Voice, Local, Mobile, Personal: Search Breakthroughs for your Business Now

Man lying in bed full of digital devices with hands on his face

In the fast-changing world of artificial intelligence and natural language applications, voice search queries are becoming increasingly common. Voice search is emerging in combination with the dominance of mobile as the most common source device for digital search. Mobile search is by definition also local search (depending on the specific query, of course). These technologies are dovetailing to create an intensely personal, local search experience.

This creates some complex but exciting new opportunities for marketers to get out ahead of their competition and build deep, compelling online connections with customers.

Personal Search Results

Personalization began to emerge in search results years ago and has been growing in sophistication, accuracy, and relevance ever since. It takes into account known data about individual user behaviour that may include location, demographic data, economic status, marital status, and social connections. Search results pages try to emphasize results that align with personal interests to provide the most useful information at the top of the page.

A proactive form of this is known as dynamic remarketing. This is the mechanism in browsers that follows people around the web, looking for chances to re-display ads for things they shopped for last week but didn`t buy at the time.

Personalization also takes into account reviews users may have posted, even gathering data from reviews and likes posted by a user`s friends. This information tracks back because of social media and other online connections between the user and their friends.

Personalization has a double-edged function in that it relates to business reputation and SERP rankings in an equally granular way. It lets business managers understand in detail who is using and reviewing a given product or service, and lets the business know whether they are reaching their intended audience effectively.

This makes it critical to be explicit and clear about who the business caters to and what they can expect in the online content and product mix. It brings to light the old adage to “under-promise and over-deliver” in terms of satisfying customers who come from search results to your site.

Mobile SEO Marketing

Mobile online time as a fraction of total online time continues to increase. It exceeded 50% in 2014 and now ranges from about 60% and higher in developed countries to over 90% in some developing countries. Mobile usage is heavily skewed to time spent in apps as opposed to the kind of general web browsing, research, and media streaming that is typical of desktop users.

Despite the dominance of apps in mobile time online, web page performance is still key in ranking for SEO. To meet these conflicting requirements, multi-platform flexibility is the web design principle to follow.

Responsive web design that renders pages quickly and attractively on handheld devices is the de facto minimum standard for ranking well on mobile search. And for multimedia-rich sites or other heavy digital-footprint sites, adaptive web design that moderates content delivery based on the specific platform might be the best way to keep mobile users, desktop or laptop users, and search engines happy.

The opportunity for business is to access available data to understand and engage based on the who, what, where and when of search initiation.

Local Search and Directories

Local search results drive conversions in significant ways, especially in certain product categories. Food and beverage businesses, for example, are reporting almost 75% of searches are now initiated by a mobile device. This indicates that a consumer is looking for a place nearby, right now. That’s powerful conversion factor emphasizes the way local search results can drive higher rankings and higher ROI from SEO results.

A critical factor in strong local rankings is making sure all your business information is listed and up-to-date in all relevant directories and review listings such as Google My Business, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Kayak and other sector-specific listings.

Voice Search and Personal Assistants

Voice search is rapidly growing as a share of total search traffic. This growth in part is tied to the rise of mobile device usage and the need for hands-free device control. Voice recognition accuracy now exceeds 90% on its way to a practical target of 99% as the expected standard for Siri, the Google App, and other PAs.

Natural speech affects search language patterns. On-site SEO content should be reviewed to see where natural language search patterns can be applied to content on the site. For example, the questions and answers on a FAQs page can be modified to reflect the exact language used to express common questions as they are spoken to the PA. This enhances page relevance in the PA`s results.

A Tangled Web

As the inner workings of search engines and Personal Assistants get more complex, the greater the value of SEO experience and proactive management becomes. To give your business a huge competitive edge, contact us and discuss the opportunities to be found in untangling all these important strands.

About the Author

Paul Teitelman - SEO Consultant

Paul is a well-respected Canadian SEO consultant and link-building expert with over 15 years of experience helping hundreds of companies rank for competitive keywords on Google. He is a Toronto-based SEO consultant who is passionate about search engine optimization and link building. Over the years, he has made a reputation for himself as a leader in the industry by consistently delivering phenomenal results to his growing client base.