The search landscape is constantly evolving, but we predict 2018 will take a giant step forward for voice search. A 2017 Google study determined that 1 in 5 searches were done through voice, and with sales of Google Home devices topping out at 14 million during the holiday season, search marketers need to understand the changing needs of customers when seeking information through a search engine.
It’s no longer just about mastering the basics of search categorization. 2018 is the year of unlocking the true value of semantic search. Brands that take ownership of voice search as part of their strategy will reap benefits this year. Marketers must not only take ownership of SEO essentials — like Google My Business, FAQ pages and Schemas — they must also understand the significance of semantic search, including intent, context, personalization and location.
We must think of our users first to consider who we are targeting and what action we want them to take. To gain organic traffic in 2018, we need to provide great content to be found in the best search result. The focus is now on a user’s intent is to identify the gaps where existing content cannot answer to voice-based search intent. Though the intent is personal and within the user, Google continues to learn voice user intent to better deliver relevant and accurate results. Marketers can help algorithms by considering user intent while writing content and monitoring search terms.
Second, consider context. There are multiple ways Google assesses content quality for SEO. One way Google does this is by learning which search terms are related and building context around those terms. Make sure your content is comprehensive. Identify related search terms and build content that both utilizes those terms and connects well with your content.
Finally, Google is also continuously building personalized search engine results pages. It uses factors such as location, interests and search history to build more personalized user results. This means it’s increasingly important to understand your target audience. Consider where they might be located, what they’re interested in, how they might be searching and if they’ve searched for related content before.
To gain organic traffic and win at SEO, it’s no longer about sequencing the best keywords, it’s about understanding your target’s intent and addressing their needs through optimized content. With the rise of voice search and smart speakers, there has never been a greater opportunity for marketers to make an impact through search marketing.
Our US partner, Bader Rutter, is a Google Partner with specializations in Google Analytics and Mobile Search and has exclusive access to studies, content, webinars, training, industry data and more from Google.