I first covered this topic back in 2016, when Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst, said that the number of voice searches had doubled in the past year. While no indication was given at the time on the numbers involved, it was clear that the use of Google, Siri, Alex, and Cortana was increasing rapidly.
How many of you know have an Alexa or Google in multiple rooms in the house?
I know I do.
50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020
According to comScore in 2016 half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
About 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020.
At the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference in May 2017, Gartner research vice presidents, Jake Sorofman and Martin Kihn discussed the market disruption caused by Technology.
They stated that in:
2016 voice-based searches were barely on the radar of marketing leaders. Now they represent an ever-increasing share of search volume (roughly 50 billion search queries).
They predicted that some people’s waking moments would be 100% connected and that marketers needed to work at targeting this user segment.
They predicted that by “2020, 30% of web browsing sessions would be done without a screen”.
There will be 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020
Activate, in a presentation from October 2017 predicted that there would be over 20 million smart voice devices in the US alone, by 2020.
In September 2018, an Adobe Digital Insights survey indicated that Smart Speaker Ownership had risen to 32%, up from 28% since the start of January 2018.
Adobe is keen to point out that 79% of Smart Speaker sales occur in the last quarter of the year.
Voice Usage Statistics
27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile.
According to the Global Web Index 2018 Insight Report, 27% of the global online population is using voice search on a mobile device.
It’s most popular in the Asia Pacific, but 16-24s in mature English-speaking markets aren’t far behind.
Almost half the worlds digital consumers could be engaging with Voice or Digital assistants in the future
According to the Global Web Index 2018 Insight Report, 17% of internet users currently own a voice-controlled smart assistant.
The report also states that 34% of internet users are interested in purchasing one.
Up to 25% 16-44s in the U.S. currently own a smart speaker.
The Global Web Index 2018 Insight Report indicates that up to 25% of all 16 to 44 year-olds own a smart speaker with a similar number planning to purchase one in the future.
The report also states that 34% of internet users are interested in purchasing one.
Younger users are more likely to use mobile voice search
The Global Web Index 2018 Insight Report reveals that usage is primarily being driven by younger users.
Two-thirds of all mobile voice users are between the age of 16 and 34, with it being relatively equal between male and female usage.
What is particularly interesting, is that the usage by income bracket shows that wealthier users are more likely to use mobile voice search.
3 in 4 Mobile Voice Searchers purchased a product on their mobile last month
The Global Web Index 2018 Insight Report reveals that 75% of mobile voice search users made a purchase in the previous month.
This is not surprising, with Smart Devices such as Alexa tied into Amazon Prime, and Google Home partnering with Walmart for voice-based shopping. The easier it gets for people to make purchases, the more people will use it.
52% of users keep their voice-activated devices in their living rooms.
- 52% of people keep them in their living rooms.
- 25% of people keep them in their bedrooms.
- 22% of people keep them in their kitchens.
In 2016, the number of voice searches doubled from the previous year.
Gary Illyes, webmaster trends analyst at Google, said in a recent Virtual Keynote with Eric Enge and Mark Traphangen on Thursday that the number of voice searches has doubled in the past year. In this article, we will take a look at the details, including some statistics, and provide tips on how to optimize your content for Google Voice.
In the Virtual Keynote at 38:40 minutes, Mark Traphagen, Stone Temple Consulting, asked a question requested by one of their viewers. We have paraphrased for readability:
Question: Do you have any data that indicates the growth of Voice search. He’d like to know how many people are using its features now. So that’s something that you track record with how many people are using voice-activated search?
Answer: It’s definitely Growing. In general, people speak like a person to their phone so, for example, queries like “when is my car reservation” or “remind me to buy flour for my wife.” We are getting more and more queries like this. We get thirty times as many action queries by voice as by typing.
Question: Is that affecting the way you are designing the algorithm?
Answer: This will be discussed more at SMX West, and I don’t want to undermine the talk. I just remembered the figures — the number of mobile voice searches have more than doubled than the year before, which means we must get quite a few.
You can view the relevant part of the video below:
Google’s 2014 Mobile Voice Survey Statistics
In a post last October 2014, Google revealed that the number of voice searches had also doubled at that time. We wonder if it is this data he is recalling, or whether the number of voice searches has doubled two years running. Either way, the increase in usage is impressive.
