“Ok, Google, what’s the weather like outside?”
Google tells me the temperature and the forecast.
My friend: “Why don’t you just stick your head out the door?”
Me: “It’s easier this way, and besides, it’s winter and cold.”
You can speak faster than you can type on a phone keyboard unless you’re The Flash. And let’s admit it, most of us aren’t The Flash.
This is exactly what Google is hoping as they push their very useful voice search option. They’re hoping that people will decide it’s too much work to type or that really, I don’t want to be distracted from my driving.
Voice search really is convenient. It’s the next step in search technology. And nearly 20% of all mobile searches are voice search.
What, then, does this mean for SEO?
1. What Can Voice Search Do?
Voice search will serve a different purpose than traditional search. You won’t use voice search for every search you want to do.
Regular search still is superior for helping you search for what you don’t know you want to search for. Predictive search isn’t possible for voice search, at least not yet.
But there are other reasons why you might want to use voice search over regular search. There also things it has to be capable of that regular search doesn’t.
Ability to Hear Spelling
English is a confusing language. We use various meanings for the same word.
If you search for plains and get search results for planes, you can spell it out for Google. P-L-A-I-N-S.
Google Can Now Follow Up
We see it all the time in films that feature AI. You can ask it to bring something up and it continues to follow what you’re doing.
You want a model of an F-15 fighter jet, so you ask the AI to bring one up. Before you is a hologram of an F-15. You then ask the AI, “Can you make it bigger?”
The AI knows what “It” means by context.
Google can do this. Well, it can’t give you a hologram, but it can follow what you’re doing and remember your previous searches.
As an SEO, this is important to understand. You’ll want to optimize around subjects.
Ask yourself what other aspects of this topic might someone want to know about. Then create content and use keywords focused on filling in those gaps.
It Will Know Where You Are
You don’t have to reference your location when using voice search. Google will automatically take that into account.
If you ask, “What’s the soonest showing of Justice League?,” it won’t need to hear you say, “At the Grand Cinemas in Benton Harbor.” It will already know that’s your closest theater.
It Will Know What App You’re In
If you search for something relevant to the app you’re in, Google will know the context.
If you have a recipe app open and you say, “Show me a similar recipe,” Google will know what you’re looking for.
It Will Know What’s On Your Screen in General
So, it really doesn’t matter where you are on your phone or the internet, Google will know and respond. Almost kind of creepy, huh?
It will even know a little bit about you. You can already see this with various Chrome features, but Google will be a little bit more personal.
Google can know who you are when you ask it things like “Where’s my favorite bar again?” It will know that the “my” refers to you.
2. Long-Tail Keywords Are More Important Than Ever Now
People don’t just say, “Ok, Google, Movies New York City” when they are using voice search. They actually treat Google voice search like a person. They actually ask it questions.
Whether this is a natural occurrence or something we’ve been trained to do through countless films featuring AI assistants, it doesn’t really matter. This is how we interact with our new search companion.
And SEO now has to adapt to this type of search.
If you’re not using long-tail keywords already, you’re going to have to start soon. They way we use voice search means that short-tail keywords aren’t effective anymore.
You have to niche down those keywords to actually catch voice searches. You have to use phrases that put you closer to the point of purchasing.
But this will be beneficial to you the marketer.
It’s Good News
It’s much easier to rank for long-tail keywords. We call these keywords “low-hanging” fruit.
And don’t worry, if you search hard enough, you can find long-tail keywords with decent search volume.
Long-tail isn’t about the length of the keyword, but more about the specificity of the keyword.
People are going to be very specific if they use voice search. They have a question and want it answered.
To tailor your long tail search to voice-search, you’ll have to include mostly questions. Or you can find long-tail keywords that fit within specific questions someone might ask.
3. Mobile Search Gets a Boost
It’s already important to be mobile friendly. But it’s going to be imperative that you’re mobile friendly now that voice search is on the rise.
Google won’t put you in any voice-search rankings if you aren’t mobile friendly. That’s just silly.
People are obviously using their mobile device when using voice search. Your site will definitely have to be optimized for mobile use if you want to rank for voice search.
Voice Search is the Future
You can’t avoid voice search. It’s coming to a cell phone near you whether you like it or not.
Get your optimization efforts in gear. You’ll have to adapt or die. But isn’t that always the case in SEO?
If you’re looking for more content on search optimization, check out our other content on the topic.