How Siri, Search By Voice & Search By App Are Changing The Mobile Landscape

February 29, 2012
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Okay! Let’s go! Stay awake! One more session to go!

I’m excited. This should be a fun one. We’re going to talk about how voice and Siri are changing mobile and, I mean, pretty much the whole landscape. Up to talk to us are Michael Martin, Gib Olander, Gregg Stewart, and Adrian Vender.  Greg Sterling is doing moderating duties.

Greg Sterling starts us off by asking Siri what SEO is. Siri mildly lets us down by simply reporting back the stock price for SCO. Oops.  Next Greg asks Siri if coffee is a miracle drug.  Siri’s not sure so she performs a Web search.  Greg says nevermind and goes back to talk to us when Siri starts to talk over him.  Greg tells Siri to shut up.

Aaaaand end scene!

With the show out of the way, up first is First up is Gregg Stewart. Greg Sterling said he almost said his own name instead. Everyone’s punchy today.

[I suffered some incredible computer issues while in this session and had a very difficult time getting my laptop to type. As such, I missed a lot of good information. I’m really mad. Apologies to the speakers and to the readers. I’m going to cry in a corner. Hopefully there are still some good tidbits here.]

Gregg is going to share some information collected during the 5th annual Local Search Study which his firm 15 miles and Localeze both partnered on.  They sampled 4,200 users to get both a quantitative and behavioral look at users.

Mobile Phone Use In Local Business Search

42 percent of mobile phone owners have a smart phone. Prior to that you had a lot of feature phones which were not very interesting to local search because it was a cumbersome process.

61 percent of smartphone owners conduct local business searches from their phone.  That’s important.

Approximately 40 percent of local search users are accessing at least once a week, and mobile and tablet search users are accessing more now than they did a year ago. Table users are the most active.

In terms of apps being used, nearly half of all mobile phone and tablet users make use of apps to share local businesses. The most popular apps for local business searches are Google Maps and Yahoo.

  • 64 percent Google Maps
  • 52 percent Yahoo
  • 31 percent Yelp

Mobile phones are the most useful during the beginning stages of local business searches. Tablets prove to be equally as useful throughout the entire search process.

Mobile phone users over-index on nearly ALL features available on local businesses due to the on-the-go, demanding nature of search.  Gregg is showing a lot of really interesting charts which, sadly, are difficult for me to really get down. He’s knocking it out of the park, though.

Voice Search Optimization


  • Voice recognition
  • local search enabled
  • 4mm unites in 1st weekend
  • 40mm to date
  • NAP -basis of inclusion
  • Google Maps
  • Yelp Reviews
  • Localeze

Next up is Gib Olander.

Why is this going to matter? Isn’t 411 or Free DA going away? As of 2009, no one was starting to use free 411 anymore. In his mind, voice search is kind of similar to that.  Some people talk about Siri as sort of a concierge of your phone, he really likes that idea. I do too.  It’s about getting the right answer that you need wherever you are. Does Siri live up to that promise?

Gib shows David Mihm’s Local Search Ecosystem Graph.  As the graph suggests, there’s a lot of data that goes back and forth. The NAP is what’s consistent among all of those and is the common language.  You have to start there.

What makes mobile different from DA or a concierge?

The sensors add context. Trilateration is the process of determining absolute or relative locations of points by measurement of distances using the geometry of circles, spheres or triangles. [I…uh..was that English?] If you know two points you can deduce the third.  In order to understand how to organize this information for your business you have to understand the concept of taxonomy, ontology or folksonomy.  You can organize information from so many different levels – USA, Central Time Zone, Illinois, Chicago, Sears Tower, etc.  With your phone sensors, you can limit the information you have to organize to make a better decision about where you are and what’s relevant to you.

Be sure that your address is completed and standardized. Once the application has the most granular piece of information you “qualify” for the broader search results. The bad news: Each application has a different search radi based on the amount of possible answers.

Find your bucket.

What bucket are you in and what comes with the bucket that you’re in?  Who are you? Where are you located? What services do you offer? What is your quality? What is your value?  You cannot have it all, you can only have a sliver of it all.  [That’s a Gaping Void quote]

Once you know your categories, you can create content around it. There are lots of other categories out there.

