Voice Search: The next turning point for SEO

Image courtesy of Johan Larsson at Flickr.com

According to an article published in Forbes by Amine Bentahar, this is the year of voice search. This expert says that this is a growing trend that not only affects how users find the information they look for on search engines like Google or Bing, but represents a challenge for search engine optimization (SEO.) Any Prediction about how it will influence SEO (positively or negatively) is pure speculation. What we do know is that artificial intelligence (such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa) is moving quickly, and in a few years, voice searches will be as fast and efficient (or perhaps more) as those we so now on our smartphones.

This technology is not new (and we are not talking about science fiction supercomputers, such as HAL, from 2001: A Space Odyssey or KITT, from Knight Rider.) Actually, technology by voice commands began in the fifties, and voice searches in 2002. This is a common patron in the major trends of technology: Revolutionary ideas are only a mixture of already functional — and, maybe, forgotten — elements. At some point, this was an atypical way of looking for information, but the generalized and constant use of millions of people triggered the trend and big companies have been investing millions on it. More and more people are using this type of robots to find what they are looking for in a practical and fast way.

Some speak with distrust about it because they believe that the drastic coming changes will mean a technological involution. Among them, the current use of keywords. Voice searches will mean, in some way, the death of keywords, and with it, the whole development of the techniques and software that has been achieved so far, with all its benefits, such as the ease of predicting and redirecting the searches of users. Implementing a technology that changes the whole paradigm of Internet searches leads us to start from scratch in many ways.

In other words, this means that those working with SEO should not only broaden their strategic horizons, but the creative ones. The way of advertising needs to change. It is important to keep in mind that visual advertising (basically, images and videos) will not be useful when it comes to making voice searches. It will be necessary to create sound advertising, just like the kind we still have on the radio (and very concise, by the way,) instead of investing in commercials on YouTube and pop-ups inviting the user to consume products and services.

Read also: What can SEO analysts expect in terms of growth and opportunities?, by ReputationDefender

However, many are optimistic about it. Google is always looking to improve the user experience, to find ways to save you time and confusion. Google knows what it is doing, and this giant has made titanic efforts to make it possible to perform voice searches on Google Chrome in more than forty languages. Even the algorithms have advanced so much that artificial intelligence recognizes accents and understands that there are differences in the ways in which searches are done while typing and while merely speaking. If you want to go to the best tattoo studio in your city, you just type “best tattoo studios [your city]” on Google. When it comes to Siri, on the contrary, you just ask her as you do with someone else: “Siri, which is the best tattoo studio in town?” Maybe there are still some limitations today, and the system offers several generic results, but in a few years it will certainly be something like the magic mirror of Snow White’s witch.

Image courtesy of Annie Roi at Flickr.com

Many assimilate it as a very constructive change, an important technological development in terms of communications. Nevertheless, it is a challenge. It is necessary to work much more and update the knowledge of SEO with greater effectiveness for the simple fact that, in the future, the voice searches of users will not possibly show as many results as those of today, not even ten of them, as in the first Google search pages. Many predict that there will only be one possible result: the one that appears first on the search engine. Behind each response of your chosen robot, there will be tremendous algorithmic complexity to offer you the best result, in the tone of voice and words of a friend with whom you have a cup of coffee at work.

This, of course, is a theory, and a questionable theory, by the way. Remember that Google relies heavily on advertising, and this means to show several results per search. A voice search with a single result would imply that Google will change its entire economic infrastructure, and this is not easy considering the size of this company.

So maybe it’s not just about positioning. However, things will definitely change and you need to find new SEO strategies permanently. But if you already have some experience in SEO, digital marketing, and positioning, you will know that this is not new for you!

Recommended: How Voice Search Will Change Digital Marketing — For the Better

Your search results affect how people perceive you. Learn how ReputationDefender can help protect your online reputation.