How Will Siri, Cortana and other Digital Assistants Change SEO?
If you have been a loyal player of the Halo video game series, it may be more than a bit unsettling hearing Cortana jump from warning you about alien snipers, to helping you order Chinese takeout from your desktop.
Like Apple’s Siri and Google’s “Google Now” function, Cortana aims to streamline interactivity between device and user, especially in hands-free situations. She is just one in a long line of upcoming digital assistant features, including one from Facebook that is expected to deliver smarter, more accurate recommendations for things like restaurants.
The functionality of these programs has gone from sketchy at best to downright eerily accurate. In fact, one could experience that range of usability within a single session. Yet, the charm in their preloaded responses to inane questions indicates the emphasis development teams place usability and enjoyability alongside pure functional power. Eventually, the hope is that such programs can replace the in-between steps needed between the user and their desired action while giving devices a human-like element to interact with.
For businesses, these digital assistants’ search functions represent a whole new era of search engine rules, along with a host of optimization changes to go with it.
Chasing the Conversational Long Tail
While none of the digital assistants can match the lyrical prowess of Scarlett Johansson’s sultry Samantha (a la Spike Jones’ Her), their development teams seek out intuitive, human-like methods for interacting with them. For search, this means going from choppy phrases like “hotels Downtown Atlanta” to “what is the closest hotel to me in downtown Atlanta?”
I added the qualifier not as a coincidence, either. Users are likely to be looking for a more specific answer to a question since that is how most human conversations work. After all, we have no problem browsing through pages of hotel search results, but we would never expect a friend to read every last one of them aloud to us. Instead, we will want to know “What’s the best?” or “Which hotels near me have a bar downstairs?”
These changes create drastic complications for current SEO strategies. Keyword phrases are going to be much more conversational and drawn out in tone. Also, since every search user will likely be using a different phrasing, these long tail queries will become far more diverse.
Combining these three critical factors, SEO will likely shift from generalist keyword use to a more diversified approach using many conversational phrasings of the same idea while indicating much more differentiating specifics.
Deep Dives for Information
Another element of digital assistants is that they can consult a database or website and relay the information directly to the user. Google has a similar function with its current knowledge graph, but with a voice-based UI, the user has less incentive to look at the other queries. The end result is that users get the information they need quickly without having to actually visit a website.
For content creation, this effect means that simple, basic information will not cut it. Someone looking for the text of the Fifth Amendment will have it read aloud to them by Siri, negating the need for an entire blog post on the subject. However, a more complex answer like “how does pleading the Fifth work in civil trials?” would be more likely to produce web search results as opposed to a simple verbatim answer. Businesses can use this feature to their advantage by going deeper conceptually with their content and answering the not-so-common questions a search user may have.
Going Deeper and More Conversational with Content Creation
The two SEO requirements likely needed for better digital assistant compatability come down to more refined, diversified content strategies that display your brand’s deep expertise on subject matter. Commenting this thoroughly on your blog can be time consuming, but not doing so could diminish your web presence as more users take advantage of their digital assistant’s search features.
Stay relevant and improve the quality of your content overall by entrusting the help of professional content writers and content strategists like EverSpark Interactive. With our heads put together trying to figure out how to best woo Siri, Cortana and others at the same time, your brand could just become the belle of the smartphone ball. Take a look at our professional content writing services to learn more.