Typically, if you ask Siri a question or request a search, she plugs your words into Google and presents you with the results. Siri acts as your secretary, just typing out what you dictate. Google’s own voice search function works similarly. In this way, voice-search technology has had very little affect on search engine optimization (SEO), simply treating voice search as it would any other search engine entry. But as voice technology grows in use and continues to evolve, search engines are sure to evolve along with it, introducing a radically different element to SEO. Voice-search technology may even have the power to shape the future of SEO. Here’s how.
Voice Search On the Rise
With the introduction of Microsoft’s Cortana in recent years and Amazon Echo’s Alexa in 2015, virtual personal assistants are spreading to new devices, new companies, and new users. Competition among cellphones and other devices is also driving more sophisticated voice technology. A 2014 study found that over 50% of teenagers use hands-free search in their daily lives. While the number was closer to 40% among adults, that number has surely grown among both demographics in the last two years.
Multiple studies show mobile devices not only account for the majority of online traffic, but a very large majority, and one that grows by the day. As cellphones, tablets, and other devices grow in popularity, the voice features associated with them naturally gain more users as well. Last year Google modified its algorithm to place greater emphasis on the mobile-friendliness of websites when ranking SEO. Future updates may well shift voice-search to a higher priority, as well.
So how might voice technology impact the SEO strategies of content marketers?
As changes roll out in accordance with voice-search technology, SEO strategists will need to adjust their practices to account for them, factoring in whatever new elements come with the future of SEO. It is interesting to ponder what such an update by Google or other search engines would look like. Could a search engine’s algorithm take into account a voice-search user’s tone, nationality, or gender? Could it then target specific results in that way? Probably. As any frequent online shoppers know, targeted ads have been on the rise for several years. The voice-search feature on your phone already accounts for geographical location when you ask questions such as “Where is a nearby gas station?” Content can be built in such a way as to answer frequently searched questions and to target other SEO elements such as geographically-specific queries.
Understanding the Future of SEO
As new technology and updates unfold, Huckleberry Branding will be sure to stay at the forefront, using our insider knowledge to help clients in a variety of markets and industries. If you have questions about SEO or marketing, contact us at [email protected].