It was not too long ago that most people would be shunned for speaking to their phones in public. As a concept, virtual assistants like Siri were subject to skepticism, citing concerns regarding privacy and capability limitations. It was a science fiction dream that didn’t look fit to venture beyond the movie screen for the near future.
Voice Assistants Are Getting Popular
That is no longer the case today. Thanks to the wider acceptance of electronics and sensors in our lives, the increased level of competition in the virtual assistance space from companies like Amazon and Google, and the advancements in processing power and AI, virtual assistants are being used more than ever before. Drawn by the quicker, more organic way of simply telling your phone what to look for, usage rates for using phones for search has increased dramatically. So why should you, as a website owner, care?
A Change in SEO
SEO has long been reliant on people typing in their search queries and using keywords to bring them certain information. While the basic concept of this will remain the same, everything surrounding it will likely change. With this change will come the need to adapt, and create new SEO strategies that are effective against this new search medium.
One of the biggest adjustments you can expect to adapt to would be the changes in the way Google processes queries and pulls up results. Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, which was released back in 2013, aimed to achieve a deeper understanding beyond simple keywords by analyzing sentence structure, leading to more complex queries being understood by Google. This will be taken to another scale entirely when analyzing voice commands, as speaking is inherently different from writing. Users will be more likely to utilize phrases and descriptions as opposed to stating a keyword and nothing more, prompting Google to get far more specific with what they are looking for. To adapt your site’s content to be favorable to this new algorithm will likely spark challenges that have yet to be encountered previously.
Search Result Changes
Another notable change is how search results will show. While the traditional competition for the 10 positions on the first page will continue to exist, competing for a spot on the results a voice assistant provides will be even tougher, thanks to increased variables regarding how the result will appear.
Differing Mediums of Searching
One major variable will be the device used to make the search. There are multiple devices one can conduct a voice search, whether it be on an Apple or an Android, and then beyond that will come the question of whether the search occurs on the device’s native OS, or on a third-party app within the phone (ie: Google app). Each of these ways of searching come with a different way of presenting these results, and optimizing your website for all of them will be a very tough challenge. This only increases the importance of having a properly built website that is geared towards receiving traffic.
Differing Ways of Presenting Results
Another huge mitigating factor is whether the result will be spoken or shown onscreen. Onscreen displays are likely to be more competitive than regular searches on a browser, as it is usually a preview of sorts, with fewer results showing less information per result making it difficult to stand out, if you can make it there. Even more challenging are results that are read out by the assistant, as they restrict the number of results shown to just one. This is a major appeal for those who use voice search, as roughly 47% of respondents to a survey stated that they enjoyed voice search for that reason. This is usually for queries that request something extremely specific like the weather in a certain location, the closest Chinese restaurant near them, or great Salmon recipes. Optimizing your site to be the obvious choice for that certain query will be an incredibly difficult task. How SEM will be affected by this new form of result delivery is also a question that remains unanswered.
These challenges are only set to grow over the next few years, and it is vital to ensure that your SEO methods evolve with the algorithms and tools introduced. To keep businesses competitive in this race, Boston Web Marketing is committed to ensuring that our clients remain competitive and searchable on Google. If you feel like your business could use a boost in online presence and searchability, contact us or submit an inquiry. We’d love to work with you!