How will SEO be changed by Wearables and Voice Search?


By Kurt Buttress - February 23, 2017

The popularity of wearable technology has skyrocketed and the increasing amount of affordable hi-tech gadgets affect the way we act online and conduct our searches. You'll have to refine your Search Engine Optimisation techniques if you intend to track and sell to these users.

Giant Strides in Minimal Time

It's alarming to consider that in just a few years, technology has advanced so much that items we've previously only seen in science-fiction films are fast becoming commonplace. As an 'eighties-kid' it really is an exciting time to be alive. I've aged through giant rotary telephone dials being replaced by button dials and pads. I've witnessed the very first car-phones and later mobile phones, which quickly got scaled down and fitted with LCD screens. These devices advanced to a 'flip-phone' craze, and later a touch-screen revolution.

Fast-forward to today and the importance of the mobile phone doesn't stop at simply calling and verbally communicating – the software on these mobile devices have seen a major evolution as well. From short-form text and email capability to social media applications and voice search - the mobile 'smart' phone has become an essential, multipurpose hand-held device that no human being seems able to live without.

It's a no-brainer then, that marketing has developed alongside the mobile hardware and software progression, and found increasingly intuitive ways to penetrate the medium. And that's just the mobile phone.

Latest Technology

'Fitness Trackers' in the form of apps, wearable bands (the Fitbit craze) and even glasses (the Oakley Radar Pace for example) have become all the rage as users get to monitor, amongst other things, the number of calories they accumulate and burn through daily activities and diet.

The boom of virtual reality (VR) headsets and apps have and are planned, to set the gaming and home cinema world ablaze. All-in-one solutions like smart watches are pegged to be the ultimate in wearable technology that allows you to access practically any part of your virtual life by voice command. And in some scary turn of events, Humanyze offers a workplace-wearable 'Sociometric Badge' that allows employers to track work performance, communication patterns, productivity and even physiological arousal of their employees!

What all this new-age wearable tech means for marketers, though, is a new form of marketing, and an exciting frontier to explore for the next few years.

Current Search Trends vs. Future Search Trends

Increased use of tablets and compact search devices over the past two years, has proved that users are warming up to alternate means of searching online and actually prefer having devices on hand at all times. A good thing for search marketing.

It's no wonder that search has and is increasingly dominated by mobile platforms. This behaviour affords us a forecast into what wearable-tech searches might look like in the years to come given that it is even more immediate and convenient. Just look at the features of Google Glass and what it promises, and you'll begin to understand the scope and magnitude of wearable technology, and the impact it will have on search marketing. What will be the fundamental difference in how users search?

One thing emerging wearable technology lacks is a keyboard. Search, then, will not be as focused on keywords or key terms as it currently is, but will rather be conducted by voice. Voice search is already optional on smartphones, with as much as 7% of current searches being conducted by voice. These numbers are set to grow exponentially with the influx of wearable tech. Don’t believe me?

Users are beginning to accept the concept of using virtual aid from services such as Google Now, Siri or Microsoft's Cortana. GPS app search (like Google Maps or Waze) has boomed, and voice searches for locations have already become commonplace.

How to Compete in a World of Voice Search

So how can you stay ahead of the curve?

1. With no keyboard to type, voice search is set to become 'king'. You'll have to optimise your on-local SEO and paid search for long tail keywords that are more akin to the way people speak. Trend forecasts also predict that marketing will revert to calling once again, but not the legacy cold-calling format. Rather, it will revolve around the customer engaging in business by searching for the product/service through their wearable tech and reaching out. It'll be important for marketers to measure efficacy through tying the calls back to these searches and through ads. In-store visits and purchases of advertised goods/services will be the other new metrics to spotlight.

2. The rise of chatbots will be inevitable. Linked to voice-search and reply, chatbots will play a key role in voice search, and therefore, search marketing. A brief foray into this platform has proved problematic for many users. This will all change, however, as wearable tech will become more reliant on chatbots to aid users in their searches and ultimately lead to better AI being developed and implemented into these programs. You'll need to research strategies to including chatbots in your search marketing.

3. With limited space on which to see text, (like smart watches, for example) you’ll have to keep your messages and advertising short, succinct and to the point. Aim to keep your message and content at two to three lines long to better adapt to fitting limited screen sizes.

4. Your data mining and capturing skills will have to be sharp! You'll have better access to more personal information and buyer habits such as geolocation and how consumers interact with apps. The purchasing funnel might become condensed as time will play a factor in the 'decision to purchase' stage, which could mean that you’ll have to conduct your marketing at a more rapid-fire pace.

5. Consider a more visual-heavy approach to your marketing than text-heavy. Your content will also have to be more centred on audio and visual elements, making it easier to communicate your offers and content on these smaller screens fully.

With what seems to be quick-wins and low-hanging fruit, the success and extended use of these search options are yet to be fully explored. It remains a risk for now, and you'll have to carefully consider if this digital strategy is suitable for your brand. Be sure that your marketing landscape is fertile enough to launch these changes when the time comes – connect with us and learn about how to differentiate your tech business.


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