What if you could have your own talking AI without needing to be a billionaire? How much easier would life be for us? And, how much harder would it be for marketers to reach you beyond your AI assistant?
These days, it looks as if AI technology is developing at a rapid pace. What’s more, it also seems that that development is getting an even stronger focus, particularly at Google.
What’s happening at Google?
Changes are happening to voice search on your Android mobile devices. What was once merely a voice-activated search engine is now evolving into AI as Google swaps out its old voice search on Android devices for Google Assistant.
This change hasn’t been rolled out on all devices yet. However, Google did announce a while back that Assistant now resides in at least one billion devices.
For those who’ve noticed the change in the home page of their android phones, the conventional blue and red mic has been swapped out. However, on Chrome for Android, the Google app, and on the Chrome browser for iOS, the mic still seems to be the predominant search tool.
How does this affect SEO and SEM?
One of the main differences between the old voice search and Google Assistant is the type of information provided. Unlike voice search, which usually only provides a list of links and search results, Google Assistant “answers” your queries directly, without needing to provide you with a list of links.
What this means is that it’s a possibility that less traffic will be coming in through mobile searches. Earlier this year, Google also began testing placing ads within the Google Assistant platform, which could mean another channel through which marketers can now source their ads. (as well as yet another revenue channel for Google).
Does this mean that even organic search is going the way of paid advertising? It’s a possibility for mobile devices, as voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant continue to grow more advanced each day.
Adobe recently conducted a survey that concluded that 48% of consumers are currently using voice for “general web searches”. These, of course, don’t cover more in-depth content and research related to searches. But if AI is going to be at the forefront of development, then we can expect the number of voice searches to rise in due time, especially as Google Assistant’s set of skills are improving to the point that you can now book a ride and buy movie tickets through Assistant.
So what do we do now?
Should you start thinking about how to optimize your content for voice search? Should you start putting out audio content that users can easily consume and digest? Well, that’s one possible response to this change in organic and paid search.
Author, speaker, and known marketing expert, Seth Godin, once commented that podcasting is the new blogging. In fact, according to some of the statistics collated by podcastinsights.com, “51% (144 million) of the US population has listened to a podcast – up from 44% in 2018 (Infinite Dial 19)”. In other words, audio content is gaining ground in informational content.
Google’s John Mueller gave some tips on how to optimize for voice search, detailing what kinds of content fit and didn’t fit voice search optimization.
One thing he recommended was to start thinking in terms of audio and voice search itself. What does your content sound like when it’s read aloud? How is your content structured and organized? How are the words on the page structured?
In other words, try to start thinking in terms of voice snippets. Think in terms of Q&A’s, and give a direct answer to any questions that potential readers may ask, and make those Q&A snippets obvious in the way your content is structured.
Remember these two things:
1. Structure your content so that it’s easy for a voice search to answer queries using the information that you’ve given. Turn your titles or headers into frequently asked questions, and provide the answer in the first paragraph.
2. Make sure that your content sounds good and cohesive when reading aloud. Try to keep things sounding conversational as much as possible.
AI Assistants are on the rise, and it might be a good idea to start optimizing your content for their eventual takeover.