The Impact of Voice on b2b SEO Is Likely Overstated

The Impact of Voice Search on B2B SEO Is Overstated

picture of an amazon echo The impact that voice will have on our daily lives is undeniable.  It will change the way we shop, the way we organize our lives, even the way we communicate with one another. One thing that it will not greatly affect will be b2b search. Whenever a new technology comes along, everyone gets super excited.  Remember when the Segway was going to rack up $1 billion in sales faster than any company in history? In the case of voice search, the predictions will be half-right.  People will use voice search when it is more convenient, but for a number of reasons, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri will not enter the office.  Voice search will be a part of our daily mobile lives, but for those of us that are tethered to a desk all day, there will be a number of reasons that we will not start yammering at our devices all day long.

Digital Assistants Are Not Right for the Office. (Bye Bye B2B Voice Search)

There are many reasons why digital assistants won’t become the default  in many workplaces.  Here are a few:

man covering ears because of noise from digital assistants1. The Cacophony of People Talking to Devices Would be Unbearable

Can you imagine the chaos of your office full of people talking to their digital assistants?  <shuddering at the thought> Voice search would become so disruptive of a typical office that “no voice assistant” policies would likely be put in place. While this could possibly be less of an issue in private offices, the typical office full of cubicles would not be conducive to having a few dozen employees performing internet searches on voice assistants. I expect that some offices will adopt a “no voice assistants” policy.

2. B2B Consumers Sometimes Need Various Options, not Just One

Few b2b purchases are low involvement purchases. Let’s take the example of a local insurance agent and the typical purchases that she may make.
  • Need to reorder business cards? A voice assistant could help with that. 
  • Need to find a company to order business cards for a new venture? A voice assistant is not going to let you efficiently look at all of the different options and compare costs.
  • Looking to find a developer to build a new website? You’re going to want to look at a few different portfolios; a voice assistant won’t allow you to see the work.
  • Need to hire an IP attorney? At the very least, you’re going to want to see her website and read about her a bit. 
While voice search excels at handling small tasks, it will always be an awkward way to do research.  Any sort of involved b2b purchase is likely to involve traditional desktop or mobile search.

3. People Want Privacy

In an office environment a worker can research different vendors without having to worry about prying coworkers. We’ve all worked with these kinds of people… “Did you hear Tom asking Alexa to find a janitorial company this morning?  He wasted so much time on it; why didn’t he just get a couple numbers and make some calls?” Some people don’t want their coworkers listening to their searches all day (I fall into this category).

4. Desktop Search is Faster; You Can’t Skim Alexa

As I mentioned above, it’s a lot faster to do a quick Google search and browse a few websites for options for a b2b purchase. Asking a digital assistant to perform the search will force us to sit and listen to all of the results.  

“But It’s New Technology!” You Protest…

screenshot of web traffic by device showing 85% desktop traffic for our websiteI’m the furthest thing from a Luddite when it comes to technology. That said, just because it’s new doesn’t mean that it does everything better than the current alternatives. A perfect example would be the smartphone and b2b SEO.  Mobile devices have largely taken over internet traffic, but for a b2b website like, the vast majority of our traffic still comes from desktop users.  Apparently, business owners don’t take our their cell phones to look for a web design or SEO company; they use their desktops, just like they do for their payroll, paperwork and virtually everything else. Just because the smartphone took over web traffic for the majority of the internet doesn’t mean that your traffic is going to be mostly mobile.  The reason that mobile traffic has increased is that the smartphone is more convenient for someone on the go. We can get what we want right now, a benefit that outweighs the less-than-optimal experience of awkwardly tapping and reading a 6 inch screen. At the same time, someone sitting at a desk is unlikely to forego using the 27″ screen right there in front of him, opting to squint at a 6 inch smartphone screen while searching for a WordPress developer. He’s even less likely to ask Google Assistant to find a developer for him.

Overall, Voice Search Will Take Off, Just Not In The Office


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