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Speech recognition technology is getting better and better, and in many more applications than it ever used to be. Search engines like Google have had it incorporated into their applications for quite some time, and people of all ages are using it.  In fact, according to study by Comscore, mobile overtook fixed internet access in 2014 and now nearly 200 million consumers use mobile devices for access to the world wide web, and they are talking into their phones for things other than a phone call.  

So what does this mean for search engines and SEO?

Voice search will have some effect on search queries. Humans speak differently than they write. For example, someone might type in Starbucks to find the nearest location in a desktop, but a mobile user will open their app or ask Siri, “Where is the closest Starbucks?”. Therefore, our SEO approach needs to adjust with the times.

Query length is going to have an impact. Instead of two word phrases, they lengthen to four or five on average. To adjust, add question phrases to your keyword list. Think about how a client or customer would ask about your location, products or services, or topics of interest to form them. Also, try to keep the questions focused on action, and not passive items, as most users will be searching for something to do or use.

The other thing that voice search does, with a client asking questions or using longer phrases, is better identify the intent of the user.  In the example above, the search engine doesn’t know if the consumer is looking to visit a Starbucks, call a Starbucks, ask about franchising or purchase a mug. But when the question is asked as one normally speaks, the intent of the search is more naturally communicated.  That requires SEO changes and drilling down into keywords and phrases that can speak to the varying intent of the searcher so that results rise to the top better.

Speech recognition technology is making huge bounds rather than small steps in becoming clearer, faster and more intuitive as developers get better at programming to train neural networks faster and to use big data. This provides opportunity for businesses to better their SEO now and get ahead of the curve.

Sebastian Duque

Author Sebastian Duque

With a BAs in Marketing from Florida International University, Sebastian is fascinated by how search engine marketing is shaping consumers and markets behavior. He lives in Miami, Florida and speaks both Spanish and English. Sebastian is also the general manager at By Afro and holds various certifications in search, advanced search, display advertising and an online marketing certification from IAB Spain.

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