Was talking with a good friend last night about voice search and the future of mobile technology. It occurred to me during our conversation that the voice search functionality baked in to the iPhone 4S has implications not only for mobile use, but for SEO as well.
User search behavior, after all, is driven by the technology surrounding search engines. Before Google, people searched for things using phone books. People had a method for searching alphabetically, and by service categories. Again, their search habits were constructed around the technology available at the time.
Then search engines came on the scene, and keyword queries began to shape and mold around common practices. We began to realize the difference between long tail and short queries, and search geeks formed terminology like stop words.
Over time, Google ninjas around the world followed suit by engineering content to match user behavior. Now, it seems user behavior might be poised for another quantum leap.
There is a language that people use when talking to Google, a language that is almost completely unique to search engines. You wouldn’t ask Google, “where is the best pizza restaurant in Dallas?”, you’d type in “best pizza restaurant Dallas”. Shorter searches mean less work, at least when you live in a world where typing is necessary for search…
Now, with voice activated searching, SEO has the possibility to get flipped upside down. People can do more with less, and it will all be hands free. Local search, which currently can be a hazard while driving, now might be an in depth conversation with your mobile device about what you should do tonight.
Natural language will be used again, at least more so than before. Will people begin to talk to search engines how they would talk to a friend? With voice search hitting mainstream this is definitely a possibility.
Will this affect the way we optimize content drastically in the next 18 months? Part of me thinks it won’t change much, at least a first, because at it’s core the searches remain exactly the same. The only difference is now Siri, Google, or whomever has to do a better job of turning natural language into search queries, and then processing the request as usual.
Still, it’s an interesting thought, and something I’ll be watching with great interest.
Related articles from the Web
- Siri, “Will you marry me?” (edibleapple.com)
- Apple Siri Demo of the Day (geeks.thedailywh.at)
- So you blog for search engines or people? (dailybloggr.com)
- Siri – The Future Of Local Search (And Everything Else) (blumenthals.com)