Searchers are doing away with keywords and tiny keyboards. Instead, they’re opting to use their voices to ask search providers for exactly what they need, in much the same way that they’d ask a friend. Voice search may be in its infancy, but it’s fast becoming a more popular and convenient way for users to find the information they’re looking for on the web.
With an ever growing number of smartphone users – over 145 million in the United States as of August 2013, an increase of more than 15 million since the start of this year – voice search will likely continue to increase in popularity thanks to the enhanced user experience it offers these on-the-go searchers. As it does, search engines and businesses alike will need to decide if they’re optimized to meet the needs of the spoken, long-phrased requests of their users.
Search providers and phone manufacturers have already started to make search simpler and smarter for users who choose to speak their queries. Google just released a new search algorithm that pays particular attention to conversational search, taking into account the way users phrase their queries. Apple finally removed the “beta” designation from its virtual digital assistant, Siri, after making several major updates in iOS7, including Twitter and Wikipedia integration. Bing has also made significant updates in a new iPhone app and is now the new default search engine for Siri.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR SITE PUBLISHERS AND SEO?
As significant as these voice search developments are, major SEO rules for site publishers remain the same: have a frequently updated, original site with high-quality content. In fact, following these rules is now more important than ever, as search engines are changing, and will continue to improve, their algorithms to bring more relevant results to users when they speak in full sentences, using natural language. The focus is shifting away from concentrating on matching specific keywords, and so should you. Create content that provides real value to current and potential clients to differentiate yourself from your competition; voice search is just going to make it easier for them to find it.