ASO voice search

Voice search is finally coming of age. With digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, Google Home and Alexa getting better by the day, more and more people are using their voice to get information and automate daily tasks. It’s no surprise that ASO is effected from voice search as well.

Last year, Google reported that 20% of all mobile searches on their platforms, were voice searches. This report says that voice searches last year doubled, from the year before. In another study, Siri was the primary search engine for 13% of iPhone users.

Why are so many people using voice search?

According to this survey from Statista, for many people, it’s simply quicker than going to a website or opening an app.

Voice search survey results

Source: Statista

Right now, the most common use of voice search is to ask for directions. But as voice search becomes more accepted, it should filter down to things like ordering pizza and yes…App Store Optimization.

So you need to understand how this fundamental shift in the way that people search for things will affect ASO. In this post, we will go over what you need to know to jump on this rising trend and stay ahead of the crowd.

The Biggest Difference Between Voice Search and Mobile Text Search

In order to see how voice search differs from text search, simply write down how you would search for an app on the app stores, first with your mobile keyboard and then with your voice. Imagine yourself in situations where you are looking for several different types of apps.

For starters, let’s say that you are looking for a to do list app. On your mobile phone, you might search the app stores for something like:

“to do list”

However, if you asked a digital assistant to find an app for you, the request might sound something like:

“I need a to do list app”

Actually, those two searches are pretty similar.

Where things start to get complicated is when people state a general problem and want the digital assistant to figure out the solution. 

For example, to find a to do list app, someone might ask:

“How do I get organized?”

Another voice query might be something like:

“What’s a user friendly checklist?”

As you can see, natural language searches add a lot of variables to keyword searches. This is good and bad for app marketers.

It’s good because longer search strings mean that there will be more keywords to target. In other words, there will be more long-tail keywords available.

On the other hand, this means that you will have to do a lot more research when choosing your app’s target keywords.

ASO Voice Search Strategy

The best place to start when it comes to optimizing your app for voice search is question searches.

For example:

  • How do I _____?
  • What’s an app for ______?
  • Where can I find information on ______?
  • When does ________?

Again, think about questions that your users might have when they are looking for an app like yours. When we studied these question keywords, we found that “what” has the highest Search Score on the US App Store.

Question keywords

Of course, these keywords are part of app names and that’s why they show up in our keyword database. But since the keyword “what” has a higher than average search volume, that is the first type of search question you should analyze.

In addition, you should make your app description and other metadata text is as conversational as possible, so you have the best chance of ranking well for voice search queries.

Deep Linking and Voice Search are a Perfect Match

If your app has a website with deep linking into your app, it becomes even more important to answer frequently asked questions on your topic. Ranking well for web voice searches is a great way to get more people to download your app.

Yelp is an app that does an excellent job of ranking for specific user queries. Here’s an example of the mobile results when I search for a local coffee shop, specifically for working.

Find coffee shops


It still remains to be seen how much of an impact voice search will play in App Store Optimization. But if current trends continue as they have, you will have to pay much more attention to how people use natural speech patterns to find apps.

…and that is a good thing.

Voice searches give us much more insight into what users are looking for and should help more quality apps get discovered.

As with anything else in ASO, you need to test out your ideas and see how well they work. Some niches will benefit from voice search, while it might have less of an impact in others.

But when it comes to leveraging voice searches, don’t stop at ASO. Can you add voice activated features into your app to make it easier to use?

Regardless if you like it or not, voice commands are the next big thing.

Stay ahead of the curve and be prepared.