Is Voice Search Really The Next Big Thing?
The world of SEO is ever evolving and with the huge array of technologies including AI and Machine Learning that we’re already seeing being used on a regular basis, it’s difficult to determine what to prioritise first. Is voice search really the next big thing is search marketing or is there something sneaking up that should be focused on first? Here, we’re taking a look at the next big things in search marketing that we are working on here at Absolute Digital Media, to help revolutionise our client’s campaigns.
In the SEO world, everybody is talking about voice search as the ‘next big thing’. But is this really the case? We know that sales for the likes of Google Home and Amazon Echo are skyrocketing, with predictions in the US stating that purchases could reach a whopping $40 billion by 2022, which is huge for this technology! Voice search is something to be excited about and the way that we create content is likely to be significantly impacted by voice search. But when?
A study by SISTRIX called ‘Stepping out of the SEO Bubble’ showed that amongst a survey of more than 26,700 respondents, 74% do not use any form of voice assistant at all. So, is voice search really as big as we think it is?
As stated by Dawn Anderson at the European Search Conference this week, “Machines are still a bit stupid [when it comes to natural language processing and understanding all of the variables in pronouns]”. Essentially, voice search machines are still making mistakes and not providing the answers that people are looking to hear. While most people are using these devices for convenience, particularly if they are driving, most people who are using voice search are only using it to find out what the weather is going to be.
With this in mind, perhaps the focus on voice search in SEO is a little misplaced for the time being. As the technology continues to improve, more and more individuals are going to jump on the bandwagon and begin using voice search for the purpose of finding information or comparing products. For now, however, the technology is still struggling to understand search intent and it can become very confused with what we actually mean. Quite simply, all signals are pointing to the future. A study by Gartner in 2016 showed that by 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. Voice search is going to be a very important feature in the future, but for now, perhaps there are other areas that need to be prioritised.
Amazon Paid Search
Amazon has challenged retailers for a significant amount of time, providing users with the opportunity to compare the price of products and purchase seamlessly. Now, Amazon is looking to challenge Google with its paid advertising network. Amazon launched their ad network in 2012, and in 2017, it was reported that Amazon’s paid search revenue was $2.8 billion. Based on the auction-based model, sellers and vendors are able to set a daily budget for ads and pay for their ads per-click. More and more users are beginning to use Amazon as a form of search engine, and the platform even beat Google as a starting point for product search back in 2016. While the ad network is somewhat limited compared to AdWords, with Google Search Results beginning to change with Google taking over Position Zero for a large proportion of industries, Amazon could provide the perfect place for eCommerce advertisers to push their products in a more targeted and effective way. Could this be the future of paid search?
STAMPs (AMP Stories)
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) are imperative for your search campaign no matter the industry you reside in. We all know that speed is important not only in keeping your visitors on the page, but also to meet Google’s site speed requirements. In 2016, AMP listings were integrated into Google SERPs on mobile and can be easily found with a simple news query. Here, we’ve searched for ‘Trump’ and CNN’s listing features the lightning bolt indicator of an AMP listing.
So, we know what AMPs are, but what are STAMPs? STAMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Page Stories, and this is a feature that was introduced in February 2018. This new format is a heavily visual and interactive focus for its AMP format, designed entirely for mobile. The concept behind an AMP Story is that it should be entirely unique and specific to mobile users, instead of matching the non-mobile content on your site. Search Engine Land spoke to a Google Representative back in February who described AMP Story content in this way:
“AMP stories is all about encouraging new forms of expression and storytelling, so we expect most publishers to not be already publishing this kind of content out on the web currently. AMP stories are meant to facilitate this and make it easier.”
Since its introduction, however, progress on STAMPs has been slow. It appears that Google are looking to make the entire mobile web as fast as AMPs and jumping on the story bandwagon which has been so popular on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat could be the first step to offering a whole new experience for mobile users. This is set to be an interesting revolution, and when the Speed Update goes live in July, we could see further integration of STAMPs in the very near future.
There are a great number of changes and technologies that are set to revolutionise the way we search, and ultimately the way we perform SEO. To find out more about the latest updates or for more on the elements listed above, get in touch with a member of our expert team on 0800 088 6000.