Why is it a big deal? By 2015 we’re going to have more than a billion smartphones.  The time is NOW to get your local search content written and tagged.  If your identify is not established you are not in the game.

Every mobile query has its own unique ripple. It’s all hard work and we have to get into the trenches to make this stuff work.

Next up is Adrian.

Your content is structured data.

How can mobile users find my business? It’s not just local business, either. There are a lot of easy local tie ins but it’s not just locked into that.

Data syndication is key to mobile visibility making sure that you’re as visible as you can be outside of just your normal Web site. Part of what’s driving this app economy is the API economy. The API economy is giving us the chance to put our products or services through different platforms to increase visibility.

[I feel bad that I’m missing chunks of Adrian’s presentation by my laptop is really not cooperating :( ]

Android steps up with Google Majel. It incorporates Google Voice Actions + Natural Language Processing.

Push your data into other APIs. Find a relevant API and then find out how to push other data into it. Don’t’ just rely on your Web site. Get your data into other sources so that other markets can find your information. Once you have them, go to and go through the different APIs. Find the ones that are relevant to your industry. Become visible in those platforms.

Mark up your Web sites with and HTML. The search engines want to index data. Some of them have APIs already to push out specific data types and that’s only going to grow more. Make sure that you embrace the idea of structured data on your Web site. You want to have your markup identify specific pieces of content that you have.

Build your own APIs and let other people use your data. Startups don’t have much time and resources. Open up your data and let others spread your content and your brand. That’s how Netflix took over Blockbuster. They let people develop apps on other devices. It was the perfect way for Netflix to spread their content and brand awareness in ways they couldn’t have done by themselves.

Keep optimizing and promoting your Web site. But go beyond your Web site.

Next up is Michael Martin. And I’m going to drop kick my laptop. I’m trying not to cry. Because that would be embarrassing.

Michael apologizes for keeping us from dinner but reminds us that his company is buying everyone drinks for two hours tonight. We all instantly forgive him.

How the Web adapts to new mobile landscape

  • Plays audio and video
  • Renders across all devices
  • Provides direct access to device hardware
  • Can be used offline
  • Optimized for low power devices.

The answer going forward is HTML5. How will HTML5 affect search?

  • Support for the latest multimedia
  • Easily readable by humans
  • Consistently understood by computer and devices
  • Features built for low powered devices
  • Increases speed with caching
  • Fully standardized in 2012 but standards are used in current browsers.

Why does that matter for SEO? Search in itself is different from desktop and even within mobile there are different results for feature phones and smart phones. Optimizing for this will give you an edge going forward.

In 2010, John Mueller – Senior Google Webmaster Trend Analyst, said that HTML5 will not give you an edge. But things are changing.

HTML5 Growth Since 2012

  • HTML5 was the fastest growing job requirement in 2011
  • 75 percent of game developers are using or plan to use HTML5 in 2012
  • Over a third of the top 100 sites are HTML5
  • 1,000,000,000 phones will be HTML5 ready by 2013

How can we take advantage of it?

  • Search engines have clarity to the sections of your site with header, article, aside, nav and footer tags. HTML5 forces you into correct segmentation.
  • Expands on link descriptors
  • HTML5 has the ability to incorporate speech input.
  • Mostly likely used with a Google Voice API as an open Apple SIRI API is doubtful.
  • Allows voice search within a site
  • Potential ability to navigate, search, and purchase within a site via voice.

HTML5 Argument to Mobile Apps

  • Build once and works on Android iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone, etc.
  • Cost saving from creating and maintaining apps on each mobile platform.
  • No payment to or delays from the app gate keepers.
  • Allows better discoverability online.
  • Future proof your Web experience for tablets, TVs, automobile displays, new devices.
  • Apps still best for intense gaming and tools

HTML5 for Search Actionable Insights

  • Futureproof your site with HTML5 and be ahead of the competition
  • Use HTML5 semantic coding to clarify your content to the search engines.
  • Speed up your site with HTML5 for better conversions and rankings
  • Allow HTML5 to better render your site for mobile and future devices
  • Align or supplement your app strategy with HTML5 support, lower and better search engine visibility

And that’s it. I’m going to cry.

Read the rest of our SMX West 2012 liveblogging coverage for more insight.

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