Everything you need to know about voice search

Functionally speaking, the living room hasn’t changed all that much since the home television came into vogue in the 1950s. Living rooms across the world have been defined by the presence of a couch, a coffee table, and a TV. Add desks, bookshelves, and other furnishings to taste.

But if you’ve been to your share of dinner parties, game nights, and other social functions within the last few years, you may have noticed the rise of a new kind of living room staple—the smart speaker.

"Sixty-five percent of 25-to-49-year-olds speak to voice-enabled devices at least once per day." (Source: PwC)

Smart speakers only scratch the surface of a new trend that’s been sweeping the world. Voice search is everywhere! Here are some of the key ways it’s used:

  • Asking Siri on your iPhone to direct you to the nearest gas station
  • Tell Cortana on your Windows desktop to pull up Photoshop
  • Ask Google Home to start playing Hulu on your smart TV
  • Get Amazon Alexa to set the mood for your next party by playing your favorite playlist

So what opportunities does voice search offer to the world of freelancers? Let’s take a look…

Voice search requires a different kind of optimization

Voice search presents new opportunities for tech-savvy marketers: It’s driving digital marketers and SEO (search engine optimization) experts alike to figure out new ways to optimize apps for voice commands.

Whether you call it voice search optimization (VSO) or answer engine optimization (AEO), your success as a digital marketer going forward may increasingly depend on your ability to anticipate the kinds of questions a customer will ask of their preferred mobile device or smart speaker. It’s a great opportunity for marketing freelancers who want to help distinguish themselves from the competition.

Machine learning continues to be a valuable skill for developers

The other major way to capitalize on voice search? Help other businesses build voice search powered applications.

Developers with a solid background in data science and machine learning, especially natural language processing (NLP), are well suited to participate in the voice search revolution. Computational linguistics even ranked fifth on Upwork’s latest skills index.

How to get up-to-speed on voice search

Where can you go to get the skills you need to help your clients with their voice search projects?

For marketers, these two articles from the Hiring Headquarters are a good start:

The Moz blog is also a good choice for SEO education in general. Here’s Moz’s take on voice search.

For developers, the Hiring Headquarters offers plenty of information to get you moving in the right direction:

One approach for someone starting out might be to start with Python fundamentals, pick a Python-friendly machine learning framework such as TensorFlow, and dive right into voice search via Lucidworks Fusion. There are also plenty of online educational resources, such as this course on NLP by Coursera, available if you want to take a more formal approach.

Voice is the future of search

Sixty-five percent of 25-to-49-year-olds speak to voice-enabled devices at least once per day, according to a report by PwC. From smart speakers to mobile phones, people are increasingly using voice search to get what they need. If businesses want to remain competitive in the ever-evolving digital landscape, they’ll need to adapt to the smart home—and that could lead to a lot more opportunities for a freelancer like you!

The post Voice Search 101: A Look at a New Frontier for Freelancers appeared first on Upwork Blog.

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