iPhone 4S, Local and ‘Siri SEO’

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.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed.

6 Responses to “iPhone 4S, Local and ‘Siri SEO’”

  1. Mike Blumenthal says at

    A couple of points.

    Siri comes with iOS 5 so it will be on every iPhone. Thus the capability will be pervasive and have broad reach quickly. 

    Regardless of whether geeks like the iPhone 4s or not it will sell well. 

    When I say that “Ultimately local will be almost 100% about mobile” I am looking WAY down the road, not this year or next.

    I am in 100% agreement that it all depends on whether it really works and becomes “the way we do it”.

  2. Greg says at

    Are  you going to buy one Mike? It’s a dilemma for me. Do I buy one now and use my carrier subsidy or do I wait for 5?

  3. Mike Blumenthal says at

    I think it very likely that I will. I have a number of “down stream consumers” (think brother, wife & children) on my plan that would love to take an iPhone 4. I think I can sell the remaining 3gs to offset a reasonable % of the cost of the 4s.

  4. Brian Hayashi says at

    If you’re involved in local you must investigate Siri. Think of the Apple 4S as a preview of ubiquitous Siri availability. Unlike the original Siri design (and overall Android architecture), it appears most of Siri’s processing needs have been moved to the client, not the cloud. If this is true then it will be up to Apple to prove how this departure provides capabilities you cannot get on a different mobile handset, and consequently, to what extent should local online services invest.

  5. Greg Sterling says at

    I know the Siri functionality well, although not the architecture. It’s very clear that if Siri works well on the 4S it will be disruptive. 

  6. Keith says at

    Siri has the possibility of big implications for local SEO, and could turn the landscape into the haves (those integrated into Siri like Yelp) and the have nots (those they don’t play well with Siri). It’s not just this release, but those to come. Will voice controls bring a more natural language back to SEO, instead of the search engine speak “plumber dallas tx”… Good thoughts Greg!

Leave a Reply