Voice Search Part 1: What is it?

By AnnMarie Minichiello
May 24, 2018

The world wide web was launched in 1990. Google, the leading search engine, was created in 1998. Over the years, Google has updated its algorithm to streamline the search process for users, providing more accurate results. In recent years, Google has prioritized mobile search, causing industry experts to consider mobile an absolute necessity. While mobile search optimization continues to be an important Google ranking factor, many experts now believe the tide is changing once again.

As voice search continues to grow in popularity, Google will likely mold their algorithm to cater to this evolving trend. In this blog post, we will discuss the growing importance of voice search, and how it may shape the future of Google’s algorithm.


What is Voice Search?

The concept behind voice search is fairly simple. And, it follows along with all of Google’s initiatives by creating a simpler way for searchers to find desired information.

Rather than manually typing a query, voice search enabled searchers to simply verbalize these thoughts or questions. Because searchers were now speaking, rather than typing, the way that they constructed search phrases changed. Rather than typing “Chinese food in East Meadow”, one might instead say “Find me Chinese food in East Meadow.” People placed value in voice search for its convenience, as well as its time-saving benefits.

Voice search became possible when smartphones integrated internet browsing capability with mobile devices. Digital assistants like Apple’s Siri played a large role in popularizing voice search. Siri formerly utilized Bing for voice searches, and not Google. Nonetheless, voice search set the stage for a world where people could find valuable information effortlessly.


Why is Voice Search Important?

Voice search has grown steadily more important since its inception. As of 2017, 20% of Google mobile searches are voice-based. This number– which may not seem massive– will only grow as time goes by. Younger generations, who are quick to adapt to emerging technologies, will increasingly rely on voice search for simple queries.


What is Voice Search Used For?

1. Asking Simple Questions

Voice search also proves useful in finding local results. It can quickly give users information about local restaurants, stores, and other destinations. Furthermore, it offers an easy way for users to find directions.

2. Asking Local Questions

Voice search also proves useful in finding local results. It can quickly give users information about local restaurants, stores, and other destinations. Furthermore, it offers an easy way for users to find directions.

mobile phone directions graphic


Why is Voice Search Becoming Popular?

To understand the rise of voice search, this is an important question to answer. Thankfully, the answer is fairly simple: because more people are using it.

These days, you’d be hard pressed to find somebody without a voice search-equipped smartphone. Beyond that, though, smart speakers have become a popular in-home accessory, and have only increased the importance of voice search.


Smart Speakers: Voice Search from the Kitchen, Living Room, or Bedroom

Smart speakers have also played a crucial role in the growth of voice search.

This technology operates based entirely on voice commands, and without any buttons. Smart speakers have simplified the search process, streamlining it to the point that users are almost speaking to a friend. Two of the first smart speakers, the Amazon Echo and Google Home, are still the most popular today.

Often placed in the living room, kitchen, or bedroom, smart speakers can give users practical information. For example, people can easily inquire about recipes for immediate information about ingredient ratios while cooking. In fact, Google recently redesigned its recipe tool to utilize structured data — which supports the idea that voice search is on the rise.

Google Has Refocused Efforts Toward Voice Search

Recently, Google has taken concrete steps toward prioritizing their voice search efforts.

First, Google recently rebranded their Research Blog as the AI Blog. While this change may seem minor, it does demonstrate an increasing reliance on machine learning. These machine learning capabilities are paramount in pushing voice search to the limit.

Second, Google’s new AI tool highlights their technology’s progress overall. This recent demonstration showed Google’s AI answering queries with text from relevant text. Notably, Google located this relevant information based on context, rather than keyword matching.




In reality, we’re already living in the era of voice search. It may not be a conscious choice or an obvious turn of events, but voice search is here to stay. And your website needs to be prepared.

Interested in what you can do to increase your website’s voice search exposure? Check our blog next month to learn what it means for your Long Island business and the steps you can take.

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