"Smart Speakers Drive Voice Search AdoptionSmart speakers are becoming more commonplace in households around the globe. Early products such as Alexa and Siri were merely novel and entertaining at first; it was fun to ask Alexa silly questions just to see how “she” would respond. But voice technologies have drastically improved, and new hardware like Google Home and Apple HomePod is now moving into the marketplace, with other tech giants rushing to release their own smart speaker technology and integrations to keep pace with consumer demand.
Advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning have made a huge impact on how we interact with our smart devices and search the internet. Google’s RankBrain is a prime example, designed to recognize words and phrases in order to learn and better predict outcomes. When RankBrain encounters a phrase it has never heard before, it actually makes its best “guess” as to the searcher’s meaning and intent, then delivers appropriate matching answers. This ability to “think” makes AI such as RankBrain more effective at handling unexpected search queries.
Trends show voice search users are increasingly searching for local results. Within the past year, 58% of consumers have found local businesses using voice search. And not only is the number of voice search users on the rise, but the volume of voice searches also continues to grow as 46% of those users will repeatedly use voice search to find a local business on a daily basis.
82% of customers research products and services online before making a purchase.
According to Google, searches for “near me” business have increased dramatically over the past few years. This increase in local voice search is great news for local business. Since 2015, mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches, one of the driving factors behind the growth of local search. This has forced retailers and marketers to fine-tune their efforts to capitalize on the rise of hyperlocal searches. Ads can now be targeted at local search users, even to a defined geographic area of only a one-block radius."
To say SEO has “changed a lot” would be the understatement of the decade. We’ll often see multiple updates per year from Google – including the mobile intrusive interstitials penalty roll out at the beginning of January, the unconfirmed “Fred” update in March, and the October launch of Chrome 62, which raised the importance of protecting content with SSL encryption (HTTPS). As a result, marketers are faced with the challenge of educating themselves about each update, adapting their SEO strategy accordingly, and solving for any reduction in organic traffic. Sounds like a lot of work? Well, truthfully, maintaining an effective SEO strategy does require a close eye and a commitment to quality. And because SEO has changed so much in the past several years, many marketers aren’t sure what’s outdated, what’s important, what will actually move the needle, and what’s simply wasted effort.
Now that you know what the common SEO myths are, what are you doing that isn’t moving the needle? Or worse, what are you doing that’s making your SEO efforts worse? Understanding these SEO truths will make you both more effective and more efficient with your organic search strategy. If you can take one thing away from this guide, it’s this: More than anything else, SEO is about the overall experience for a searcher, and that experience starts the moment they enter a search query. The better their experience with you – from your SERP listing, to the quality and relevancy of the content on your site, to the ease with which they can move through your site – the better your SEO will be, too.