The 2014 User Survey results showed some fascinating statistics. Before we comment on those, though, it is worth noting that the statistics seem to cover all Voice functionality (i.e., Google App functionality “to call someone”), rather than just Voice Search:
- 55 percent of teens use voice search more than once a day
- 43 percent of teens use voice to call someone.
- 38 percent of teens use voice to ask for directions
- 31 percent of teens use voice for help with homework
- 30 percent of teens use voice to play a song
- 20 percent of teens use voice to find out movie times
- 13 percent of teens use voice to check the time
- 41 percent of adults use voice search more than once a day
- 40 percent of adults use voice to ask for directions
- 31 percent of adults use voice to call someone.
- 31 percent of adults use voice to dictate texts
- 11 percent of adults use voice to play a song
- 11 percent of adults use voice to check the time
- 9 percent of adults use voice to find out movie times
One interesting statistic revealed in the survey carried out by Google is looking at when Users use voice search:
- With friends — 57 percent teens, 24 percent adults
- In the bathroom — 22 percent teens, 15 percent adults
- While Cooking — 8 percent teens, 23 percent adults
- While exercising — 17 percent teens, 15 percent adults
- While watching television — 59 percent teens, 36 percent adults
The statistics show that most of the searches involve obtaining direct actionable data. For example, checking movie times, recipes or directions. Moreover, many of the searches related to a commercial transaction, or would if the functionality exists. For example, when asked what functionality users would like to see in the future 45 percent of teens, and 36 percent of adults wanted “Send me pizza.”
It would also seem that Voice search is used a lot when users are doing something that makes it harder to type manually, such as exercising or cooking. Equally, the younger generation is finding it more socially respectable to use Voice Search in front of friends.
Content Usage Statistics
Voice search results primarily come from the top 3 web rankings results.
A voice search study by Backlinko analyzed 10,000 voice searches. Here is a summary of the main takeaways:
- The average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds.
- 70.4% of Google Home result pages use HTTPS.
- The average voice search result is 29 words in length.
- 36.4% of voice search results come from pages that use Schema.
- The mean Ahrefs Domain Rating of a is 76.8.
- The average voice search result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets.
- The average result is written at a 9th-grade level.
- Very few voice search results had the exact query in their title tag.
- The average word count of a voice search result page is 2,312 words.
- 75% of voice search results rank in the top 3 for that query.
- 40.7% of all voice search answers are displayed in a Featured Snippet.
Optimizing for Voice Search Tips
There are many things you can consider when planning your Voice SEO strategy:
- Optimize for Mobile — Apart from the fact that being mobile-friendly is now a ranking factor, the majority of searches happen on a Mobile Phone. Therefore, any results that show will be viewed on a much smaller screen. While voice search can be carried out on a desktop, it doesn’t appear to be used very much. Google even removed the “OK Google” functionality on Chrome as a default in October last year.
- Use Schema and optimize for the Knowledge Graph — Google now understands complex questions and the meaning of what you are asking. Google now breaks down each query to understand the semantics of each piece, as the example below shows:
- Answer Questions Naturally — Rather than use keywords, use natural sentences to respond to questions. While it is still useful to consider keywords, you should use them in a more natural way, including semantic variations.
- Think Local — With many search queries from Voice wanting actionable information, such as where the nearest Coffee Shop is, or where they can buy a pair of shoes. For this reason, you should optimize for local searches by adding full and correct information to places such as Google+ Local, Foursquare, Yelp, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, and Facebook. In combination with this, encouraging your customers to leave positive reviews will help, some voice search assistants such as Siri will rank results by number and the average rating of reviews.
About the author
Jonathan Griffin. Editor, Hosting Expert, SEO Developer, & SEO Consultant.
Jonathan is currently the Editor & CEO at The Webmaster. He is also an SEO Developer offering consultancy services, primarily to other web development companies. He specializes in the technical side of SEO, including site audits, development of SEO related features, and site structure & strategy.
In his spare time, Jonathan has a passion for learning. He regularly undertakes professional courses on subjects ranging from python, web development, digital marketing, and Advanced Google Analytics.