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The Utah DMC Blog

Purna Virji | DMC 2016

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Are you Ready for Voice Search?

Purna started out her presentation by recounting a memory in her life when she was in a motorcycle accident. She fell off the motorcycle and badly injured her hands. At this point, it was nearly impossible to use her hands. Using her phone was far too difficult, so instead, she started using the voice command function on her phone. While voice search wasn’t commonly used before the injury, it was a very helpful resource when hands weren’t available. The experience of using voice search on a phone, led Purna to explore the growth and potential of voice search in the future.

The first question addressed to the audience was, “When are we using voice search?” A couple responses were: quick answers, pre-occupied with something else, and challenges typing. Purna expects that by 2020, 50% of search queries will come from voice as opposed to typing. As the technology of voice recognition continues to improve, it is logical to expect Purna’s prediction to come to fruition.

Purna stated that the improvements in voice search has helped users become more comfortable with the technology. The three main platforms in which voice search is used on mobile devices are Siri for iOS, Google Now for Android, and Cortana for Windows. Most everyone has at least tried out the functionality of at least one of these voice recognition platforms.

As the technology continues to improve for voice search, Purna presented a number of tips and suggestions that search marketers should keep in mind for the future:

    • Rethink keywords - It is important to remember that there are command based voice searches and question based searches. Be sure to consider the language that someone searching for your product or service would use when performing a voice search.
    • Rethink local mobile search - If you are a local business, it is vital to understand what information your customers are looking for in your business. Be sure to utilize location search extensions. 76% of mobile searchers look at data in the location extensions (business hours, location, etc.)
    • Rethink intent - As more data is gathered on voice searches performed, we will be able to discover the intent of those searches.
    • Rethink branding - If your brand name is hard to pronounce, it can be difficult to search for via voice. With our current technology, machine learning cannot recognize mispronunciations. Consider alternatives if your brand is hard to search for via voice as it continues to grow in common use.
    • Rethink actions - Think about solutions that can be given for an action. For example, if someone does a voice search for “I’m hungry”, will your restaurant or cafe show up in the search results? This can be applied to numerous other action-related searches!

As technology continues to grow, voice will become more and more of a normality in our interactions with technology. Purna believes that we have just barely scratched the surface when it comes to voice search. We are just now seeing virtual assistants gain the ability to talk to other bots (retail and other companies). Also, we haven’t yet developed any way to get analytical data about voice search.

With the vast potential and growth of voice search, Purna urged the audience to become an early adopter. She believes that early adopters always have the advantage. “The time to adapt for voice search is right now”, Purna stated in closing. It is clear that voice search will continue to influence search marketing and marketers should prepare now.

Enjoy the recording below!

Topics: Event Recaps sem seo DMC2016