The Future of Search Might Destroy Your Business

voice search.png

What is the future of search? If you ask 20 people you might get 20 answers.

The truth is that the future of search will depend on a number of different factors.

  1. Technological change – what is possible?

  2. Business investment – what do they build?

  3. Consumer behavior – what do we like?

More and more, it is looking like Voice Search will be a big part of the future of search.

What is Voice Search?

That may seem like a silly question to some. Voice search is exactly what it sounds like, searching with your voice.

What started as a convenient option for mobile Googlers has taken on added significance thanks to the rise of personal assistants like Siri and Alexa. Google tells us that as of 2017, 20% of all searches done on mobile devices are voice searches. That is a significant number of searches. And it’s growing every month.

But where voice searches done on Google still lead a user to a search engine results page (a SERP), new voice search tools have eliminated the SERP entirely. For devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple Homepod, the entirety of the interaction is spoken and heard. Gartner predicts that nearly 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020.

And therein lies the potential issue for many companies.

Will Voice Search Destroy Your Business?

When searches occur entirely via a conversation with virtual assistants, the first result is often the only one that matters.

While users are given the ability to set preferences for certain types of searches or commands, the majority of these voice searches will return one result. And if that result is not for your company, too bad.

If the prospect of a voice search world scares you, you are not alone. Rather than bury your head in the sand or hope the future never comes, there are things you can do now to prepare for this inevitability.

There are tools and tips out there to begin optimizing for voice search today.

The Increasing Trend of Voice Search - And How to Optimize For It

voice search.png

The following guest post was written by Libby Teager. Libby is a social media addict, who turned it into her profession. She loves her role as an account manager and researcher at Speechless Web Design.

Search engine optimization is constantly changing and evolving. And while it is changing, it is becoming more challenging for SEO professionals to keep track of.

With the ever changing trends in SEO, it is important to always have your eyes peeled for potential movements in the industry. This way, you can keep on top of your SEO strategy and become more of a threat to your competitors.

The Increasing Trend of Voice Search

One current trend in the SEO industry that we face today is the movement towards mobile SEO. Whilst mobile has steadily been climbing the mountain for the number one device of choice for internet usage for a while, it has recently came close to taking over desktop as the number one source of search.

According to Hitwise, searches which take place on a mobile device now accord for sixty percent of the overall searches on the web. Such trend has resulted in the increasing trends towards locational searches and voice searches performed on mobile devices.

In fact, Google has recently stated that twenty percent of searches made on mobile devices were in fact voice searches. With the introduction of Siri and Google assistant, this has all become possible.

It is pretty clear that SEO is changing and will continue to do some in years to come, so it is in our own interests to scrap traditional approaches of SEO, and consider such movements by optimizing for current trends like voice search.

Here we will discuss just how to do that....

Takeover of Mobile Devices

Mobile devices have come a long way in such a short amount of time. A month can’t go by without us hearing about another mobile update, or a new model of phone coming out. But as new mobile devices are hitting the market place, they won’t want to disappoint. Hence why we can now do things like speak to our mobile phones.

Whilst it sounds bizarre, speaking to our mobile devices has ultimately taken over the nature of the way we search and browse the web.

With the built in mobile features of Siri, and Google assistant, people would be silly not to ask their mobile phone to search for something on the web. At the end of the day it saves a lot of time, when compared to typing out a search query on such a small screen.

This changes everything with regards to SEO. And as a result, SEO professionals need to rethink their SEO strategies according to what and how their potential customers are searching.

How to Optimize For Voice Search

Since twenty percent of searches are made through voice search, it means that the nature of search has changed. Currently, most websites are optimized for traditional SEO, that being short tail keywords which are searched for by using a keyboard on a desktop. However, voice search means that websites will need to be optimized to fit the modern form of search.

Voice search allows for not only a more natural voice, but a more conversational voice too. This is because you have the chance to search using the words you would use in a normal conversation with another party. In this case, searches get longer, and so do the keywords which are worth optimizing for.

Not only does siri want to provide an accurate web search result for it’s users, but it will also want to provide the user with a result which is straight to the point, rather than not. Most voice searches will require a simple answer, whether that be the answer to a simple question, or a location based answer.

When creating content for your website, it is important to consider optimizing it for longtail keywords, rather than short tail. Longtail keywords might not have the highest search volume or traffic, but they are certainly the keywords which are the most targeted to a specific search. As well as that, they come with less competition because most websites are too focused on optimizing for short tail keywords. There are various tools which help with finding long tail keywords. One in particular is Ahrefs, a great tool for keyword research.

What Are Customers Searching For?

With an estimated twenty two percent of people searching for informative and local content, online and local businesses need to optimize with this in mind.

A great way of finding exactly what your customers are searching for is by taking down a list of questions and statements which your customers commonly ask you as an industry expert. This could be face-to-face, or via the phone. Once you have taken note of the sort of things your customers want to know and learn, you can start to produce content which they would find of value and use to them.

Similarly, it is great to focus on FAQ’s. By producing content which answers the questions of those who are seeking solutions to specific questions in the industry, you are putting yourself in front of the eyes of your ideal audience by providing them with content that they WANT to see.

SEO professionals need to take into account the constant developments of SEO. From the movement towards a mobile only world, to producing content which is geared towards the way users are searching, and what they are searching - it is important to properly optimize your website in a way that puts you ahead of your competitors.

The Future of Search is Voice Search

We live in a world that is changing faster than most people realize. We will soon be sharing our roads with self-driving vehicles and our sidewalks with delivery robots. Upwards of 50% of tasks Americans perform at work can be automated with technology that already exists today.

In the digital marketing world, the landscape is always changing. Today’s example is voice search.

Just as people were finally coming to appreciate mobile search as a departure from desktop search, we have a new trend that is fast becoming critical for businesses to understand.

Voice search may seem like the future. Or it may seem like a fad that consumers will grow weary of. I’ve heard both opinions expressed, but the truth is that voice search is here already (and here to stay).

Google, the world’s leader in search, readily admits as much if you ask them. As of mid-2016, 20% of all mobile searches were voice searches, meaning someone spoke their query instead of typing it. According to more recent data, 41% of people in the US use voice search on a daily basis. And with the rise in popularity of IOT (Google Home, Amazon Echo), where users interact with digital assistants by voice alone, we can expect this trend to continue.

What does it mean for marketers?

Just like mobile search is different from desktop search, we must realize that voice search is different from mobile search. The biggest difference will be in user behavior. Search terms people use when they speak will vary from those typed. This means that companies will need to rethink their keyword strategy in both search engine marketing and search engine optimization.

Google and other search engines should start to break out voice search keywords in the next 12 months. We can start by taking a close look at how the search terms different from what users have traditionally used, and then match our strategy to consumer behavior.