Local SEO – Optimizing for Search by Voice

We have been seeing forecasts of mobile devices overtaking desktop computers since the beginning of the last year and we are not surprised that the predictions have fulfilled spectacularly. The contributions of Dag Kittlaus of the Apple Siri project and those brilliant engineers at Google have made searching by voice the natural thing to do. We are under no impression that search remains the way it was. There have been tectonic shifts in the way people are using their voice in making the entire process easier.

So, what does that mean in terms of Local SEO or SEO at large? Remember that searchers using their voice will not be thrifty with words, in videos posted by enchanted Siri users on YouTube, we have seen some users say a lot before getting their query served. The way Siri handles long tailed keywords is nothing less than a stroke of brilliance on the part of the founders. Long tailed keywords have to be handled with precision and the challenge for Local SEO is to strike the right balance between long tailed keywords for voice search users and shorter ones that traditional seekers use.

What Changes after Voice?

The algorithm does not change a bit. The same mobile search algorithms are used after the words spoken by the searcher has been synthesized into written words and run through as if it came from a mobile browser. Now, we must note here that spoken words could have put to words long before voice search came. The agent of change is the machine which 'understands'. At this point the machine is not yet fully refined and comes up with several interpretations of the same query. This changes things a bit.

Local SEOs now need to optimize for a bunch of possible outcomes instead of a single one. Voice interpreting techniques being used currently are yet to be defined to reach the sophistication of the human brain and Apple looks to be making improvements. Meanwhile, Local SEOs can do a few things.

· Optimize for the main keyword with varying iterations

· Creating more content with the same intent but with synonyms of the main keyword

· Attend more to social graphs because Siri uses these to find better results

· Use review sites to add positive reviews

· Add local business details to the reviews and on the local business website

· Reward well performing long tailed keywords and change the structure of those that are falling behind

A new industry, VSOP or Voice Search Optimization is coming up fast to cater to local business that want their websites optimized for voice search engines. With Google jumping into the fray and Apple leading the race with their newer releases, we think that the day is not when voice search will be refined to replace traditional search entirely. Does your Local SEO optimize for mobile voice search?