been talking about since the beginning, so it only makes sense that the sites with the highest page speed will be the first to load and will be used to answer a searcher’s query.

2. Simple Language is Key

There’s no need to get fancy when it comes to voice search! Keeping things as simple as possible will improve results. This should also expand throughout a website’s content. In terms of question keywords, Purna Virji of Bing says that “the more matches you have, the more likely your ad will show on a voice search that includes words like ‘a’ and ‘me’ and ‘for.’” Also, know that pages that have more content get more voice traffic – aim for around 2,300 words.

3. Be Short and Sweet When It Comes to Answers

This can apply to many areas of one’s life, including voice search! Being too technical hinders making it into voice search results, and Google’s trend so far is to answer questions, on average, in 29 words. We recommend following Google’s lead here.

Voice Search isn’t Going Away

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are being impacted by voice search. It starts with optimizing business listings to the fullest extent for voice-searchers on the go, and it only gets more expansive from there. So, enough with the skepticism; the voice search train has left the station. Hop aboard if you want to help your local business clients compete!


Bernadette Coleman is CEO of Advice Local, an award-winning local search technology and local presence management company focused on improving client visibility across the local digital universe. Known as the Queen of Local SEO, you can find her speaking nationally on local SEO and search strategies for businesses and brands.

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