Voice search and SEO: Why B2B marketers need to pay attention now
Voice search is being adopted for a variety of purposes, and columnist Nate Dame makes the case that its influence on B2B decision-makers is growing as well. B2B marketers, be prepared!
Voice search is commonly discussed in the context of local and B2C SEO, but it’s being used for more than just getting directions to nearby restaurants or hearing the next step in a recipe while cooking. Voice search is being adopted for a variety of purposes, and its influence on B2B decision-makers is growing as well.
By looking at who’s using voice search, why they’re using it, and where they’re using it, it becomes very clear that the impact of voice search on B2B SEO is inevitable. Adoption of the technology is on the rise, so it’s time for brands to begin optimizing for voice search.
Who’s using voice technology?
As early as 2014, 55 percent of teens and 41 percent of adults were already using voice technology daily. Adults use it to dictate texts, illustrating a desire to avoid typing on small devices. Teens use it to get help with homework, demonstrating an early adoption of voice technology for organic search.
And those statistics were gathered before the proliferation of voice-operated personal assistant devices:
- Personal assistants now are included by default on smartphones.
- Amazon’s Echo was its best-selling product during the 2016 holiday season.
- Google Home and Amazon Echo device sales are expected to exceed 24 million this year.
As adoption of personal assistant devices continues to increase, people will become more accustomed to operating technology using voice commands. This familiarity will inevitably translate to organic search, even in B2B markets, because of the one common denominator in everyone’s reason for using voice technology: ease of use.
Why do people use voice search? (And why is its rule imminent?)
While familiarity with personal assistant technology will encourage more people to try voice search, it is convenience that will really drive adoption. The top reasons people use voice search are almost all related to improved user experience.
People use voice search because it’s faster, simpler and more user-friendly. It simplifies searching for individuals who struggle to type on small devices, and it helps searchers avoid navigating confusing site menus. It’s also faster than searching by text, guided by improved accuracy in the technology.
And that’s not just people’s perception: Google’s voice recognition technology is now 95 percent accurate — improved nearly 20 percent since 2013. On average, humans can speak more than three times as many words per minute as they can type. If voice recognition is just as accurate as typing, the speed of voice search provides a compelling justification for adoption.
Voice search provides a better user experience, particularly on mobile devices. Given that 90 percent of executives use mobile devices to conduct research before making a purchase, it’s not hard to imagine that those executives will transition to voice search — not to mention the next generation of B2B buyers who are growing up with the technology as second nature.
Where do people use voice search?
If the most popular reason for using voice search is occupied hands/vision, then it’s easy to assume that people are using voice search in their cars and kitchens. But there are many other places where people use voice search: