Have you heard of a voice search? Perhaps, in passing. If not, we would like to offer some insight into the implications it has for app development. How this technology is going to change things in ways we cannot even imagine yet.
Voice search is a feature on our mobile devices (phones and tablets) that allows us to speak natural language sentences into them to get results. For example: “What is 16th-century French art?” or “Who won today’s Ligue 1 match?”
This article will provide an overview of what voice search means for app development by analyzing its impact on traditional SEO strategies and touchpoints with smartphones and tablets.
Let’s take your standard SEO strategy for apps as an example:
writing compelling descriptions and titles, using the right keywords, and making an app page on various app platforms. These are just a few of the things that your developers should be considering to increase downloads and improve conversions. Once you have users in, you can then rely on retaining them via good UX/UI design practices (e.g., a user onboarding).
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of those issues around voice search for app development. From an SEO perspective as well as assessing the implications it has for mobile marketing campaigns. By examining how voice search works and what it means for apps, we may get a glimpse into what is going to happen on a larger scale with traditional web searches soon enough too.
Voice Search on Smartphones & Tablets: How it Works?
Let’s start with the basics. What are the implications of voice search on app development?
Voice search is currently present in most modern Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices. It lets you use your device to talk naturally into it to get results without typing anything. The type of results varies from apps being launched to websites being opened or directions being displayed on a map.
It can be activated by pressing a button (usually called the “hot word” – e.g., Ok Google). Just by saying words one after another until you get what you want without having to stop speaking. For instance, saying “Ok Google”, then “listen” will mean that Google gets ready for action while waiting until you’re done speaking.
The way it works is that the device listens for your voice input via its microphone and sends it to the search engine (e.g., WolframAlpha, Bing, or Google) which analyzes the sound of your request and gives you an answer. That’s not much different than what happens with regular keywords typed into a Google Search box except that using spoken language makes the process easier and more natural for users.
SEO & Mobile Marketing campaigns
Now let’s take a look at how voice search affects traditional SEO strategies for apps as well as mobile marketing campaigns around them. Everyone knows that keyword optimization is key when it comes to getting more downloads but only a handful of app developers bother with optimizing those keywords.
Voice Search Implications on App Development:
Voice search, on the other hand, does away with a lot of the hassle around optimizing keywords. Instead of trying to rank for a particular keyword or phrase. You can now just speak directly into your device without needing to worry about how it’s going to be indexed and ranked by Google or Bing.
Additionally, voice search means that fewer people will go beyond the app description page when searching for something on their smartphones and tablets which affects the number of DAU/MAU metrics for your apps as well as conversions from those devices. To put it simply: traditional SEO methods no longer work as well as they used to because they rely on users typing in a full query string which is not always possible if they cannot see their device’s screen or if they prefer to use voice.
Google’s Mobile-First Index & Voice Search
To further complicate things, Google has recently announced. It will be switching to a mobile-first index which means that the search engine will give preference to websites and web pages. Those are deemed best suited for smartphones and tablets. That includes aspects such as their page speed and how much content is display without having to scroll down too much on the page. It also specifically states that “voice search” is one of those factors which will influence a page’s ranking.
What does this mean for app developers?
Well, there are two takeaways from all this: One is that even more emphasis should now place. Getting good keyword rankings could affect whether your app page will rank high enough by the search engines. The other is that voice searches are becoming more common with each passing day which means users are less likely to go beyond results pages even when they don’t find what they’re looking for there.
How Can App Developers Get More Traffic?
All of this is bad news if you are an app developer who relies on Google and Bing to gain visibility because it’s going to get harder and harder to rank well in these two search engines unless you make some important changes around your keyword strategies. But there is still hope yet: you can add a lot of value by optimizing your apps specifically for voice searches while also taking care not to neglect keywords altogether.