Search engines won’t be going away anytime soon, neither will mobile searches, but the amount of people seeing search results will start to decrease exponentially.
From a seemingly untouchable position, Google’s core source of revenue – paid advertising – is under attack on several fronts, ad blockers, social networking and the increasing adoption of voice search.
Voice search poses a real threat to Google because users will no longer rely on screens to access information, and will instead use voice search to have everything they need effortlessly relayed to them through smart home systems with voice assistants and mobile devices.
The search might still go through Google, but without screen interaction, it is difficult for Google to sell ads with the current business model.
The Amazon Dash Wand sells for $US20 (there’s no word about an Australian launch date or pricing yet), and comes with $US20 Amazon credit, making it essentially free — and radically undercutting the competition.
Voice Assistants as they stand now
Apple’s Siri – the biggest – 1 billion mobile devices (the worst voice recognition)
Amazon’s Alexa – leader in voice assistant devices – 3 years, millions sold
Microsoft’s Cortana – installed as standard on all Windows 10 PCs
These 3 virtual assistants use Microsoft Bing for search results and Yelp for local business information and reviews.
Google’s Assistant – the best voice recognition and search results
Voice won’t kill screens – just like mobile didn’t kill desktop, but Gartner has predicted that by 2020, 30 percent of web browsing will be without screens.
The growing market for voice-driven search devices has unique implications for the way search results are obtained and delivered. Standard SEO practices must evolve to:
• Use long-tail keywords catered to semantic searches (improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms via schema mark-up and structured data)
• Emphasise location (schema allows you to connect your business to your Apple Maps, Bing Places, Yelp & Google My Business accounts)
• Optimise “read it back” interactions – conversational questions and answers
• Prompt phone calls and other direct actions
These changes can help businesses compete in an environment where vocal interactions are replacing screen time and search engine results page placement which may no longer be a top driver of leads.
VoiceLabs – Voice Report 2017
Statistics provided courtesy of Higher Visibility.
Organic search, by nature, shifts significantly every few years. The dawn of voice search is simply the next wave in an ocean of change.
While this is a different way of thinking, it’s coming. We must adapt.