Voice: The Next Frontier of Interfacing with Technology

The SEO industry is on the cusp of a massive, unprecedented disruption and transformation by voice. Among those who need to prepare themselves for this new wave are SEO specialists and owners of ecommerce websites. Voice is making the transition from a simple add-on to a novel way for us to interact with technology. It’s an entirely new arena of computing.

Every forward-thinking brand and SEO expert team should stop wasting time and be at the forefront of this new trend. In fact, an increasing number of agencies have even began setting up teams dedicated to voice.

Many industry experts believe that voice still has a long way to go. However, just as many believe that voice has already arrived, and that those who ride the trend will benefit from exponential growth. Data from Google seems to support the latter, noting that 20 percent of all searches are done through voice and by 2020, that figure may well rise to 50 percent.

The main players

If you’re at least moderately informed, you probably have a basic knowledge of the main players in the voice technology arena. As the prominence of this technology continues to rise, new competitors are beginning to join the fray.

Currently, the major voice assistants are Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana. Upcoming players include Samsung Bixby and the yet to be named assistant for Facebook.

Voice assistants make it possible to obtain information hands-free. Users need not type anything or touch the screen. This has a significant impact for users that rely on traditional methods and the Internet of Things, which is on the rise. With voice, you can create journals, manage shopping lists, get answers to various questions and perform functions such as turning off the lights.

In addition to the current rise of technology that supports voice, another reason you should begin paying attention to voice has to do with the rapid rate at which voice is improving. Presently, the accuracy level of voice is around the 90 percent mark.

However, as with the growth of all other technology in the past century, a marginal increase in that percentage would represent a huge change. Such a change, according to experts, could mean the shift from people barely using voice to everyone using it. This may happen as soon as 2018.

A radical shift in SEO techniques

It is important to note that, rather than replace the current display-based interface with technology, voice is most likely to play a complementary role. To understand this, we need only remember how TV, radio and print still play an indispensable role in our daily lives. Certainly, it may get to the point where voice search surpasses typed search.

Even so, there is likely to be a corresponding rise in the demand for traditional SERPs as a result of the rise in use of search. Site owners and SEO expert teams will have to make drastic adjustments to their SEO strategies and come up with effective methods of researching on opportunities in both typed and voice search.

To benefit from the rise of voice search, you need to start thinking about the conversational nature of the voice interface. Users have for a long time relied on concise search terms in order to get quick answers. Voice search is entirely different. It presents users with a way to discover things using natural language.

As a result, the phrases that we use to find things online will be longer. The evidence suggests that a rapidly growing number of users are using voice search for making calls, asking for directions, basic research (e.g. for homework), playing songs, checking time, etc.

It is certainly easy to assume that voice is only limited to search. However, it is important to note that there are far more opportunities for using voice, including local information, personal assistant, fun and entertainment, etc. Without doubt, information retrieval takes the lion’s share but the other areas, such as leisure, are growing.

All this raises the question: how can SEO expert teams and site owners tap into the growing prominence of voice in the industry in order to provide the most valuable answer? With the multitude of devices in play, the answer is certainly not a simple one.