Why retailers shouldn’t overreact to the voice search revolution

Why retailers shouldn’t overreact to the voice search revolution


If recent accounts on the rise of voice search are anything to go by, the volume of long-tailed queries with more natural language and searches with a question is heading nowhere but up and to the right. This, the argument goes, should in turn impact our digital strategy as we strive to account for the inherent differences in typed search vs. voice search.

Taking a look at the search queries triggering paid and organic results for retail brands using Google’s paid and organic reporting in AdWords, however, there hasn’t been much movement over the past couple of years for a few key query attributes that would indicate a major shift in search behavior.

This makes the excitement surrounding voice search sound a lot more like those way-too-early “year of mobile” declarations than anything that needs to be rapidly addressed by all sites and brands.

And while the research presented here is far from the be-all, end-all in terms of measuring the impact of voice search, we posit that even if voice search does take off and change the types of queries searched for, the resulting best practices look almost identical to our existing paid search and SEO best practices.

But before I go on, BIG thanks to Merkle SEO Director Jamey Barlow for contributing the SEO thought leadership for this piece.

Little change in overall query length over the past two years

Microsoft research analyzing Cortana query data shows that users are more likely to search for longer queries when speaking searches than when typing them (though we’ll speak later about why this analysis might be a little misleading).


If voice search were really taking off in a meaningful way, then, we should expect to see a greater share of searches attributed to longer queries over time, according to this research.

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]

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