If you have watched TV or touched the web in the past 3 months, you’ve probably seen the iPhone 4S, which boasts an intelligent “personal assistant” named Siri. Siri is a bold step forward in natural language processing, allowing users to access many features of the iPhone by speaking as you would to a person. Siri can get you directions, write and send emails, calculate your tip, even remind you to call your Mom.
Siri’s capabilities go far beyond voice recognition, which has been around for years. Siri heralds a shift in how we search for and filter information – by using an intelligent digital agent. Some might call it Web 3.0 or the semantic web. Nomenclature aside, what’s important is the effect it will have on your findability on the web, and ultimately, your bottom line.
In the 90’s, Google, Yahoo and others (remember WebCrawler?) brought Search to the forefront of computing. The vastness of information online became more manageable and relevant to the user. By the turn of the millennium, Search Engine Optimization had become a burgeoning business practice as people devised ways to manipulate websites to favor search engine results. Now, 10 years later, SEO and content marketing are at least standard practice and at worst an arms race. Businesses who do not prioritize SEO see diminished returns online.
Siri, and her inevitable descendants, have the potential to change how information is indexed and consumed, and we need to understand how to prepare for it. As computing moves to increasingly mobile and personalized environments, users require greater relevance. Mobile search has grown by 400% in the past year alone, and 1 in 3 of those searches has local intent (source: Google).
When I search for a pizza shop on my mobile device, I don’t want just any pizza shop. I want one around the corner. Soon, I will ask my digital assistant for the closest pizzeria and she will get me what I am looking for. The point is, if a digital agent like Siri is doing the searching, web content will need to be formatted so that it can be easily indexed by those agents.
In part 2 of this blog, we’ll address how to optimize for Siri and other intelligent digital agents. In the meantime, if you have any questions or want to talk about how Mobile Optimization can impact your business, feel free to drop us a line, firstname.lastname@example.org.