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The world of search engine optimisation is constantly evolving, and new innovations are transforming the way SEOs, web designers and marketers have to approach their SEO strategies. We have already seen how the shift towards mobile transformed the way we conduct searches and how it put local search results to the forefront. But now, vocal searches and AI assistants like Alexa and Siri are further putting their stamp on the SEO landscape and have us all rushing back to our drawing boards. But how exactly are Siri and Alexa transforming SEO and what can be done about it?
More Public Access to AI Assistants
More people than ever have access to smartphones these days and most smartphones have voice search capabilities. According to data from Deloitte, over 81% of the UK population owns a smartphone today. Among 16 to 24-year-olds, 96% reported owning a smartphone according to Statista.
This means access to AI assistants is more widespread than ever and the total volume of voice searches is set to increase exponentially within the next few years. As a matter of fact, it has been estimated that a whopping 50% of all searches will be conducted through voice by the year 2020 according to a recent study by comScore.
While Amazon’s Alexa will only provide answers that have been verified, Google voice search technology (Android devices and Google Home) will come back with answers from their top search engine results. This means ranking high for certain queries will become more important than ever.
The Language of Search is Changing
While search engines have always been used to answer questions, traditional queries are often made in a non-question form. For instance, someone looking for a Thai restaurant in Newcastle could search for something like “Thai restaurant Newcastle” and wait for results. However, with voice search, people are much more likely to ask for something like “Siri, where can I find a good Thai restaurant in Newcastle?” This small shift means that websites now have to be optimized for clear conversational queries and not just take random keywords phrases into consideration.
Navigation and Location Searches
Voice search is closely intertwined with mobile search, and many vocal searches are navigational in nature. Because of Google Map integration, businesses with a strong presence on local searches will be privileged and benefit the most from the shift towards vocal search.
A dentist with a strong local presence will now have more chances of being mentioned whenever someone conducts a “dentist near me” search, for instance. This also means that websites will need to be optimised with location and navigational search in mind and contain location references if they want to increase their chances of being mentioned in vocal search results.
Voice search and AI assistants like Siri and Alexa are transforming the way we conduct searches and how we will have to approach SEO from now on. We can expect a shift towards a human first approach to keyword research and conversational queries becoming an unavoidable part of any sound SEO strategy.
Written by Sam Jones