How will Voice Searches affect 2018?

| Voice Search

Not so long ago in 2011, a voice-operated application named SIRI short for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface was introduced by Apple. It was integrated into one of their phones , the iPhone 4s thru iOS5 which can do things such as placing phone calls, adding events to their calendars, checking the weather, setting an alarm, finding directions and playing the music.

An article from appleinsider.com, briefly explains how SIRI works:

The technology in Siri allows users to speak to their iPhone 4S in natural language, much like having a conversation. For example, saying “Are there any good burger joints around here?” provides a list of local burger restaurants. The user could then follow up with “How about tacos?” and Siri remembers that the previous request was related to restaurants.

Usually when asking SIRI for information, it uses the internet and the search engines to provide what the users need. For the question above, what SIRI does is it searches thru the internet a list of burger joints in the area, provides reviews and the map for directions. That’s how amazing personal voice assistants like SIRI does its job which made other companies follow suit and create their own: Alexa for Amazon, Cortana Windows and the Google Assistant for Google.

Wait, what’s that again? Yes, you heard it right! The search engine giant followed with the trend by developing their own, the Google Assistant. They also integrated it to mobile devices. If you want to see how it works, watch this video:

Impressive isn’t it? From the looks of it, Google has a huge plan for it to be in the forefront of how Google Search will develop. And if that happens, the question here is how will it affect the SEO industry? Will it co-exist with the current typed searches or will it eliminate typed searches?

The Rise of Personal Assistants

Major tech companies are now investing in personal virtual assistants or what we call voice searches. Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana, Google has Google Assistant, Samsung has their new Bixby, and Yandex has Alice. All of which can do basic functionalities such as setting alarms, creating to-do lists, playing music and even controlling smart devices at home.

Figures from this article can’t deny what the future holds for voice search:

According to MindMeld, in 2015 voice search jumped from zero to 50 billion searches a month. SEO company HigherVisibility surveyed 2,000 mobile phone users and found that 27% of respondents use voice search assistants daily, while another 27% use them at least once a week. This is not a thing to pass over.

Now tell me, who would pass on this opportunity? I’m sure every digital marketing company that you know would take advantage of the huge increase of voice search.

Here are things that you need to do be able to take advantage of this phenomenon:

Go Mobile

In 2016 to 2017 alone, time spent per day on mobile in the US increased by 9 minutes totaling to 3 hours and 15 minutes. TV usage still tops the average time 4 hours from 4:05 but is clearly losing its grip to mobile devices little by little. While TV is hanging on as the top medium, the gap between desktop/laptop and mobile devices are slowly increasing.

Since average time spent on mobile devices are increasing, as well as voice search increase, maybe now is the right time to optimize your website for mobile use.

Questions to Ask yourself to Know if it is mobile friendly:

  1. Is already mobile-responsive?
  2. Does it fit the screen?
  3. Are all the buttons working?
  4. Are the texts readable?
  5. What is its page load time? (You can use https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com)
  6. Does it contain Flash? (Better avoid using flash files on your site.)
  7. Are all the files crawlable? (Install the Google Search Console)

In short, do all the necessary On-site Analysis you need to improve your site for Mobile.

Evolution of Keyword Research

According to this blog post from Google,

Almost 70 percent of requests to the Assistant are expressed in natural language, not the typical keywords people type in a web search. And many requests are follow-ups that continue an ongoing conversation.

Since majority of the search requests coming from voice searches are in natural language format, we should change the way we do keyword research as well. While typed searches gathers high search volume on short-tailed keywords or broad keywords, it is more likely that a person would be using complete and long question sentences to get instant instant answers.

Aim for Position Zero and Create a Content for Voice Search

What is Position Zero? Do you know how to rank a page on position zero? Since we are now in the day and age of voice search where people asks their smartphones as if they were speaking to the information counter, creating contents that is answerable by the questions: why, what, where, when and who are most likely be chosen to be promoted on Position Zero. Providing a list type article would also be helpful.