Google Conversational Search and SEO

With Google unveiling their conversational search last week, the web is taking yet another turn towards the future. If you use Chrome and have the latest update, you will notice a little microphone in the right of the search box on Google’s search page. It has been there for a long time, but now you can use it to do voice searches for Google.

Google Search

Google Search Speak This brings up a whole new SEO issue for everyone, and YouTubers especially. How easy to pronounce is your name? Actually, when you pronounce your channel name or video title, does a compute recognize the spelling of it?

For instance, when searching for TryThis0001, instead of saying “try this triple zero one,” the only way I could pull up the channel was by including the words “try this zero zero zero one YouTube.”  Dave’s Sonic Orb Studios had no problem coming up on vocal searches though. Unfortunately for our esteemed boss, it just can’t seem to handle the name Urgo. Despite trying to enunciate and pronounce it multiple ways, the only results are of “argo” “ her go,” “herb go,” or “ergo.” Occasionally near the bottom of the page there would be a link to something actually by Urgo, but it normally didn’t work. Doing a search for Social Blade though, will direct you to Social Blade. If you are reading this though, I assume you already know how to find us.

Despite the limitations, Google advertises, “You can ask anything, anywhere.” I tested this out with YouTube in mind, but could not get the search to recognize vlog as a word, so I could not get any information on Vlogger Fair coming up soon, or any vlogs at all for that matter. Google also suggests that using the voice search is easier when you don’t know the spelling. Unfortunately, their search does not seem to consider how to take into account usernames and Internet jargon yet.

What it is handy for is factual questions. If I ask simple math questions, I get the answer spoken to me. Ask about the height of a building, or where a city is located, and I also got clear, spoken answers as well as the usual website hits. In fact, I can already see a new trend in YouTube videos where we get to hear and see the results to some of the more clever questions out there.

Still, considering voice applications when choosing names and titles may seem a little preemptive seeing how limited voice searches are right now, but mobile phones have been doing it for two years now, and it’s only going to become more popular. Internet searches going mostly to voice may be in the not-too-distant future. For the YouTuber in for the long haul, that means considering how searchable your content is by voice. It might also mean making sure when you keyword, that you start using words that are phonetically similar as well as topically similar (i.e. blog and vlog).