Mike Blumenthal is out of the gate after the Apple keynote with a thoughtful post about how Siri might or might not affect local search on the iPhone 4S. My experience with the Siri app was that it was useful but not “game changing.” I opted not to use it most of the time.
However Siri “baked in” at the OS level and presumably made better could mean that people use it like a search engine instead of going to other search apps or Google in selected scenarios.
Mike has itemized some of Siri’s data sources: “Depending on the local search it might show results from Yelp, Yahoo, CityGrid, Localeze or BooRah.” Perhaps we’ll get “Siri SEO” if the phone sells well and it’s widely adopted. However it might not change behavior significantly. We’ll have to wait and see how good the app performs. Apple has put a “beta” label on it curiously — not very Apple-like.
I disagree with Mike’s assertion that local search will be 100% (or nearly) mobile. Mobile will be a very intense category for local search activity and already is. But the PC remains a source of huge local search volume, at least for selected brands. Google, for example, does more than 2 billion local queries per month.
If Siri turns out to work really well it may be bad news for many local search providers who will have to step up their game to compete. But this is all hypothetical until we see how good it is.
From an SEO perspective the takeaway is still: have your local data in all the right places and it will probably show up in Siri. But a true SEO practitioner will be better able to opine on this topic.