Did you know that the number of voice searches doubled in 2015 over 2014, and is overtaking voice search in popularity? Forget Star Trek. The future is now.
Imagine a world where humans interact and have conversations with virtual intelligence software, seamlessly integrated into every day, practical devices such as your mobile phone, your TV or your watch. Call your spouse by simply uttering a voice command to your phone. Adjust the air conditioning in your home remotely by voice command from your office. Search for the nearest auto mechanic online by speaking into the microphone on your smartwatch while you drive.
If you’ve ever used the voice search option on your mobile device, you probably already appreciate the benefits of hands-free capability, which is an incredibly useful feature when you’re cooking, for instance. Besides tablets, smartphones and laptops, an increasing number of Smart TV’s, home appliances and wearable devices are being equipped with voice command technology, that facilitate multi-tasking, sharing and collaboration between various devices and people. What you probably don’t realize, yet, is how significant voice search technology will become in the coming years.
Voice search and recognition technology has revolutionized the very concept of an interface. Since 2012, voice search apps like Siri for Apple, Window’s Cortana and Google Now for android phones have become sophisticated virtual assistants that go far beyond voice recognition technology. Initially released on laptop platforms, mobile phones and android technology now feature fully integrated versions of popular virtual assistants with a broad range of features.
The barrier between reality and the virtual world is increasingly being lowered as Apple, Google and other pioneering industry leaders continue their user-centric focus to enhance your online experience. Integrating state of the art voice search and recognition software, Virtual assistants like Siri can not only conduct internet searches by voice command but can also carry out a number of other impressive functions:
· Recognize and read text from instant messages and emails
· Send text messages
· Ask for directions
· Set alarms and schedule calendar events
· Locate nearby amenities
· Make phone calls
· Open other apps
· Facebook updates
Conversational search combines voice recognition software with contextual data about the user gathered from cookies, search history, email, texts and social media to provide nuanced search results that reflect the user’s habits and behaviour.
As you use your mobile device or laptop, your operating system learns more about your preferences, interests and routine. Even your daily travel routine can be mapped and recorded by the sophisticated search engine technology that powers your online experience. Suggestions for local dining, shopping and amenities that reflect your history appear on your screen, along with news, weather, driving conditions, and other information relevant to the user’s experience.
The implications for SEO and SEM should not be overlooked. Led by such innovative thinkers as Behshad Behzadi, Google’s Director of Conversational Search, improvements to voice recognition have been rapidly evolving with the aim of reducing the rate of error for speech recognition.
In only two years, Google’s voice and speech recognition technology has drastically improved, with an error rate of only e\ght per cent, in contrast to twenty-five per cent in 2014. Websites optimized for voice recognition on mobile platforms and other Smart devices will become crucial for SEO success in 2017 and beyond.
Heuristic approaches to search engine technology are changing our understanding of user experience and will significantly impact search results. SEO and SEM experts will need to consider strategic ways of utilizing contextual data, keywords, social media, as well as website pages that guide voice-prompted search engine queries to your content easily and swiftly.
Stay alert for more on this fascinating topic in 2017. For more helpful SEO tips and advice, visit Paul Teitelman, Toronto’s most trusted link-building and SEO expert.