The future is screenless. You can ask Google for directions without having to take your hands off the wheel. KLM's chatbot helps you pack for your holiday. It is already possible, but will become increasingly important: voice is booming. It was estimated that a year ago there were already 1 billion voice searches per month, and that number is increasing. Two in five adults use voice search daily. The prediction is that in 2020 50% of searches will be done via voice.

The transformation of the search query

Before 2013, if you wanted to know the address of a restaurant, you typed something like “Loetje address” into Google. This became easier with the Hummingbird update of 2013, because Google understood the context of searches much better after this update. Since then, the search “what is the fastest way to Loetje” will provide you with a result that immediately refers you to Google Maps, which will map out the fastest route for you. Google has therefore adapted to the way users prefer to search. You can formulate searches as you would formulate a sentence in spoken language.

Voice search is not simply the spoken version of text search. “Hey Google, marketing agency Amsterdam” sounds quite strange when you say it out loud, even though you would type it that way. If you had to make such a search query, it would be something like “where can I find a marketing agency in Amsterdam?” So be aware that searches may differ if you were to type them versus speak them and optimize for that.

Why do we prefer to use voice search?

Voice search is mainly used for asking directions, calling someone and (for teenagers) help with homework. The main reasons: voice is nice if you already need your hands or eyes for something else, and on some devices it is difficult to type (!). But there are more reasons to use voice search. Where we can write an average of 40 words per minute, we can say 150 words per minute. So by talking we can make a more specific or extensive search with less effort (good for longtail keywords!). And by talking you will also get to your results faster.

reasons to use voice search


Tip: think about what the user wants and focus on 'near me'

People who use voice search are often looking for very specific information. The opening hours of your company, whether you offer a certain service, and so on. So set up your site in such a way that you clearly answer these types of questions. The easier Google can find this type of data on your site, the greater the chance that you will appear high in the search results.

In addition, voice searches are much more often based on location than text searches. For example, users search for “Where is near me a bicycle repair shop?”. As a bicycle repairman, you must make it clear to Google where you are. To respond to this, you can, for example, use Adwords' location extension, so that important information such as your address and opening hours are immediately visible in your advertisement.