What Google's New Pixel Phone Will do for Mobile SEO
:: By Nick Rojas, @NickARojas ::
While Google's new Pixel smartphone has the best-ever smartphone camera, a battery capable of lasting all day, and unlimited storage for videos and pictures, the mobile device also has under-the-hood capability that promises to revolutionize search engine optimization (SEO).
The reason for this is that the smartphone, which includes the ubiquitous Android mobile operating system developed by Google, is equipped to facilitate the next frontier of online search -- voice. And a big part of the voice search capability comes via Pixel’s baked-in Google Assistant feature.
The Google Assistant uses machine learning to communicate with the phone user in a manner that is conversational. The idea behind this feature is that Google, which understands that many people are used to communicating by typing queries into search engines each day, wants this interaction resemble person-to-person interaction rather than person-to-machine interaction. With Google Assistant, users can get responses that are more substantive and meaningful.
According to one source, voice search is already very popular with 55 percent of teens as well as 41 percent of adults using it every day. Moreover, the number of users is climbing steadily. Voice chat, furthermore, is becoming more reliable in terms of accuracy. Case in point: the word error rate 24 month ago was 20 percent while that number is now down to about 8 percent, which suggests that much progress has been made in a mere two years.
One of the benefits for local businesses using Google Assistant is that voice search now has the ability to figure out and respond to, among other things, context based on where the user is located. So, if a user enters a query like "How far is the airport from the amusement park?" Google's technology will be able to figure out that by "amusement park" the user means the one located in close proximity to where he or she is based at the time of the query.
Businesses that implement voice search capability into their SEO strategy will be able to benefit from the next big thing in search. In this light, content will definitely be king. As one source notes, users who conduct searches by typing in their queries sometimes spend a bit of time revising their results whereas users who conduct voice searches will probably expect instant results. So, businesses looking to make an impact as far as voice search and SEO will need to generate quality content presented via a conversational tone.
Speaking Of Keyword Changes
Google realizes that most people speak in a way that's not all that much like the way they type. But as voice search, or conversational search, becomes more popular, Google recognizes the importance of ensuring that search engines become more capable of figuring out natural phrases that people use. While someone typing in a search request might enter something like “weather California,” someone entering a search via voice might say something like “What’s the weather like in California?” Businesses that are able to pick keywords that are true to the way people really talk will be more successful as far as their Internet marketing strategies are concerned.
According to the SEJ article, the future of SEO is voice search optimization, which means that businesses must ensure that their websites have voice search capabilities baked in. Content, again, is king, and businesses must focus on producing a lot of quality content that is written in a conversational style.
Specific voice search optimization strategies should include the following, adds the article in question:
1. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
When it comes to the future of SEO, long-tail keywords will be more important than short-tail keywords. The former refers to keywords that contain three to five words and that focus on a specific demographic rather than various demographics. The latter refers to search terms of two words. The reason that long-tail keywords are better suited for voice searches is that they are more suited to mirroring how people talk conversationally.
2. Schema Markup
Businesses ought to become familiar with schema markup, which is an HTML add-on feature that enables search engines to grasp content context -- something that is important when pursuing voice search strategies.
3. Perform Microdata Optimization
Businesses need to ensure that directions to physical locations as well as XML sitemaps are accessible to people who visit their websites as well as to search engines. This is important because such details are in high demand from people conducting voice searches.
4. Remember FAQs
Most people who conduct voice searches start their queries with the five Ws and the one H -- who, why, where, when, what, and how -- and they typically want answers right away. Businesses therefore need to ensure that they not only have a FAQs page, but also that all questions begin with a what, why, where, when, who, or how. Then businesses need to answer these questions in a conversational way that will be accessible to people conducting voice searches..
Google’s new Pixel phone has generated a lot of buzz, and there are definitely many good reasons for the widespread consumer interest. However, forward-thinking businesses should also take note since the phone stands to change the way mobile SEO is done going forward.
About the Author
Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over 20 years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur and other leading industry publications. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.