What is Voice Search and how it will impact businesses

voice search and SEO Ever found yourself in need of a restaurant or a shop while driving, and your Sat Nav offers some pretty poor suggestions? You could take your phone and ‘Google’ it but driving and handling a mobile phone are two things that don’t mix well. The alternative? Asking your personal intelligent assistant, being Siri from Apple, Cortana from Microsoft, Alexa from Amazon, or Google Assistant.

These are the four main virtual assistants on the market today, and although it is still early days in the use of this technology, research shows that businesses should start to pay attention. According to Campaign, 40% of mobile users are turning to their voice search on a daily basis. But what is the impact for businesses?

First of all, the way we search on virtual assistants is different from the way we do searches ‘in the box’. When ‘Googling’ we tend to use keywords like ‘Best Italian restaurant in Surrey’, however when we talk we are more likely to use a proper sentence, like: ‘What are the best Italian restaurants in Surrey’? This means that businesses will need to work harder on their SEO strategies to develop and share content that answers specific questions about ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘who’, and ‘when’.

The second important point is the search engine itself. Currently Google, not surprisingly, is the primary search engine with a staggering 84% of coverage on mobile phones. However, if you thought that Bing/Yahoo would be in the second position you will be surprised to discover that it is in fact Siri, as this report from Search Engine Land shows: Siri is Google’s nearest mobile search competitor [Report]

This means that businesses will not only need to pay attention to Google algorithms, but also to the ways that various virtual assistants search for answers to queries. This brings us to the last point: the growing importance of location.

Assistants like Alexa rely on apps like Yelp to provide answers on businesses, which means that local business will need to rely on vertical apps, review websites, and Google My Business to get exposure.

But Alexa is not the only one. Google Assistant, like Google in general, bases its search results on criteria that include mobile friendly websites and geo-location.

Personally, I believe that the introduction of Voice Searches will bring us one step further away from the gimmicks of SEO, like backlinks, alt tags, exact keywords matching, and one step closer to optimal user experience. Ultimately, voice search and search engines are there to provide the right answer to the users’ questions, which might well not be the answers companies want the users to receive. However, if companies embrace change and offer users a one-stop solution for their queries, they will be in the running to lead the SEO battle.

Giulia Iannucci is a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant with 14 years of experience gained across the EU, Australia, Asia and the UK. Founder of her own business, KnowThyBrand, Giulia helps her clients position their brand as the cornerstone of their company, and guide them in creating professional and compelling digital marketing campaigns.

Follow: @Giulia_KTB


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