Search is an ingrained consumer behavior and a persistent source of anxiety for marketers. Most of us are unconscious Boolean searchers who demand the right information on the first SERPs page. But search is constantly evolving and adapting to changing technology and consumer behavior. So, marketers play a cat-and-mouse game trying to understand, align or game the latest version of Google’s algorithm.
Five factors are shaping the next iterations of search marketing.
As marketers adapt AI, they will have the computing power to analyze massive numbers of search results to find and predict the keywords that will rank highest. There is a reasonable chance that these predictions will be nuanced and could give us clues as to the best terms to use or buy for mobile, voice, video or desktop search. Naturally, Google will do everything in its power to obscure these results or counter the use of machine learning to game its here-to-fore secret system.
One in five adults uses mobile search each month according to the Global Web Index. More than half of all search clicks are done on mobile devices today. By 2021, Google is estimating this will yield 221 million mobile searches. These numbers will only increase. That’s why Google changed its algorithm to favor mobile search.
Mobile search is more likely to be in-the-moment information needs. According to Search Engine Watch, mobile search terms are 3X more likely to be locally based. Marketers need to account for geolocation and sharpen keyword use and purchases to anticipate and capitalize on consumers’ on-the-go information needs.
There are 1 billion voice searches each month, as of January 2018, according to Alpine AI. Searching using voice assistants is expected to grow between 30 percent (Gartner) and 50 percent (Comscore) by 2020. And while the science of voice recognition is evolving and accuracy is improving. Alexa, Siri, Cortina and their peeps will get better at listening and interpreting search commands.
Marketers must rethink the words, terms, phrases, accents and slang that people speak versus what they type. Spoken searches will probably produce more long tail results. There will be a learning curve as consumers figure out how to orally task search engines.
Half of all product and ecommerce searches start at Amazon and the pattern is growing. It’s likely that Amazon will replace YouTube as the second most popular search platform.
Amazon’s search algorithm is different than Google’s, so marketers will need to better understand it and adapt keyword strategies to align with different priorities. Competition for position will be intense and expensive given the traffic volumes and the number of entrenched partners and sellers.
It’s a video world and the explosion of moving images, not to mention the growth of Artificial Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), will put a premium on tagging video to enable search engines to find and rank content. Given the huge volume of video produced and trafficked each day, getting the keywords and descriptions right will be critical to achieving top search rankings.
Just when you thought you have search nailed, these five factors will send you back to the drawing board. Focus your competitive juices on psyching out search.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.