With over 4million iPhone 4s’s sold in the first 3 days of release (and iPhone 5 just around the corner) Siri and Voice search is now in the hands of a huge base of your clientele. Siri and similar are expanding onto other platforms and devices at an alarming rate, so with Voice Search being the trendy new way to find just about anything via your mobile phone, have you considered the impact that this new style of search is having on your marketing strategy?
Don’t all panic, it won’t overtake the traditional Google touch-type method for a little while just yet. But here is all you need to know about how to get “Siri-ous” (Sorry, we couldn’t resist that one!) with your mobiles, and what this means for your SEO.
So, How Does Voice Search Actually Work?
You pick up your phone, you carry out a fairly generic search. “Where is the nearest Italian restuarant?”
Unlike our traditional more ‘lazy’ style of desktop Google searching, (Did you know 95% of people in the UK Google the website they need, despite already knowing the address? We all know we’ve done it one time or another!) Siri works a little differently.
Depending on the question asked, Siri gathers information not only from Google, but the tool that best fits the job its been tasked. For example, Yelp is the go-to for Siri for location based questions such as above, not the assumed Google Places. For more generic questions, information can be gathered from the web from Wolfram Alpha as well as the generic Google search.
The exact algorithm for Siri isn’t completely known (and lets face it, thats a whole other article and level of technical expertise!), but what we do know, is that marketing strategies need to be optimised for this new type of search, and targetting a wider variety of sites and techniques, than relying on just our old friend Google.
Creating a well optimised local search strategy is step one in making Voice Search work for you. You should already be listed in Google Places (if you followed our advice from the beginning of the year that is – “Is Your Marketing Strategy ‘fit’ for 2012?“) but there are other bases that worth covering to maximise your ‘local’ presence.
Set up a presence on other sites such as Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Yelp, Facebook Pages, Yellow Pages, to name a few. It’ll take a little time, and unlike Google Places may carry a cost (Yellow Pages and Yelp for example) but this will vary depending on the directories you decide on.
Not only will this increase your exposure for mobile, but listing your businesses in various directories and search engines will also boost your online prescence, having a direct impact on your link building overall. By scattering these seeds and snippets of information and links online, more ‘arrows’ pointing back to your website as a source for relevant information in your field or industry.
Longer Tail Keywords.
Looking past local searches, Siri and other voice searches have the potential to extend your knowledge of how specifically the end users (and potential customers) are searching and subsequently finding you. When using search terms via desktop, we have become more accustomed to the main keywords or phrase we are looking for -with grammar and language logic taking the backbench.
With the use of fuller sentences and more ‘natural’ language without the bother of typing letter by letter on a small screen long tail keywords are going to become more frequent in use. With the use of longer phrases, results will become more specific, funneling out irrelevant results, bringing a higher conversion rate for sales and searches.
Monitor and strive to understand your consumers search tactics and habits as technology changes and adapts. Longer more specific terms are typically “cheaper” and easier to rank for, putting you directly in front of your customer faster, and more efficiently.
Added Tags For Added Structure.
When carrying out a search, Siri conducts a complex analysis on the intent behind the spoken word and looks to match a solution and result as close to what you are possibly asking. To do this, every bit of detail helps – including Scheme tags.
Schema tags assist search enginges in better understanding and structuring the available content on your website.
For example, say your search was along the lines of “Who is the nearest electrician in my area?”. If you provide the search engine with rich data, including addresses, telephone numbers, opening times in your tags, this structured outline will get Siri’s attention, and in turn, your customers.
Max Out Your Mobile Capability.
We’ve already written a piece on how to maximise your site for mobile useage, and all those principles will come in to play now. Half the battle is getting your customer to your website. If your site is unusable when they get there, you’ve wasted a lot of time, effort, and money.
Remember the basics. As you probably have your own smartphone close to hand when reading this, pull up your website and see how it looks and how easy it is to navigate and view. Address any content problems that may crop up immediately. The obvious being any flash or java based content.
Add ‘microformats’ into your HTML, which allow your site to incorporate relevant microdata (such as your business details, name, address, number, etc) which will be picked up by Google, and Siri, quickly and effectively.
Where possible, building a mobile optimised version of your website is highly adviseable. It will not only improve usability of your site on a smartphone, but improve your chances of conversion and loyalty with that user. What works on a desktop is drastically different on a lower pixel/smaller screen layout.
Monitor Your Customer’s Use-age.
As we have mentioned, time and time again (and will continue to do so!) never underestimate the importance of using Analytical tools.
Once you fully understand the number of people visiting your website via smartphone and mobile, you can adapt and develop your site accordingly, maximising each individual user experience where possible. For example, devote design and app work specific to mobile platform, or operating system, and then continue a more indepth analyse and AB Testing to see which segment and device proves most successful, with most conversions and most hits. If you have an app for your business, make the most of it, and include GA tracking scripts into the source code of the actual app, tracking usage across the board.