Voice search has been nothing new. In 2011 Apple released Siri, a virtual voice-activated assistant that had, among its other features, search capability. However, it is in recent years that virtual assistants have shot up in popularity, with Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana in 2015, Google Assistant in 2016, and Siri’s most recent integration in the form of the Apple Homepod just last year in 2018. With this rapid succession of releases came widespread adoption, as almost 20 million speakers sold in the third quarter of 2018 alone. But with this massive boost in sales came a big question: how will this change the way people search for information?
How Individuals Search
While voice-activated search queries have always been a thing, they have always been somewhat of a smaller niche, and therefore have not been given as much thought. However as its popularity grew, the SEO community have begun to discuss its potential future as the mainstream method of inputting searches, and the subsequent differences website will have to adapt to. For one, wording and sentence structure will be significantly different.
For example, instead of typing in “popular salmon recipes”
Searchers will likely say: “Google, What are some popular salmon recipes I can cook?”
Thanks to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, it can understand the more conversational query, and pull the relevant keywords from a sentence that previously consisted of the entire query itself. However, as a result of this search rankings will be different, as relevancy will be determined through the sentence structure as a whole rather than a few keywords. This is already occurring slowly, as Google shifts towards analyzing whole content structures in order to determine subject matter. As a result, SEO methods centered around constant usage of keywords may not be as effective as before.
SEO and Voice Search
Another notable change is how search results are likely to appear. Currently, with typed search, results are being shown in listings of 10 per page, plus ads. However, with voice assistants, space for end results are likely to become much smaller. Many voice searches are done on smartphones, where results are restricted to a handful of summarized listings, and the presentation of said results widely varies depending on the subject matter and the app/OS used. In the case of smart speakers, it is even more competitive, as the results are usually a single result spoken out in a summarized manner. In short, the number of variables determining what the searcher sees at the end increases dramatically, leading to a number of uncertainties SEO reps will have to consider. While it’s still early and how results appear is most likely subject to change, it is important to stay on top of happenings in this area as it develops, for it may very well be the future of SEO.
If you are looking for a way to adapt to this new wave of change and feel like you could use some professional expertise in doing so, our representatives over at Boston Web Marketing can help. We aim to use the latest SEO methods to ensure that our clients rank well in search results, ensuring them the traffic they need to acquire new business. Contact us at 857-526-0096 or reach out to us through our online contact form for more information.