To start this article off right and give this article more credibility, let’s start with some statistics on the use of vocal search over the past 2 years.
Ready? We’re off!
40% of all adults have at a minimum made a vocal search on the Internet in 2016, 25% of 16-24-year-olds frequently use vocal search on their mobiles, and 41% of those who use vocal search started less than 6 months ago. Comscore predicts that 50% of all searches on the Internet in 2020 will be made by vocal search, and the number of smart speakers is estimated to reach 21.4 million in 2020, with a world market in excess of 17 billion dollars within the next 4 years.
And for good reason! As you’re probably aware, 2 simple factors are responsible for this new trend: Internet browsing is more and more often done on mobiles, and vocal assistants/smart speakers are in full expansion! In France, since July 2017, mobile Internet traffic has exceeded desktop Internet traffic. Simultaneously, the arrival of smart speakers has shaken up the way we consume; first in the United States and more recently in Europe. We no longer write down a shopping list, we dictate to our smart speaker. We no longer read the morning news, we ask our smart speaker. We no longer jot things in our agenda, we give our smart speaker the appointments. We no longer… well, you get the idea. No need for further examples. Even if the trend is still limited in France, the use of smart speakers in Anglo-Saxon countries, and specifically the United States, has already taken hold.
Vocal search was not created yesterday, absolutely everyone can use it thanks to a wonderful little gadget found in a pocket or laying on a desk that we call the smartphone. With the spread of smartphones, vocal SEO has become a true economic stake with Cortana, Siri, Google Voice search: with Internet traffic becoming more and more mobile, this way of browsing developed rapidly. Add smart speakers (Google Home, Alexa, Hompod & Co.) and you can browse the Internet any which way with the simple sound of your voice.
Let’s not waste any more time and get to the matter at hand: natural
search engine optimization, (and for the article we’ll only address SEO and not sea, so in this specific context, if I use the term optimization, I’m referring to SEO only). A quick review which can’t hurt: SEO, or search engine optimization, aims to optimize the position of content in the different search engine results.
As a result, vocal search is an interesting optimization feature. SEO experts must consider voice to be a positioning criterion in its own right and not view it as a dangerous upset to natural optimization. One must no longer be simply visible but also audible!
The primary use for vocal SEO is local. Vocal search use is different depending on the person. But it can be noted that vocal search is 3 times more likely to be local than any other search quite simply because the user generally wants quick information with geolocalization activated (nearby business, need for an itinerary, music change while walking, call/messaging).
Per se, the approach and thought are practically the same: the format has simply changed moving from a keyword sequence to a question.
Users’ vocal requests are much less formal but at the same time, they’re more precise than written searches. The searches tend to be complete sentences rather than keywords: “Who invented the Internet?” instead of “Internet inventor”. So informal content needs to be created with a conversational tone. And as a result, SEO strategy must be geared to 3 key points:
But there is also an additional item that’s not to be ignored! Since mid-2016, PAA has also arrived in France. People Also Ask now completes Featured Snippets in Google for French searches. The principle of PAAs for vocal search proves to be more than useful; it gives users the feeling they’re talking with someone else and it reinforces the principle of vocal search.
Given the current trends, there’s no doubt that vocal search is positioning itself as an optimization norm and that it would be silly to ignore it. However, it is still too early to yell from the rooftops that vocal search is the future and that it will surpass all other search formats. But imagine at a minimum the use it could represent for individuals with reduced mobility, or quite simply the future for connected objects. One thing is certain: its development is its infancy and it has enormous potential.
If you haven’t your fill of SEO, I suggest you read Hugo’s article, our SEO consultant who was present at the latest Google conference end March. And one more thing to remember: mobile, mobile, mobile, a little Search Console, and netlin… just kidding, more mobile!