Corresponding with this increase in mobile device usage is the rise of what is called “voice search,” as well as the increasing prevalence of devices that contain “personal assistant” software like Alexa and Siri.People havebecome increasingly accustomed to the idea of speaking directly with computer devices and accessing information on the internet wherever and whenever they might need it.Naturally, like mobile usage in general, these emergent technologies have begun to influence search, and the impact will ikely become even more apparent as usage grows.Much in the way mobile devices have disrupted search by bringing on-the-go, local queries and results into the equation, voice search is introducing new methods of query and different results-experiences for users.Now,when a person activates voice search, particularly on personal assistant devices, most personal assistant technology will only deliver what is considered the best answer, essentially reducing the SERP to one result.That means that brands either occupy the first position, or, as far as voice search is concerned, they do not receive any attention at all.The single-result SERP isn’t uniformly true for voice search.For voice-activated technologies connected to visual displays like smartphones and laptops, there is a greater possibility for more results.Even so, brands still need to remain focused on appearing in the top results.we have seen the transformative impact of mobile on search and consumer behavior, including the shift towards the mobile-first algorithm.Voice search is the next major trend that brands will need to focus on to ensure they remain competitive.The more we understand about voice search and personal assistant devices, the easier it will be to optimize for them and ensure that your brand is represented across devices.

The role of personal assistants
As devices with artificially intelligent personal assistance software have become increasingly mainstream, so too has the use of voice search.Developers are now beginning to understand there are particular types of search queries people are more fond of using voice for, rather than text.For example “when is my meeting?” Users are 30 times more likely to use voice for these types of queries, rather than text.These personal assistants, which have been put forth by several different brands, have empowered customers to remain even more connected to the internet at all times, even when engaging in hands-on activities like cooking or driving.Customers can ask about the cook time for chicken, for example, while in the middle of preparing the meat without having to remove themselves from their original task.The report indicated that the usefulness of voice search when a user’s hands or vision were otherwise occupied was the top reason that people enjoyed the technology, followed by a desire for faster results and difficulty typing on certain devices.

How Artificial Intelligence powers voice search
Artificial intelligence powers personal assistance capabilities for mobile users.AI helps voice search and the associated algorithms to better understand and account for user intent.This intelligence, using semantics, search history, user proclivities and other factors, is able to process and understand the likely context of queries and provide results accordingly.Natural language triggers, such as “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how,” for example, make it easier for AI to understand the user’s place on the customer journey and the likely goal of the search.Voice-activated devices can then direct users to where they most likely want to be on the web.AI is essentially able to sift through voice search queries and identify the most important information, as well as the understand the intent regardless of an array of speech errors.

Voice search in practice
Voice search makes it even easier for customers to ask hyperlocal queries, which is significant in the context of a mobile-rich environment.Consider how users execute search queries differently when speaking to mobile devices rather than exploring the web via a desktop computer.Voice searches tend to contain slightly different words, such as “close” or “nearby”, which are not commonly used on desktop computers. Why?Because people tend to use mobile devices to access personal assistance software, and mobile devices are most often employed to find businesses or other locations while on-the-go.The aforementionedlanguage triggers, “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why,” are also common, setting the context for the query and what the user likely wants tofind.These queries are also most likely to contain longtail keywords, conversational phrasing, and complete sentences.All of these factors impact how brands should optimize their content to maximize its appearance in voice search.Voice searches have also become increasingly complex.

Voice search and local search: How the SEO marketer can succeed
Knowing that voice search is an emergent technology that will impact marketing at large is one thing.Understanding how to take advantage of that fact is another.For that reason, marketers should develop an array of best practices to ensure success in the wake of this incoming trend.

Tip 1.Use keyword and intent analysis to better understand the context of the queries.For marketers to be able to accurately create and optimize content for voice search, they need to know the replies that users expect when they make a particular voice search query.Then, tailor the content to meet the needs of the users.

Tip 2.Incorporate important location keywords into the content that could impact voice search.For example,Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, or Golden Gate Park might all be landmarks that people use to find a suitable restaurant in San Francisco.Incorporating these terms into your content will boost your hyperlocal presence and make it easier for you to rank for voice search.

Tip 3.Use markup to ensure that your content is ready to be displayed by Google rich results.Rich answer boxes,such as Google Quick Answers and the Local Three Pack, play a big role in providing rapid answers to user queries on-the-go.Making sure that all your content is marked up with schema will help ensure that your content is prepared to be displayed in any rich boxes that become available.

Tip 4.Make sure that each physical business location has its own site and that each site is individually optimized.This means you need to do more than just translate keywords to other languages or optimize all sites for the same terms.You need to optimize each site for the context and desires of their specific targeted audience.Learn what interests customers in that particular area through targeted keyword and intent research and make sure that each site is ready to compete within its own local sector.

Tip 5.Since a large part of succeeding with voice search is having a strong local presence, paid search and organic search teams can work together to maximize the brand’s presence.Research valuable keywords for the organization, intent, and how the brand ranks.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.