While doing keyword research the other day I came accross an interesting pairing: dentist tree This struck me as an odd thing to look for. Trees are not usually associated with dentists nor can you find dentists on them. So how do we arrive at this? I ran the search and there are a few practices with that name, but in my experience this should not produce the expected traffic Google was predicting.
Did they mean dentistry? Why would they be so phonetic about…did they say it? “Siri, find me the nearest dentist-try.” Out of sheer dumb luck I said it with a stutter and she told me she didn’t know what I meant by “dentist tree.”
Voice Recognition Mystery Solved
Not really, this sent my brain racing. We’re using more and more voice activated phones and devices to do our searching for us. When I’m driving, instead of actually typing in my phone, I just ask Siri for what I need. How will this affect the future of search?
Ugh, as if I didn’t need to be an expert in every business, now I need to be an expert in every business that could be pronounced badly. Do I have to rank for “do not” and “cop fee” when people want something unhealthy for breakfast? What about Dick’s “sport link foods,” the “knee rest bar,” a “pressed tea just law form,” or “orifice deep pot.” None of those key phrases have traffic, yet. How long till major brands are hiring phoneticists?
Alternative Keyword SEO
This does deserve a second look though. When next you are doing keyword research, pay attention to what Google suggests. See if some of the non sequitur keyphrases have a phonetic similarity to what you’re researching for. It might be your mobile clients trying to find you.
Phonetic Keyword Research
This type of research doesn’t apply well to organic search results since Google works hard to correct your spelling and grammar. Although using the “dentist tree” example above does not return a correction for my desktop or my phone, which makes me wonder if Google is working on phonetic correction. They probably assume voice recognition systems will just get better.
Oddly enough I have a friend in the speech recognition industry who focuses on improving this type of thing. He told me:
There seems to be an upper limit on the accuracy of speech recognition software that hovers around 90%. Meaning we get about 10% wrong, even on the best of systems. We’ve been working on speech recognition for nearly two decades now and not much improvement has been made after we hit that limit.
What this tells me is that this is a problem that will not go away anytime soon.
Taking this information and writing nonsensical pages and articles for your site will dilute the value of the actual keywords you are trying to target. Having pages about “messy hoe”s is not going to improve your content based around SEO, nor will ranking for messy or hoes help your bottom line.
How to Spoken Search
You said it. So you want to grab that last 1% of traffic being shunted into odd places like misheard searches? It’s not like your target audience is trying to avoid finding businesses like yours. If Google doesn’t correct these misheard searches, it’s guaranteed the search results are not going to be what the user wants.
Trees with dental tools?
Right, but if you target that with your PPC campaign giving them exactly what they want the click through ratio should be much higher than most related searches. Using PPC you can target the searches that don’t auto-correct without affecting your site’s keyword profile.
So yes: PPC, no: SEO
In a nutshell, yes. For huge sites, with tens of thousands of pages, creating a page to target a misheard search might be beneficial, but in general it’s better not to. This strategy will work well for most businesses. So listen to your searches, you might hear customers coming.