On Friday, 2nd of September, digital marketing professionals and enthusiasts came together for the Brighton SEO conference. It was a time to share top tips, insights and brainstorm on the ever-changing world of search engine optimisation. There were different sessions but I opted for the ones on analytics, onsite, voice search and technical streams. Personally, I found the presentation from Purna Virgi on voice search as the most insightful. It is worth noting that the other sessions had speakers who presented excellent findings on topical digital marketing concepts.
Purna Virgi’s presentation touched on the growing importance of voice search as she revealed that 33% of searches on Bing are via Cortana, Microsoft’s voice search application. According to Purna, voice search has grown in popularity due to technological advancement that has led to an error rate of only 8%. With progress in machine learning, voice search applications such as Google Now, Siri and Cortana are able to learn accents and improve the user’s search experience. A lower error rate has led to an increased confidence level in these voice applications by users and led ComScore to predict that by 2020, about 50% of searches will be from voice applications or personal digital assistants (PDAs). During the presentation, Purna revealed the top six queries from voice search:
In optimising for voice search, Purna proposed five essential steps:
There is a drive towards conversational search as search engines make giant strides to personalise results to users. Typing challenges, quick answers and being occupied (e.g during driving and cooking) are three factors that are compelling users to search via voice applications. Search engines such as Google, Bing and Baidu are investing heavily in algorithms that understand not just the search phrases but also the context of these searches. As such, elements such as the user’s search history, location and global search trends have an impact on what web pages are served to users. Voice search will continue to grow but the key factor will be personalisation.
Reasons why voice search will be on the rise:
Voice search is here to stay and is expected to grow in use within the next couple of years. As social beings, our desire for conversation and interaction will lead us to resort to voice applications such as Google Now, Alexa, Cortana and Siri. Are you prepared for the voice search revolution?