Our digital marketing blog offers you a vantage point into the world of online marketing and its many themes, like intercultural competence, B2B marketing, SEA, SEO, social media marketing, web analytics and more.


Is Voice Search the New Black?

Content Marketing, International Online Marketing, SEO





Voice search is a speech recognition technology that enables users to submit internet search queries by speaking them into a microphone on their device. Google Search first enabled their voice search function in 2011, prompting many other companies to soon follow suit by releasing their own services and devices equipped with speech recognition capabilities.


Today, voice search is an everyday tool by which smartphone and computer users are aided by virtual assistants like Siri, Bixby, Alexa, and Cortana as they carry out web-mediated tasks. Intelligent speaker systems like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and other IoT-devices have evolved to process spoken queries ranging from spontaneous online purchases to questions about the weather.


With nearly 100 million intelligent speaker systems sold in the last twelve months, voice search technology is certainly widespread. However, questions remain about the extent to which voice search technology is impacting the field of marketing.


A survey of over 1,100 marketing professionals commissioned by DMEXCO revealed that 71 percent of German participants and 65 percent of international participants believe that voice search technology demands a completely new approach to content marketing. But despite this outlook, only 36 and 39 percent of respondents report that voice search is at all relevant to the work that they do.


What could be the cause of this discrepancy?


Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that voice search doesn’t change the fundamental functionalities of search engines. Or perhaps it is due to persisting caution among marketers when it comes to creating ads specifically for voice search.


DMEXCO’s survey found that 72 and 66 percent of German and international marketing professionals only create audio-advertisements for voice search if the client has expressed active interest, a trend that suggests that marketers are generally wary of bombarding potential customers with ads that could be auditorily obtrusive. To that end, 54 and 60 percent of marketers wish there were advertising options that felt native to the voice search format: the more inconspicuous, the better.


Another obstacle to voice search marketing joining the mainstream is mistrust. Dr. Dominil Matyka, Chief Advisor DMEXCO explains: “Few devices have managed to catch on as quickly as smart speakers and voice assistants. But it is the assessment of our community that even experts who themselves use smart speakers are inclined to distrust the companies who produce these devices in terms of data and privacy.”

If the digital economy is to evolve in the direction of voice search, marketers will need to overcome their hesitations and choose to take on a key role in shaping this evolving conversation. While voice search technology may still arouse suspicion in many, all signs point to its continuing growth. According to American market research institutions comScore and Gartner, by 2020, an estimated 50 percent of all search queries will be submitted vocally and 30 percent will be submitted without the use of a screen.


This transition ushers in the necessity to create content that adequately addresses both the evolving needs of consumers and the evolving requirements of search engines. The need arises for a consumer-based approach to SEO that emphasizes local queries. And because voice search devices will only read the first search result aloud, content will need to be carefully crafted to sound natural and relevant if customers are ever going to hear it.


To prepare for the Voice Search Revolution, marketers should pay special attention the following principles of SEO:


o   Prioritize content that clearly and concisely answers questions commonly asked by the target audience, as if aiming for a “Featured Snippet.”

o   Use language naturally, as if in conversation. Keyword stuffing will get you nowhere.

o   Optimize for mobile friendliness. Responsive design and page load speeds can impact how a page ranks.

o   Keep your Google MyBusiness listing active and up-to-date. This can positively impact your chances of ranking for local search queries.




Those in the know can see that voice search will only continue to grow in importance, and so businesses, marketers, and technology companies all have a vested interest in expanding their working knowledge on the subject. SEO in the era of voice search requires taking the unique features of speech recognition technology into account.


In addition to adhering to data privacy standards, companies need to ensure that their content is formulated clearly and concisely. While SEO has always centered around improving the user experience as a means of achieving better keyword rankings, the stakes of SEO for voice search are higher. After all, in voice search there is just one winner.



Translated from German by Alexandra North.