Voice search has been there for a long time but up until now, most of us usually type out the required words on our keypads. However, times are changing and according to Google reports, 55 per cent of teens are actually using voice search while 40 per cent of adults also use it on a regular basis.
Of course, these numbers don’t indicate an overwhelming population but things are certainly changing; and as mobile technology advances further, more and more people will understand the importance of voice search and start implementing it in their daily lives. IT experts are also predicting that the number of users utilizing voice search is likely to double within 5 years.
But what does it mean for written content? Will the rising trend in voice searches take over SEO and the use of necessary keywords? Let’s find out how it will impact content creation in the future.
Importance of voice search
According to the Annual Internet Trends Report by Mary Meeker the primary reason for using voice search is because it’s convenient when hands and vision are occupied. Her report also showed that 80% of voice usage is carried out in the car and at home.
The popularity of the trend is growing faster with the help from digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s voice search, and Microsoft’s Cortana. Timothy Turtle, voice interface specialist, concludes that voice search grew from 0 to 10% in the year 2015. This is equivalent to 50 billion searches per month.
Voice search and SEO
Most big businesses know the importance of organic search and are successfully incorporating SEO into their marketing strategy. However, the new technology can influence the landscape of SEO as users have a different way of conducting voice searches as they look for information online.
The biggest change that has surfaced with the use of voice searches is that keywords have become less relevant. This is mainly because rather than typing, individuals convey their query by speaking. This allows them to speak informally and more in a conversational way, thus, bypassing the need for keywords.
In short, this means we may need to re-think our content strategy and even make changes to our blogger outreach tools. With voice searches, we can expect customers to say “Okay Cortana! I’m looking for, umm what do you say, an app that will help me set reminders and stuff”. Whereas, when searching by typing, most users will write “apps that help set daily schedules” or something along those lines.
Additionally, voice searches are likely to be more abrupt as well. For example:
User: “Siri, what is the national bird of Australia?”
User: “OK, show me a pic of it.”
And Siri will definitely understand that the user is expecting a picture of Emu and will show it. This shows how much the voice managing service understands the needs of consumers and it is unlikely to find a better service with just typing.
Another factor that will encourage users to prefer voice search is ‘urgency’. According to google, most users have these micro-moments which force them to carry out a quick search on the information they require.
This means that in addition to improving basic usability, we have to make sure that our content is user-friendly and easily scanned as well. Hence, it’s a good idea to break up the content as much as possible using headers, images, bullets, and short paragraphs. This way, once the urgency occurs, you’ll be sure that the content on your site meets the required criteria.
Location plays a crucial role in searches too. In fact, 80% of searches are location based. Google also noted that “near me” searches doubled in the year 2015. And the trend has multiplied significantly in the present times, thanks to the Geo-location services available on most smartphones.
Voice searches are more location-focused than typed queries. Whether they are conducted on an urgent basis or used for directions – it is important that websites are set up properly, especially those that run a local business.
This means that relevant information, authentic reviews, and lots of photos are added for the specific business, so users don’t have any trouble finding the information they are looking for.
Voice driven systems are best utilized when they are personalized as they are also able to complete tasks on the user’s behalf such as send out emails, set up planners, and even pay for online shopping. Of course, this raises privacy and security concerns as the system is given access to emails, calendars, and other sensitive information.
To further complicate the situation, the systems are always on stand-by. This means that they are actively listening, waiting for the trigger phrase, “Ok Siri, Hey Alexa”. However, it is unclear as to where all the audio heard over the cloud computing software is stored even when the voice recognition system is not activated.
Are we ready to embrace the change?
Whether we are ready or not, the change is bound to happen. With further advancements in mobile technology, the voice driven systems by mobile companies will also become more popular. Stats are also showing an increase in interest for the voice searches and as these systems become easily available on budget-friendly smartphones, we can expect more users to adopt the emerging trend.
Of course, the change will not happen overnight and the voice search system has a long way to go before it fully matches the traditional text-based search queries. But as smart entrepreneurs, we should optimize our SEO strategy in advance and be ready to play with our competitors.
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