In October, Microsoft released Torque, an app which integrates with Bing to make it easy for users to take advantage of voice search. Following feedback from consumers, the company has now released Torque 2.0 for Android.
One of the most interesting parts of the update is the new “shake and search” feature. This feature allows users to shake their phone and then speak to initiate the search. Torque 2.0 also offers information about local events and flight statuses.
Microsoft hopes that Torque will be a good rival for “OK Google”. It offers quick answers to searches such as “What time is it in London” or “What is the weather like in Glasgow”, as well as up-to-the-minute sports updates in answer to questions such as “Arsenal score”.
Whether or not there will be strong adoption for Torque 2.0 remains to be seen. Google has the advantage in the mobile search space, since it is the default search engine on most Android mobile phones. Bing is the default on Windows Phones, but the Windows platform is lagging behind in terms of adoption in the mobile space. However, Bing has put a lot of effort into becoming mobile friendly in recent months, and this could help to improve adoption of the search engine.
Taking Advantage as a Webmaster
These mobile search improvements mean that it is more important than ever for webmasters to consider search engines other than Google, and for webmasters to pay attention to semantic metadata, local listings and vertical specific search.
Both Google and Bing want to keep their users inside their own ecosystems as much as possible, so marking up your page in a way that ensures that information such as opening hours, review scores or prices appear within your listings is essential. The use of semantic metadata is still evolving, but it is something that is worth adopting, because not only does it help the search engines to provide better information about your keywords to searchers, it also makes your listings more eye-catching, and can increase CTR.
Mobile users are becoming an incredibly important source of traffic, and that traffic converts well too. If you run a bricks and mortar business, then it is important that you take the time to consider local and vertical specific search engines, in addition to the more general desktop versions of Google and Bing when you are formulating your SEO plan.