Today’s guest post comes from Nick Rojas about the changing search engine landscape brought about by location based searching.
Google recently returned to the smartphone market with their Pixel phone release and initial signs look promising.
The search giant’s new phone has made a big impact among critics and backs up the praise with strong sales numbers.
First week sales showed the Pixel capturing a .016 market share in half the time it took Google’s previous flagship phone, the Nexus. Verizon’s numbers show 7.5 percent of their recent activations as Pixel phones, or 600,000 Pixels sold.
The sales number shouldn’t surprise after reading the reviews on Google’s new killer feature, Google assistant.
Assistant is set to become the new standard in voice search. Google is even calling it, “the next evolution of Google search.”
With any new search craze SEO gets shaken up and voice is no different. With Google assistant driving voice search popularity we expect SEO metrics to jump widely.
Preparing for these changes means speculating on what they actually entail, so let’s take a look at how voice search is likely to affect SEO.
Typing ≠ Speaking
Search engine optimization traditionally relies on targeting keyword strings that search engines use to return user results.
The practice is unlikely to change for voice SEO, but its application will never look the same.
People do not speak the same way they type.
For instance, let’s pretend you own a coffee shop. Your keywords probably are something like, “coffee in ____,” “fresh coffee,” fresh coffee in ______.” Those work well for text searches.
However, during a voice search people aren’t saying, “Hey Google, fresh coffee in _____” They’re saying, “Find me a cup of coffee close by.”
SEO success moving forward is going to depend on targeting those voice keyword strings. “Find me a cup of coffee close by,” is the new “coffee in ______.”
Location, Location, Location
Google made it clear with their Possum update that local search is at the forefront of their evolving search strategy.
The update allows businesses outside of a nearby city to rank for that city’s keywords. So, Joe’s carpets in Arvada, Colorado can now rank for “carpets in Denver.”
This is very important to understanding how voice search will function moving forward.
GPS data ensures that every voice search is targeted based on user location. This means you’re now competing with businesses that start with a leg up based solely on their location.
Possum hints that it’s possible to rank in voice searches even if you’re losing the distance fight. We suggest focusing on long tail keywords that rank target specific voice searches.
You’re goal is to rank as the only nearby store that fits a specific niche search.
Paid Search Results Are Finally Dying
It’s looking likely that paid search results are a thing of the past, and we think it’s tremendous.
Everyone has seen the sponsored results at the top of your SERPs. Those websites pay Google to appear there.
With voice search, you’re only returning one search result. Google is striving to provide results in a conversational manner, meaning you get one answer unless you’re asking for more.
Paid voice search results would effectively turn voice search into a pay to play platform. Companies with money get their result returned every time.
Chances are good Google will block sponsored posts from voice search to avoid this problem
The future of search is trending towards voice assistants, and bringing SEO along for the ride. Realigning your SEO strategies is paramount to future success.