Voice Search has been around for some time now for those in the smartphone market, however at this point it doesn’t appear to be very heavily adopted, particularly in the Australian market. In some cases, its issues regarding the interpretation of the Australian accent that causes issues, in other scenarios background noises make it difficult to use, but despite what you might consider to be a slow start, this technology is only going to become increasingly popular as people become more accustomed to the function. Whether it be in their car, through their Google Glass or on their phone, voice search use will continue to grow.
(image courtesy of Search Engine Land)
One of the reasons behind growth in voice search, I believe, will be the current relationship between young adults and multi-tasking. The use of multiple devices at the same time is already commonplace and voice search is going to be another lifestyle addition that will make doing 5 things at a time easier.
So, if voice search use becomes more popular, what does this mean for SEO?
When people speak to their device to conduct a search, the language will naturally change to a more conversational tone, than the current way that users predominantly search. An example might be the search phrase “car servicing Brisbane”, which could change to variations such as “I want to find a car mechanic in Brisbane” or “I’m looking for car servicing in Brisbane”.
Whilst long tail searches already make up the majority of phrases entered into search engines, the number of long tail searches will increase even further, potentially by a very large number, based on different uses of “filler” words or conversational phrases that individuals adopt. A strong content marketing strategy will be needed to cover the potentially large number of search phrases available to target.
There may also be a change in the types of searches that people do. Currently, most people looking for directions to Grill’d in New Farm might first search “Grill’d New Farm”, then visit the website, find the address, then enter that address into Google Maps. This process could be sped up if a user starts to search directly for “driving directions to Grill’d in New Farm”.
While there might be an increase in long tail searches or a shift in the search phrases used, this doesn’t mean that people will stop searching for the phrases they currently do. People will still use their existing devices for the traditional style of search input, you just have to be able to cater for both!
Browser-based search isn’t going anywhere, people are just going to search more frequently and differently dependent on their situation or device. Search marketers still need to stick to targeting browser-based search results and gain the majority of their traffic from there.
For search marketers, an increase in voice search activity doesn’t mean that existing strategies need to change, but that they need to expand. It just adds a new dimension to what is encompassed under the umbrella of search. The businesses that focus on improving their strategies and keep up with advancements in new search technologies will be the ones that lead the market in years to come.