Searching for the future


“Where can I find a good pizza in London?” the casual smartphone user asks as he strolls down a brightly-lit Oxford Circus. The search query pulls up a list of results, which relays relevant information back to the user: distance from current location, restaurant rating, address and a brief description.

While many are unaware, the human language is drastically redefining the future of SEO. The form and structure of text search is laconic and succinct, which makes it markedly different from the way we speak in normal conversation. Think about how you search when you type with a smartphone; the same search query would probably read: “London Pizza.”

The idea is logical. As voice search develops into a sophisticated and popular option, SEO will need to adapt by placing an increased emphasis on phrases and questions (rather than keywords), which means optimising for queries like “Where can I find…?” or “What is the…?”

This follows naturally when you consider that the way we speak takes a longer, more fluid form, often in the guise of questions rather than keywords. For SEO practitioners, this means semantic keyword targeting will lead to more variations of core search terms.

Optimising content for context

Voice search provides an array of context and insight that marketers must learn to interpret. This includes crucial information like location, time of day, to what the consumer wants. The exciting element lies in deriving meaning from this data. This helps to identify routines and habits, which returns to the seminal backbone of successful marketing: understanding your consumer. In effect, SEO proves essential to the entire process of creating a bespoke, targeted marketing strategy for your consumers.

It’s unequivocally clear that content is being optimised for mobile; as of 19 October, Google scaled back its desktop voice offering, a rather blatant indication of where it sees the industry heading. When we look at mobile, we look for behavioural trends and patterns to predict what your audience wants. Optimising content for context is crucial in positioning yourself favourably at different stages of the consumer path to purchase.

The landscape of SEO

As we delve ever deeper into the digital age, understanding the relationship of SEO with other search channels (such as social media) will be essential to maximising visibility with your customer. Dynamic, personalised content will make the user experience more enjoyable and useful, especially as we enter the era of the ‘connected consumer.’ It just goes to show that it’s now more important than ever before to invest in a fully integrated digital marketing strategy.

About Author

Mike Hazlehurst

Mike Hazlehurst, head of inbound marketing at Ph.Creative

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