Finding Results With Voice Search

voice-300x166  One of the biggest changes that is emerging as a result of the widespread and ever-growing use of mobile devices is the use of voice search. Almost every device we use these days has some form of digital assistant that understands voice commands.

iOS has Siri. Windows has Cortana, and Google, in a slightly more subtle fashion, simply suggests you talk directly to them by tapping the microphone on the side of the search box. What was once Star Trek level science fiction is now a very common reality. We can simply talk and our devices will reach out and look for the information we seek. Most devices can even be configured so that you don’t have to touch anything to start the process, you simply start talking, and they will respond.

But what does this mean for content, marketing and search engine optimization? How does this change the way things are done, or will be done?

How Is Voice Search Being Used

According to Google’s own reports, 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search features on their devices more than once a day. So let’s just say that about half of the people you meet actively use voice search on a daily basis. That’s a lot of people.

For teens, the top 3 reasons they say they use voice search are:

  • 43% – To make a call
  • 38% – To ask for directions
  • 31% – Help with homework

For adult, the top 3 uses look like this:

  • 40% – To ask for directions
  • 39% – To dictate text
  • 31% – To make a call

Other uses in both groups include things like checking movie times, playing a song or looking for information about one, and even checking the time.

As you can see, many of the most common uses are pretty utilitarian right now. Most people aren’t looking to do any deep research. They’re using voice search features to search their own devices for things like songs and contacts, or they’re asking questions with quick and definite answers.

This, though, is only the beginning. As older generations grow more comfortable with the idea of voice search, they will begin using it for more things. It’s inevitable that its use will become more common on desktop and laptop computers, or that our mobile devices will replace them altogether, whichever comes first.

What Is Different About Voice Search?

The biggest difference between someone running a voice search and a text search is the way they phrase things.

Think about the way you enter your searches into Google when you’re looking for something. Most of the time you probably don’t use more than 2 or 3 words. For example, if you wanted to know who was the current president of China, you’d probably just type in “president china”.

Now think about how you would ask someone for that information. You’re likely to say something like “Who is the current president of China?” The difference is more natural language, and basically, more words.

This will ultimately have an effect on the concept of keywords on a page. Searches will become much more specific; more detailed. The long-tail keywords and phrases that appear on a page will become more important. As marketers trying to optimize sites for search, we’ll need to think more about the language and phrases people will use to talk about what they want, rather than trying to simply come up with more broad words that fit into many searches.

Act Now To Stand Out In The Future

As with most new technologies, those who adopt it early and learn to take advantage of it first stand to gain the most from it. Just as tactile screens threaten the extinction of mice and touchpads, voice control may soon threaten to vanquish the keyboard to a dusty museum shelf. Keep your eye on the trends and take advantage of new developments to help keep a few steps ahead of your competition.

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