Feb 17
Voice search growing, but users prefer private environments

Voice search growing, but users prefer private environments

by Jo Cook

Voice search is growing in popularity and is fast becoming one of the main methods for mobile users to find the content and information that they need while at home, at work or on the move. With this in mind, digital marketing agency Stonetemple has published a new study to find out exactly how people in the US are using voice commands.

The first major takeaway is that using voice search in public still carries a sort of social stigma, as users are much more willing to use it when they are alone and in private environments such as their homes. Two-thirds said that they utilise the functionality at home by themselves, while just over 20 per cent said that they are comfortable using it on public transportation.

While data shows that voice search is gaining ground in daily use, people still prefer to open up a mobile browser to find content, as more than 80 per cent said that this is their favoured method for looking something up. More than two-thirds like to type the query into Google and other search engine apps, while around 55 per cent use voice search.

The evolution of voice search indicates that it will become more central to optimising for SEO and search engines in the future, but it will be hard for the functionality to displace more tangible means of typing in questions and queries on smartphones. However, more than 60 per cent of people who use voice commands do so to make online searches, which is second only to making a call.

Perhaps the most telling feedback from the study for SEO is that people like voice commands because they are fast and convenient. Respondents were asked about personal assistants and the new features that they would like to see. The second-most requested feature was “more integration with other applications,” which shows that users would like to surface content more easily across channels.

While voice search is taking off, Google analyst Gary Illyes revealed this week that content marketers can optimise their articles and blog posts more effectively by reading them out loud. Illyes claimed that text may weigh less in search engine rankings if it doesn’t sound natural.

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