5 Ways Voice Search Will Affect Your SEO

I'm old enough to remember what life was like when talking to a computer was only something you saw in a science-fiction movie dated in the 24th century. However, it's 2017, and we don't wear gravity-defying boots, weight belts, or carry phasers on stun to go McDonald's. (You know... yet.)

Nonetheless, today we can yank a thingamajig from our pockets for answers or even look in the direction of another doohickey and just ask a question. The future is now. The need for "direct answers" (results from voice searches) are here. The problem is that just when some digital aficionados learned to expect when Google would create another animal-like algorithm, out comes voice search to make us all second-guess everything.

How will direct answers change copywriting? What will voice search do for content strategy? Do keywords matter any more if semantic speaking and search matters more?

Let's figure it out with 5 important ways voice search will affect your SEO...

Think Outside Google. The next time you ask Siri something, what search engine does she scour for your results? If you said 'Google,' you would be wrong. *Surprise* When Apple iOS 7 was provided to users a couple years back, did you know Bing was made its default search engine? Many coders tend to optimize for Google almost exclusively, leaving the dinner scraps for the minions of Bing, Yahoo, Safari, and whatever else is being discarded these days. Voice search means people are not selecting a particular browser. You are using a default browser for convenience so we need to optimize for all browsers because laziness... eh, convenience too.

Write for Long Tail. There must be some sort of psychosis that forces people to write more intelligently than than they speak. Yet, there it is -- writing in seamless AP-Style while speaking like a complete dunderhead. It happens. People speak much more casually than they write, even if it means searching for a tune to download or finding some shoes on sale. We should consider that when optimizing for voice search. This is why long-tail keywords are so important. Instead of using "Caribbean cruise" as the primary keyword, think about "Best Caribbean cruise package" or "Least expensive island cruises from Florida." Content must -- above all things -- be human. People don't casually speak like Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare writes. Sure, it sounds great in a dimly lit room curled up in a Snuggie, but even they probably didn't even talk like that.

Consider your Location. Let's say you are sitting there and decide to say, "OK Google, where is the Grand Canyon?" It will give each state where a part of the Grand Canyon is located. Then, your next question, "OK Google, how deep is it?" That object pronoun makes sense to you, and possibly in context of conversation, it would. But to a search engine? Well, today, Google Assistant (which, she needs a name Google. C'mon), Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and all these other smart chicks that could host 'Jeopardy' know what "it" is too. And, not for nothing, but 6,093 feet. Optimizing like that means writing like that, so the next time people ask about "it," be sure you know it means.

Ask the Question. Back in the ancient days of 2008, neanderthals would type a query in a search bar: "City Walt Disney World" because we old curmudgeons didn't know what Boolean text or semantic search was, much less understood that computers didn't understand articles of speech or questions (see what I did there). Now, in the brave frontier of 2017, we can just ask questions to the Web. In fact, a Search Engine Watch study shows a 61 percent growth in question searches, or queries that start with adverbs -- who, what, where, when, or how. The most popular being 'who' at 134 percent and 'how' at 81 percent. Does your content answer those questions?

Keywords Still Matter. MEMO to the nitwits spreading the news that this isn't true: Please submit your 'social media guru/ninja/expert' credentials to the nearest trash can. Keywords are as much for the user as they are for the Web. These mystical pieces of vernacular allow Google to read your pages and help Google understand how your pages perform. Keywords are always relevant because they help you target your consumers and attract new audiences. Yes, they matter.

There are several other reasons how voice search will have an impact on your SEO but these should work for now. So, go ask Alexa, say something to Siri, okay Google and whatever it is we are supposed to do with that Cortana lady.