How Voice Search Could Affect The Future Of SEO

Voice-based search queries have not traditionally been a significant consideration for search engine optimization (SEO); people usually would rather type their queries into a webpage directly, avoiding the errors and that can come with automated voice translation. However, voice recognition technology is becoming more accurate and pervasive, making it a possible influencer for future search engine algorithm developments. At the moment, voice search is a rising influence, though not yet a prominent influence, so its role in the world of search is still being explored and understood. But if Google and Apple continue refining their voice-based technologies, search marketers everywhere will need to adjust their strategies to accommodate them.

Voice Search Today

Voice search currently exists in a few different forms. Most notably, Google offers a voice search function on its site, noted by a microphone-shaped icon that’s tucked away and rarely noticed. With this system, users can speak their queries aloud rather than typing them, conveniently initiating a search without ever touching a keyboard.

Voice search also exists in the form of virtual personal assistants, like Apple’s Siri. Siri has become exceptionally more sophisticated over the years, and can now help users with organizing tasks and storing information in addition to performing Web searches.

Google reports that 55 percent of teens are now using voice search, with 40 percent of adults currently using it. Those numbers don’t indicate an overwhelming majority by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re certainly up from numbers we were seeing just five years ago. Voice search is becoming more popular, and will likely continue to grow as the technology becomes more advanced and accurate.

Important Qualities of Voice Search

A person using voice search usually has different intentions than a person using traditional search. Similarly, while the fundamental search algorithm is the same for both voice and traditional search, there are different query types that voice search tends to fall under. Understanding these differences can help you prepare for an audience who prefers voice search, and can help you adjust your strategies to accommodate them.

Keywords Take Another Step Back

Google has been diminishing the relevance and power of keywords, because too many search marketers fell into a habit of over-optimizing their content by stuffing keywords into content and as anchor text for backlinks, and not enough webmasters were focusing on content that simply delivers value to human readers. The Panda algorithm update, which started rolling out in 2011, fought back against this, starting to eliminate keyword-based search results in favor of broader and more sophisticated means of populating relevant pages in search results.

Voice search makes keywords even less relevant; rather than typing individual words into a search bar, users speak their query, usually into a phone. Doing so naturally encourages users to speak in a conversational way, creating unique and different queries to be processed by search engines, bypassing the need for keywords and instead rewarding sites with content that falls in line with the user’s request.

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