The Impact Of Voice Search On SEO
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the most important marketing functions a company can do. SEO is the process of optimizing a company’s website in a way that will make them more visible in search engine (such as Google) rankings and drive more organic traffic to their website. A couple decades ago, SEO didn’t even exist. But today, it might be the most crucial part of a marketing plan.
Skeptical about SEO’s importance? What if we told you that Google handles 2.3 million searches every second? That’s over 100 billion searches a month, or over 1.2 trillion searches a year. And that’s just on one search platform.
Whatever business you may be in, it can be reasonable to assume that there’s a good chunk of people searching for something that your company offers. They’re your potential customers, and SEO makes sure that they find you. This is why SEO is so important.
Most big businesses have picked up on this and incorporated SEO into their marketing plans. However, much like how SEO impacted the marketing industry, a new technology is having a big impact on SEO. Voice search is changing the way people search for information online, and that means that you should be changing your SEO strategies too.
The impact voice search is making in SEO is big, and it’s going to keep getting bigger. So if you’re a marketer, listen up. Optimizing for voice search is the future of SEO.
The Rise of Voice Search
Voice search is made possible by speech recognition technology. Engines like Apple’s Siri can understand what you’re asking for and search the internet for the information you’re looking for, eliminating the need to type search quarries into search engines like Google or Bing. Many of these voice recognition systems also use text-to-speech technology to read aloud the results of the search.
When this natural language interface first reached the mainstream market in 2011 with Siri, there was much to be desired with voice search. Speech recognition wasn’t quite good enough to understand users and search for what they were looking for.
However, advances in speech recognition technology have made voice search more reliable and usable. This has led to an unprecedented growth in its usage. You may have seen voice search in the news a bit lately, and that’s because market analysts have noticed a big increase in voice search volume this past year.
Timothy Tuttle spoke about the rise of voice search, among several other speech technology trends, at LSA16 this past March in San Francisco. This is the annual conference the Local Search Association puts on to discuss innovations and trends in the marketing, advertising, and search industries. The insights Tuttle delivered were some of the biggest of the conference.
Perhaps the most jaw-dropping statistic Tuttle mentioned was that in 2014, voice search represented nearly zero percent of total search volume. But in 2015, voice search shot up to account for 10 percent of all search volume globally. According to Tuttle, that’s now about 50 billion searches a month being conducted by voice.
Other industry insiders have noticed the upward trend of voice search. Speaking at SMX West in March, Google Zurich’s Principal Engineer Behshad Behzadi reported that 41 percent of adults and 55 percent of teens use voice search on a daily basis.
The use of voice search is expected to continue growing. Voice search has the potential to become a major search medium very soon.
So Why Is The Rise Of Voice Search Impacting SEO?
As mentioned earlier, SEO is the process of driving organic traffic from search to your website. Now that people are conducting online searches more with their voices, marketers need to rethink the way they approach SEO.
To show you why you need to rethink your SEO strategy, let’s illustrate the difference between voice search and traditional search.
Let’s say you’re a home owner, and one morning you notice a leak beneath your kitchen sink that has flooded your house. You need to get a plumber to your house fast. You log on to your laptop and open a search engine to search for a plumber, what do you type?
Most people would type a short collection of one or two keywords. Popular search quarries would include “plumber”, “plumber near me”, or “plumber appointment”.
Now, let’s say instead of doing a traditional search, you pulled out your smart phone and did a voice search. What would you say?
The search quarries would be much more conversational and natural. Search quarries would include, “I need a plumber to come to my house” or “There is a leak in my kitchen sink”.
Traditional searches focus a lot on individual keywords. Voice searches are long-tailed, more natural to the way we normally communicate, and reveal greater intent.
SEO has always been about finding the important keywords and optimizing your website. So when people search those keywords, your website shows up first on the results page. However, if marketers continue to focus on short-tailed or individual keywords, they’re going to miss out on all the traffic coming from voice search.
Marketers now need to focus on more specific, long-tailed keywords to drive traffic from voice searches. If you’re a marketer, think about what a potential customer would ask if they were in need of a product or service you offer. Users aren’t searching with short keywords anymore.
Search engines that feature a natural language user interface are going to have more knowledge on what of user is searching for when they do a voice search. It’s going to be the marketing expert’s job to optimize their website for those search quarries and convince search engines that their websites have the answers the user is looking for. Because when they do, they’ll be first on the search engine’s results page.
Thanks to Speech Technology, Voice Search Will Continue to Grow
Speech technology has come a long way in the past couple years. In 2013, the word accuracy rate for Google’s voice recognition platform was under 80 percent. In 2015, it was over 90 percent. This improvement is one of the main reasons why voice search has become more popular over the last year.
Text-to-speech has also improved to the point where our devices no longer sound robotic. A natural voice paired with an accurate speech recognition engine has made applications like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Echo more useable because it’s like having a conversation with another person.
With speech technology continuing to advance and improving the way we interact with our devices, it’s safe to assume that voice search is going to become a lot more popular in the years to come.
What do you think?
Have you used voice search? Have you changed your marketing plans because of it? Let us know in the comments!
Learn More about NeoSpeech’s Text-to-Speech
To learn more about the different areas in which Text-to-Speech technology can be used, visit our Text-to-Speech Areas of Application page. And to learn more about the products we offer, visit our Text-to-Speech Products page.
If you’re interested in adding Text-to-Speech software to your application or would like to learn more about TTS, please fill out our Sales Inquiry form and one of our friendly team members will be happy to help.