Fresh Voice Search Ranking Report Released

Online dashboards for our Voice Search Ranking Reports

John Campbell

Managing Director & Co founder

View the report online

 

Since 2018, we have been tracking 15,000 voice searches on the Google Assistant. Results have been published publicly and have allowed us to keep track of how the Google Assistant answers different voice searches from a wide variety of verticals.

In this sixth update to the report, we’ve moved over to an online dashboard to visualise the results rather than the previous static PDF documents.

We’ve included a number of different charts and data points in the dashboard. Our paid Voice Search Ranking Reports for clients have eight pages of unique reports, which include with added data, insights and access to the raw data too.

Moving to an online dashboard means charts are interactive, you can file the results by vertical. Either selecting all, some or just one vertical at a time.

You can also chart the top ranking domain over time, which tracks which domain is most frequently being referenced by the Google Assistant.

This report is just a snapshot of the type of data we can pull using our voice search ranking reports. From these reports, we are able to generate an optimisation plan for clients to improve their visibility on voice results.

 

Insights from the Voice Search 2019 Q4 Update

  1. Slight improvement overall by the Google Assistant to answer questions

Overall, across the 15,000 key phrases, Google was able to improve its ability to answer questions.  In the last quarter, Google was able to answer 57.18% of questions, in this recent update Google was able to answer 58.8% of questions.

In Q2 2019, Google was able to answer a whopping 66.99% of questions, the highest we have recorded so far.

Improvement overall was driven by Google’s increased use of three types of results: Knowledge Graph, News Playback, Short ABR + Link to App (Read our guide on Google voice result types to find out more about these types of voice results).

Over the past two years we have seen Google increasing / decreasing types of results due to wider search algorithm changes and testing of the Google Assistant platform.

2. Increased preference on Wikipedia to provide results

In the previous two updates, we have seen Google’s increasing use of Wikipedia to provide the answer for voice results. In this latest update, there was a huge increase from 270 results in Q3 2019 to 530 in Q4.

Google’s increase use of wikipedia over time

We can split the 530 key phrases where the Google Assistant uses Wikipedia for voice results into three types;

  1. 341 new answers
    • In the previous batch, the Google Assistant wasn’t able to answer / answered in a different way, it can now and uses Wikipedia as the source.

For example “white russian cocktail” we can see that Google was unable to answer for the previous batches

 

"White russian cocktail" results

BatchResponse
Q2 2018Sorry, I don't know how to help with that yet.
Q3 2018Sorry, I'm not sure how to help with that.
Q4 2018Sorry, I can't help with that yet.But I'm always learning.
Q1 2019Sorry, I don't know how to help with that.
Q2 2019Sorry, I'm not sure how to help.
Q3 2019Sorry, I'm not sure how to help with that.
Q4 2019Wikipedia According to Wikipedia: A White Russian is a cocktail made with vodka...

The other common trend we have seen is Google changing from a definition to a Wikipedia result.

"What is an accumulator" results

BatchResponse
Q2 2018Accumulator. a person or thing that accumulates something.
Q3 2018Here's the definition of accumulator: A person or thing that accumulates something.
Q4 2018Here's the definition of accumulator: A person or thing that accumulates something.
Q1 2019This is the definition of accumulator: A person or thing that accumulates something.
Q2 2019Here's the definition of accumulator: A person or thing that accumulates something.
Q3 2019Here's the definition of accumulator: A person or thing that accumulates something.
Q4 2019Wikipedia According to Wikipedia: In a computer's central processing unit the accumulator is a register...
  1. 115 same
    • No change from the last batch, Google Assistant continues to use Wikipedia
  2. 74 taken from another domain
    • The Google Assistant used a different website but now switched to Wikipedia as the source

This increase of “new answers” will be due to Google’s search algorithm improving its ability to extract information from Wikipedia to create answer boxes / knowledge graph items.

