“Hey Siri, how late is Walmart open?” or “Alexa, where is the closest grocery store?” These kinds of phrases are quickly taking over search engine optimization and changing the content game for everyone active on the internet. It’s especially tricky for business owners who are already overwhelmed by the idea of SEO or marketing in general. Even professional SEO’s are playing trial and error to better understand AI (artificial intelligence) and how that effects speech to text in various search engines. The one thing we CAN guarantee is that there will be more smartphones and smart speakers emerging, if not even more advanced gadgets in the near future. So, a few things can be adapted now, before technology sees a major shift with these items.
First of all, not everyone has a smart speaker (yet) but just about everyone has a smartphone. According to 2017 data from the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans now own smartphones. Among 18–29-year-olds, that same figure is 92%. Most of these devices have a speech to text feature or an assistant, like Siri or Alexa. Now many searches are no longer being typed into a search bar. More so, people speak directly into their phone using a phrase like the ones at the beginning of this article. This poses the question of AI, its accuracy, and how are results determined. Only some of that can be answered at this time, but it seems as though SEO tailored for voice-assisted search is the way to go.
The biggest change that can be seen with voice-assisted technology and SEO is to write content the same way people talk about it. Keywords are still very relevant, however, certain web pages need a mixture of straightforward and professionally written content. All of these AI technologies combine things like location and navigation as well as search terms. It makes it that much more important to ensure your marketing efforts are complete across all platforms. For example, integrating Google My Business with your website and social media to ensure local searches find you.
Google and Amazon both choose results from a complicated algorithm determined by many factors (that’s a whole other blog) and thus far, it seems as though AI is doing well at continually choosing Googles #1 ranked website. Amazon can be a tad more complicated, as they focus a lot on unique users and page views. This is where it gets a bit fuzzy though, it’s not entirely clear how Amazon’s Alexa is picking web searches. Unique visitors and page views work well if you are searching Amazon for products, but if you are doing a general web search this measurement may not be accurate as far as the very best search results.
Going forward AI is changing how SEO is utilized and it’s important for a business to get on board now before the major shift takes place because after that it is all catching up. Focus on being number one on searches by ramping up content, create an FAQ page, and mix up your writing styles. All of this will at least prepare your business for the upcoming shift in technology.