This article originally appeared on the Spectrum blog.
Voice Search, or Search by Voice, is anything but classic.
It's the Google product that allows you to speak your query rather than type it. It's a lot like Siri, Apple's personal assistant software, only you can use it on your desktop.
Because it’s a Google product, Voice Search is only available on desktops if you’re using Chrome. But you can also install it on your phone, tablet, laptop -- wherever -- as long as the device has a microphone you no longer have to type out your searches.
Voice Search is convenient, simple, intuitive and, according to Google, "the future of web search." Considering the success Siri has seen, there's a lot of truth to that statement.
Bing and other major search players have already adopted this type of technology. Its widespread popularity leaves little doubt that it will penetrate our lives like a boulder through thin ice -- becoming an industry standard. It's a scenario that also begs the question: how will Voice Search change SEO?
However, before we get to that it’s important to understand the root cause of the change itself. And the following six words basically sum it up:
"People write differently than they speak."
This fact is especially true when you're speaking to a machine. Here are two big, dominant ways search engine dynamics will change when you use natural language to execute queries instead of a keyboard:
1. Fewer Keywords Will Be Used In Queries
Most people won't Voice Search, "Chicago car mechanic."
Instead, they'll say something like, "Find me a great mechanic" or "I need a mechanic."
The latter is natural language. It’s what we feel most comfortable saying.
People don’t want to constantly consider their keyword usage when they're speaking. They just want to be understood as soon as possible. Nobody cares that you've spent months optimizing your website with keyword rich content and title tags. In fact, a lot of folks may not even know these practices exists.
To adapt to this issue, business owners may need to start implementing more long-tail keyword strategies on their websites. Long-tail keywords are phrases, not individual words. Therefore, they have the potential to drive more traffic to a site because there's less competition for them.
2. Queries Will Be Longer
Voice searches tend to be long-winded.
Perhaps this is because talking is easier than typing so we do it more freely? Or maybe the process puts people into a conversational frame of mind? Or maybe we feel a small degree of pressure after we press the microphone icon and hear the tone? (Ever leave an unnecessarily wordy voicemail?)
Whatever the reason, Search by Voice produces longer, more convoluted queries than the "original" method.
To work around this, search engines may have to make some profound algorithmic changes. What if in the future, search engines were programmed to summarize the gist of a query rather than simply isolating keywords from it? What would the SEO landscape look like then?
The impact Voice Search will have on search engines and the websites they catalog is still grey matter at this point. What we do know is that this technology is here to stay, and with it will come longer queries, less eywords and big changes. It's a testament to the malleable nature of search engine optimization. It also serves as a reminder that quality SEO providers will always adjust their strategies to suit the requirements of search engines and deliver for their clients. So while your Internet marketing approach may change, the results you're after never have to.