Voiced by Amazon Polly

For years, people have dreamed of a high-tech virtual assistant that helps them organize their lives. Until recently, this dream has been some far-fetched, sci-fi fantasy that many consumers simply thought would never come true.

Today, however, digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa come built into our devices. While these digital assistants make life more convenient, they’re also changing the face of online search forever. Read on to learn more.

The Rise of Voice Search

According to a recent MindMeld study, 60 percent of U.S. consumers who use voice search only started using it in the last year, and a full 41 percent of people had just picked it up in the last six months. These numbers go to show that the popularity of voice search is growing at exponential rates.

As if that weren’t enough, comScore predicts that 50 percent of all web searches will be voice-based by the year 2020. As voice search explodes in popularity, though, search engines like Google and the digital assistants associated with them have had to become much smarter.

Semantic Search: What It Is and Why It Matters

One of the biggest problems search engines have faced with voice search is the intent. Before the voice search gained speed, the search was all about keywords. If a person wanted to find a yoga studio in New York City, that person would type “Yoga Studio NYC” into Google.

When it comes to voice search, however, people don’t talk the way they type. The person in the previous example’s voice search query might ask instead, “Where can I take a yoga class in NYC?”

Unlike the keyword-focused searches of yesteryear, today’s voice searches are all about intent and relevance, which has led to the rise of semantic search tools. While search engines used to evaluate the keyword density of a page to match it with a searcher’s query, today it’s all about things like natural language, context, user intent, and previous search queries a user has made.

Top Tips to Prepare for Voice Search

Because voice search is so different from keyword-focused search, marketers will do well to prepare in the following ways:

  • Produce intent-focused content. This provides more value to readers.

  • Optimize content for local SEO. Voice search is three times as likely to return local results, and optimizing for SEO will help ensure you make the cut.

  • Research common misspellings and consider optimizing for them. Voice search isn’t perfect, and optimizing for misspellings can help you appear in even botched searches.

While voice search is quickly rising to prominence, these simple steps will help your brand rise easily into the future of intent-based search.