'Hey Google, tell me all about Voice'

Voice Control, voice user interfaces (VUI), Smart Assistants... Search the internet for 'Online Marketing trends 2019' and you can read it everywhere: Voice is 'the next big thing'. Experts call 2019 the year in which the big breakthrough of Voice will be. As an organization, you have to get on the boat now in order not to miss the battle of Voice.

Why are experts suddenly so full of Voice? Is this really a trend, or is it one of the many hypes surrounding new technologies? In this blog, I will take you into the world of Voice.

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6 minutes


Online Marketing



What exactly is Voice?

It's probably only in the last six months that you've really heard something about Voice Control. Or maybe you haven't heard anything about it yet. The official meaning of Voice Control is:

"The ability to use the human voice to give certain commands to the computer and then execute them. In other words: without physical contact, you give an order to a device. 

Despite the fact that Voice is only just making an advance, it has been experimented with for decades. The first speech recognizing device - Audrey, built by Bell Labs - was born in 1952. Whereas this device was aimed at hearing parts of a human voice, a voice user interface now recognizes millions of words from at least as many different people. Especially in recent years the development has been very fast. In 2011, Apple's Siri was the first known speech recognition device for most people. And that while Google has been working on Voice Search since 2008. Telephone users 'played' with it, but it wasn't really interesting for companies to do anything with it. This seems to be changing now.

Voice: hype or trend?

Is Voice a hype today, or will it be a trend that you really need to work on? If you ask me, and therefore all the experts in the field of Voice, it becomes a trend. In the Netherlands at the end of last year, we only really got to know today's Voice. The Google Home came to the Netherlands and was immediately available in Dutch. After the first six months, 5% of Dutch households have a Smart Assistant in their homes. It is expected that another 4% will buy a Smart Assistant in the next six months. Within one year, 9% of Dutch households will therefore already have a Smart Assistant in their homes. Quite impressive, isn't it?

Not convinced yet? Take a look at this classic about the introduction of the mobile phone in the Netherlands.

5 reasons why Voice is growing

Why is Voice now suddenly going to grow, when it has been developed for decades? The following five reasons are important in the development of Voice.

1. Internet of Things

Your smart-TV, the fridge that keeps the stock, the smart thermostat: these are all examples that together form the 'Internet of Things'. These IoT are connected via WIFI or Bluetooth. This connection ensures that the devices can store or exchange data.

Because there is more and more IoT, Voice-integrations can connect to more and more devices.

2. Science

Science doesn't stand still. This also applies to Voice. There is more and more knowledge about this subject. Examples of this are:

Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR);

Natural Language Understanding (NLU);

Speech synthesis (Text-to-Speech, TTS).

With the learnings from these fields, it is becoming more and more interesting (and easier) for more and more developers to reach consumers with Voice.

3. Hardware

Recently, special hardware has been introduced to better recognize speech for voice interfaces. This hardware, Far-Field Voice Input Processing (FFVIP), ensures that a voice command is understood from an ever-greater distance. This is mainly due to the convenience that Voice offers the consumer. Because whether you have to walk to your Smart speaker to give an order, or whether you can do it lazily from the couch, is quite a difference.

4. Machine learning

Machine Learning is not only about Voice. This form of artificial intelligence is being used more and more often. Learning new tasks, yourself and carrying out tasks better and better also relates to VUIs. This means that the quality of the interface will automatically improve.

5. Voice versus typing

The biggest competitor for Voice is of course typing via a keyboard. Sending an email, looking up some information or letting us know that we will be home a little later: we do everything with the keyboard. Now that Voice is emerging, the question is whether this is at the expense of keyboard use. Factors that play an important role for the user are convenience and speed. Whatever we do, we always want everything as quickly and easily as possible.

If you had to choose now, what would you say? Does it take longer to call 'Hey Google' and then ask your question, or to enter the message on your phone? The latter may sound the most logical, right?

 Stanford University researched it. They have had people between the ages of 19 and 32 type and pronounce various short and long sentences on their phones. What turned out to be? Speech recognition is faster. Three times as fast. Did you expect this? At least the scientists didn't:

 You would think everyone would be flocking to use it if they knew how much better it actually was. 

- Scientist James Landay about the fact that Voice works 3x faster than typing

Tips for search engine optimization with Voice

Alright, we can agree: Voice is here and will never leave. But what should you do with Voice as an organization? Do you need to develop a complete Voice strategy? Want to know what your brand sounds like? This is not a bad idea at all. And of course, at Loyals, we are happy to help you with that! Not ready for that yet? Then we do advise you to start making your organization easier to find for voice.

What is important for every organization is the find ability on search engines such as Google and Bing. Even your find ability on desktops is influenced by the fact that more and more people are searching through a smart speaker. If you ask your Google Home a question by voice, you don't get a list of available links to websites. Google only has one answer. And you want to be that answer.

So, where it was first important to get to the 1st page of Google, you should now be in first place. In the featured snippet to be understood. Below, I give four tips for earlier in the featured snippet to end up.


Featured Snippet Google Voice the Featured Snippet from Google

Tip 1. Repeat the question

Make sure the question is clearly defined. Also, on the page where the answer is. This question is always a what, where, when, why, how etc. question. Put this question in H2, so that Google will recognize the question more quickly.

Tip 2. Answer the question in normal form

Google has to give the answer in spoken form to the client. It is therefore important that the answer is also given in 'spoken' form. Make sure that there is also an answer, just as you could give it in spoken form.

Tip 3. Give your answer in a maximum of 50 words

If you answer a question, do so as briefly and concisely as possible. Google does not want to read an entire article describing the answer. Let alone the client. Google tries to give answers to the client within 50 words. So also adapt your content to this. If the user needs more information, it will automatically look for it and it will still be sent to you.

Tip 4. Improve your local find ability

Does Google really only have one answer to every question? Not quite. Google gives priority to local options (i.e.: answers). So, improve your local find ability. In this way, you can reach the users who are close to your organization more quickly. Read here some tips to improve your find ability

Start with Voice!

Whatever company you are or whatever you do, hopefully I was able to activate you to at least have a look at the possibilities of Voice. We are currently on the eve of a Voice generation. Do you want to be ahead of the game, or do you want to be behind the times in a couple of years? The choice is yours.

Would you like to discuss the possibilities of Voice together? I'll be happy to help you!

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