  • Google changing / refining how results are given

We’ve also seen subtle changes in the way that the Google Assistant answer questions. For example, location results now mention a category of the type of location event, even if you didn’t use the phrase.

For example,  with the key phrase “best place to buy cereal,”the Google Assistant now mentions “Supermarket”.

"Best place to buy cereal" results

BatchResponse
Q2 2018I found a few places.The 1st one is Charlotte Street News at 66 Charlotte St in London.The 2nd one...
Q3 2018I found a few places. The 1st one is Cereal Killer Cafe Stables Market, Mezz 2, Chalk Farm Rd, London.The 2nd one...
Q4 2018I found a few places. The 1st one is Sainsbury's Local at 145 Tottenham Court Rd, London. The 2nd one...
Q2 2019I found a few places. The 1st one is Sainsbury's Local at 145 Tottenham Court Rd, London. The 2nd one...
Q2 2019I found a few places. The 1st one is Sainsbury's at 145 Tottenham Court Rd, London. The 2nd one...
Q3 2019I found a few places near you. The 1st one is Sainsbury's at 145 Tottenham Court Road London. The 2nd one is ...
Q4 2019I found a few Supermarkets near you. The 1st one is Sainsbury's Local at 21 Hampstead Road London. The 2nd one ...

We can also see Google skipping back and forth between the best way to give out results when the result has multiple items. For example, this key phrase, “what first car should I buy?”, we can see Google uses a standard answer box in Q3 2018. 

This is followed by a short answer box reading out five of the ten best cars, before asking the user if they want to hear more. In the last update, it read out seven and then sent a link to your phone with the other three…

Everytime the Google Assistant pulled information from carbuyer.co.uk/reviews/recommended/best-first-cars.

BatchResponseResult Type
Q3 2018Here is some information for: Cars to get for your first car Here's a summary from the website carbuyer.co.uk:Read on for our top 10 best reliable small cars or the best insurance group 1 cars.Skoda Citigo hatchback.,Ford Fiesta hatchback.,Peugeot 208 hatchback.and more.ABR
Q4 2018Sorry, I don't understandNo Response
Q1 2019I found 10 on the website carbuyer.co.uk. Here are the first 5. Skoda Citigo hatchback.., Ford Fiesta hatchback.., Peugeot 208 hatchback.., Hyundai i10 hatchback.., and Volkswagen Polo hatchback.. Want me to tell you more? Short ABR
Q2 2019I found 10 on the website carbuyer.co.uk. Here are the first 5. Skoda Citigo hatchback. ., Ford Fiesta hatchback. ., Peugeot 208 hatchback. ., Hyundai i10 hatchback. ., and Volkswagen Polo hatchback. . Do you want to hear more? Short ABR
Q3 2019Here's a summary from the website carbuyer.co.uk: Skoda Citigo hatchback. The Skoda Citigo has been among our Best First Car champions for a long while. While the Citigo has the same underpinnings as the Volkswagen up! and SEAT Mii it's the cheapest of the three to buy and value for money is likely to be a top priority for people buying a first car.ABR
Q4 2019 I found 10 on the website carbuyer.co.uk. Here are the first 7. Skoda Citigo hatchback. . Ford Fiesta hatchback. . Peugeot 208 hatchback. Kia Picanto hatchback. . Volkswagen Polo hatchback. Hyundai i10 hatchback. and Peugeot 108 hatchback. To see the whole list follow the link I just sent to your phone.Short ABR + Link to App

Here two possible areas are causing the adjustment; how Google is pulling information from web pages may change the way the information is given out. Secondly, the Google Assistant is setup to vary the way the information is read out the user, it then tracks which method is the most useful for the user and adjusts accordingly.

To view the report online head over to our whitepaper page to view.

John Campbell

Managing Director & Co founder

John founded Rabbit & Pork as the fourth agency and Voice Experience arm of TIPi Group. John has developed and launched several Google Actions and Skills, presented at several voice events around the UK, spoken on the VUX podcast and authored multiple whitepapers.
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