More Talking, Less Typing: A Shift in Search Behavior

There have been many discussions about voice search and its impact on searcher behavior. Google has stated that 20% of mobile searches on their devices are voice searches and a survey by Invoca found that 89% of Smart Speaker owners use their smart speaker, like Google Home or Amazon Echo, daily. At Rebuild Group we even conducted our own ranking experiments in smart speaker searches. Even as more marketers strive to further understand voice searches, there is still a lot to be discovered.

VP of Industry Insights for Yext, Duane Forrester, recently released an e-book about voice search and how it changes everything. In an interview with Search Engine Land, Forrester talked about the book and his findings. An interesting bit of insight involved the nuance of voice search. When using the prompts, “who is Harry Potter” and, “what is Harry Potter,” Forrester was able to test voice search systems and their ability to differentiate between the two nuanced questions. Ultimately he found that Google and Amazon’s systems gave different results to the questions, showing that they understand that each question has a different search intent behind it. He also found that Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana were not able to give answers indicating they understood the difference between the questions.

The insight espouses that, “content is still king, but context is queen.” That is why, at Rebuild, we are constantly striving to create content that is factually accurate, interesting to read, and satisfies the searchers’ intent. We understand that searchers are beginning to conduct their searches in a more conversational manner, which means two very similar searches can have wildly different intents behind them. In the age of voice search, it will be even more important to have content that is optimized to satisfy all searches and search intents.