John Cutts

Is Your Website Voice Friendly?

Since the introduction of Google Assistant and Alexa, a lot has been said about voice search, especially in the SEO and PPC world. Voice capabilities have improved over the years and now an ever increasing number of people are confident in using voice search as the results become more accurate.

In this article, we aren’t going to talk about how to optimise your site for voice searchers. Or how to create the right content for people searching by voice. There are plenty of sites out there offering great content for that. These below, for example, are worth a read:

Instead, we are going to talking about how voice technology can help visitors to actually use a website. When reading voice search content, the same stat kept appearing:

“20% of Google searches are voiced”

There are 3.5 billion searches per day. That would mean 700 million of them are done by voice search. That is quite a big number. When reading this stat, we asked this question:

“Do the people who use voice search want voice capabilities on the websites they go to?”

Of course, not every voice searcher will want to go to a website. They would just get the information they require as a reply from their Google Assistant or Alexa. An example of that would be people asking about the weather. However, there will be times that voice searchers will go to websites. So, will they then want voice technology on the website itself?

Adding Voice to a Website

From our research, we found a speech recognition API (Artificial Programming Interface) we believed would work well. The only downside from this particular API is that it only works on Android, even if an iPhone is using the Google Chrome app.

Firstly, we started to think of ways to add voice capabilities. How could visitors use this effectively? Would voice better their user experience on the website?

For our first ever voice friendly website, we trialled the technology with one of our clients Powerday.

Adding Voice to Site Search

We started off by adding voice to the site search box on the website. This was the perfect place to start, since most people use voice capabilities to search.

Tracking Voice Search Terms

One thing we really wanted to do in this project was to track the search terms people were using with voice. This was done by having different URLs when type searching and voice searching. When a user tapped the microphone and said their search term, the destination URL would be: /?s=search+term&cat=voice. For typed searches, on the other hand, it would be: /?s=search+term&cat=typed

In Google Analytics, you can track voice searchers by going to Behaviour > Site Search > Search Term.

You then select Destination Page as the Secondary Dimension. Once you have done that, click Advanced. It will then show the screenshot below. Select Destination Page as your Dimension and select Containing from the next dropdown. Then type voice in the last field and then click apply. This will then show all the voice search queries from the site search box.

Adding Voice to a Contact Box

We also added voice functionality to the contact form box. This was implemented because visitors can speak their query rather than typing it all out. We added an event tracking code to the microphone to track how many visitors are using this.

Adding Voice to an FAQs Page

For the last part of our voice friendly website, we created a FAQ page that features an instant search bar. We added voice functionality so users can speak the question they have. When typing or speaking, the page instantly shows the information the user wants. The microphone on the page is tracked in Google Analytics’ event tracking.

The Future of Website Voice?

Who knows what the future will hold! We would firstly like to see the speech recognition API improve, so iPhone devices can be used. But there’s so much more that voice technology could provide on a website, including helping you find exactly what you want and directing you around the site. To give you an insight into what the future could hold, we’ve put this video together.


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