Siri, Alexa, and Cortana – The future of SEO

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How new technologies are changing the way we search for content online

Chances are that unless you’ve been hiding in a cave for the past few decades, you’ve probably used a search engine to look for information online. Sites such as Google and Bing have become such an integral part of our online experience that I’m not sure how we’d cope without them. 

We search for everything nowadays. Recipes, facts about movie stars, weather forecasts, and information on local businesses. It’s hardly surprising then that this access to instant-knowledge has had a profound impact on the marketing industry.

But while current marketing trends focus on search engine optimisation (SEO) and there’s a new technology that’s arrived that’s going to fundamentally change how we search for information online, and chances are it’s already in your pocket.

 

Macbook

Search Engine Optimisation

These days it is essential for businesses to have an online presence. Most opt for a professional website, however it’s not uncommon for smaller operations to utilise social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram instead. If you’re not online in some capacity, your business might as well not exist.

But a website by itself is no longer considered enough. Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO has become an important factor in driving visitors to their websites. SEO focus on targeting specific keywords that customers are likely to type into Google. Content is built around these keywords, generally in the form of blog posts. This content is likely to rank high on a search result, thereby driving customers to the business website.

However with the rise of digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, businesses are going to have to approach SEO differently.

Voice control

Speak your mind

According to Neil Patel, marketing guru and blogger, approximately 20 percent of all searches done on mobile devices are done by voice. That’s startling, considering Apple’s Siri only launched in 2013. In the space of five years, voice-activated searches accounts for one fifth of all mobile search queries. As the technology improves, that figure is only going to grow.

I use Siri on a daily basis. Mostly it’s to find out about the Melbourne weather forecast; I like to know how cold it is before I poke a single toe out of the doona. However, I do occasionally use it to send text messages or search for information on local services. But what exactly has Siri got to do with the future of marketing?

I’m glad you asked.

Firstly, there are some big differences between how we write and how we speak. We’re far more likely to phrase searches as full questions, rather than simple keywords. While we might type “bookshop Melbourne” into Google, we’re far more likely to ask Siri “what are the names of bookshops located in Melbourne’s CBD”? This opens the door for marketers to refocus their SEO efforts on a new range of long-tail keywords. Jason DeMers from Forbes.com suggests that voice searches are going to be more locally focused, meaning businesses have new opportunities to capture people in their area.

Secondly, when people utilise voice search, Neil Patel argues that individuals are far more likely to purchase. Being the top result in a voice search increases the chances customers will visit your website and choose you over competitors.

Finally, with rise of smart speakers like Apple’s HomePod, Amazon’s Echo and Dot, and the rise of voice assistants in computers, voice search technology is going to become more widely available and more commonplace. By focusing on long-tail keywords that target voice searches, marketers and businesses have a brand new opportunity to promote their brand and services. Voice search might just allow businesses to cut through the online noise and reach new customers.

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