Voice Search: 4 Facts You Think You Know That Are Actually Myths

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Voice Search uses the power of speech recognition to search the web, but how much of what you think you know about Voice Search is actually true?
Emily Romero with a viking hat and a hammer

Emilie Romero

Senior Content & UX Strategist
Emilie Romero is a creative problem solver with the ability to generate and implement innovative ideas.  She is fluent in driving, planning, and executing strategies to improve user engagement, grow…

Myth 1: Every company needs to build a skill.

Don’t go start writing hundreds of Alexa skills just yet. In 2018 the top 25 Alexa skills were still predominantly trivia-based quizzes like Heads Up, and useful lifehack tools like Find My iPhone. If your company doesn’t offer a game, or teach something new, like how to be more productive at home, than a voice skill might not be the right strategy.

Myth 2: If a business is small they probably don’t need to optimize for voice search.

Have you ever heard that size doesn’t matter? Well in the voice search world it is true. Small or large, if you are a local business selling goods or services you better be optimized for voice search. In 2018, 46% of voice search users stated that they look for a local business on a daily basis. Optimize for voice search by answering what consumers want most: reservations, prices, and business offerings. If you really want to be ahead of the game, optimize for Google Duplex, Google’s brand-new voice assistant that uses AI technology to carry out real-world tasks. Using voice technology, you can tell the robot what you want it to do, and then it will converse naturally and call local businesses to book things like reservations or salon appointments.

Here are some quick ways to optimize for local voice search if you are a local business:

●    Create a Google My Business Listing and link it to specific landing pages and your website

●    Prioritize your business name and location in your H1s and H2s, and use semantic text and location-specific keywords for alt-tags and geo-tags for images

●    Create multiple location-specific landing pages with product/service related information

●    Use structured data to include local business info like service area for services offered, business hours and payment types accepted

●    Use hyperlinks for phone numbers and HTML tags to describe your location in your semi-structured data

Myth 3: Mobile voice search has declined due to a rise in smart speaker usage.

It is true that Amazon Echo Dot was a top-selling holiday item this year. But compared to mobile phones, smart speaker usage has quite a way to go. In 2018, mobile phones by far were the most popular device when searching for local businesses (56%) compared to (18%) for smart speaker usage. This is most likely because more people own a mobile phone compared to a smart speaker. Not only that, voice search on a smartphone is literally mobile, so you don’t have to be at home to use it.

Myth 4: Voice search is going to replace the need for a visual display.

Voice search alone cannot solve all of our search needs. Voice search has its limits, especially when it comes to user experience. And it can only do so much. With any voice-related item, we expect it to be naturally conversational and human. When it is not, we get easily frustrated. Skills, in particular, are complicated and on the backend side, take a lot of time to write without having user error. To learn about the weather or to schedule an appointment, voice search is optimal. But when tasks become more complex or you can’t find simple words to express what you are searching for, we look elsewhere. That is why SEO experts are saying there will be a rise in both voice and visual search. In particular, companies like Pinterest, Shazam, and Spotify have used visual searches to help solve problems unique to their users’ pain points. In 2019, you will definitely see both a rise in voice and visual search. Let’s just make sure you are prepared for it.

At Taoti Creative we’re always working to stay ahead of technological advancements. Check out our Taoti Talk with the Grandfather of Virtual Reality, Tom Furness, and the recent explosion in technology that has propelled a renaissance in VR and AR.