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Voice Search

and Voice Assistants

Voice SEO is the new SEO

There are over one billion searches by voice per month

41% of adults conduct at least one voice-based search a day and 50% of all searches are predicted to be made without a screen by 2020, there is no doubt Voice Assistants are becoming our go to platform for information sourcing.

The smartest brands will already be thinking about how they can tailor their SEO strategies for voice search. As text search become less popular, it’s going to get more important to make your brand visible via voice.

Don't get left behind

By 2020, 50% of searches will be voice searches

Voice searches are more likely to be implicit, people ask questions like:
"What is the best...", "Where can I find..." or "How can I..."

Your brand can own the answers to these questions and more. We can create implicit invocations so that when customers ask, your brand is front and centre.

Securing your brand’s foothold in the voice search space is possible right now. Don’t lose your early adopter advantage and find that the key terms that you want to be associated with have been snapped up by your competitors.

Get in touch with us and we'll provide a workshop and set up an initial voice agent for your brand, securing your position on the map of Voice SEO.

What's in the guide

Our guide to voice search

  • Definition Learn the vocabulary used and the capabilities of voice
  • Statistics – How many people are using voice and what are they using it for
  • Technology behind voice – A summary of the capabilities of Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant
  • Skills, Actions and Voice search – Learn how brands are using voice to engage with their users
  • How to create a voice brief – How to define your brand's voice and get an agency to help you
  • The future? – What will the world of voice offer us in the future
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Guide to voice technology

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How do Voice Assistants actually work?

Voice Assistants work by listening to everything you say. This may sound alarming but they only connect to the cloud and start recording / analysing your requests when you ‘wake them up’ with a key phrase: “Hey Google”, “Alexa” or “Hey Siri”. Once the assistant is listening, the software breaks your speech down into tiny, recognisable parts called phonemes.

It’s the order, combination and context of these phonemes that allows the NLP software to figure out what exactly you’re saying. Next the assistant tries to understand the intent and context of what you are saying and then using AI, returns the results it thinks you want. Simple! Skills and Actions can be created by brands to allow a user to talk directly to a brand, like Dominos Pizza or The Trainline.

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Which Voice Assistant is the best right now?

The current state of play

Currently, Siri is the best known virtual assistant and Alexa is dominating the smart speaker market. But this early market share doesn’t mean they will win the race. In 2005, the market leaders were Nokia and Blackberry, Apple and Samsung hadn’t released phones and hardly anyone knew who LG and Huwaei were.

The future

Amazon are associated with selling you stuff, stuff on their website. Not being a source of information. Apple are only interested in Apple hardware customers, so they are not even going to try to reach everyone.

Google, on the other hand are a search company, their owner, Alphabet are an AI company. The mission of Google is to disseminate access to information, the information that is right and personal to each user. Their AI is already 6 times more likely to answer your question accurately than Alexa. There are over 1 million actions that Google Assistant can perform. It is already available on 5,000 + devices and this number will continue to grow with IOT devices like smoke detectors, fridges and plug sockets creating a ubiquitous voice assistant throughout our homes.

Superior AI and better access to data will ensure that Google will win the voice assistant race

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Voice Search SEO Strategy

As well as the generic uses of Voice Assistants such as turning your lights on and off, playing music and asking about the weather, SIRI, Alexa and Google Assistant are playing a massive part in the way people search for products or services. If you ask “where is my nearest coffee shop” you will likely get a short list via voice if you use a smart speaker or a map link if you use your smart phone.

What is not yet clear is what type of voice search optimisation these services are looking for to provide the best answer. Do they simply return the top result from Google? Do they try to find a result that can be returned the quickest by voice? This opens up a huge opportunity for brands as these are uncharted territories.

Google has created something called “Agents” that allow specific results to be returned from an utterance. For example, if you said “what is the best lager in the world” wouldn’t it be amazing if Google Assistant replied “Carlsberg, probably”. This can absolutely be achieved and we are seeing a ‘land grab’ much like the domain registrations of the early days of the web.

There are no absolutes in the way that you can create these agents, or when and where the results will appear, but we can help you understand how to create them.

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Closing thoughts

There is no doubt that the way that we engage with brands, organisations and services is changing, we want immediacy, simplicity and frictionless service and we are prepared to speak to machines in order to get it.

Smart speaker sales are increasing and voice searches are increasing so brands need to take notice and be in the spaces that their users are. But that doesn’t mean you should just start creating Alexa skills for your brand, there are far too many useless apps out there from when the app store first launched.

Don’t just think “we need a skill”, think how can we utilise voice to add value to your customers and what questions or problems can we solve. Voice search is vital. Researchers at forbes.com have found that voice searches tend to be more action focused than text searches with voice search users showing intent to act.

Don’t get left behind and find that the key terms that you want to be associated with have been snapped up by your competitors.