How Visual and Voice Search Are Revitalizing The Role of SEO
Contributor Jim Yu outlines how savvy marketers are using voice and visual search to engage more meaningfully with audiences at each stage of their purchase journey.
The component parts of a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy may have remained relatively constant, but their definition and purpose have changed entirely. Driven by trends like visual search and voice search, the industry’s scope has expanded and evolved into something more dynamic.
This delivers on a genuine consumer need. According to a report from Slyce.it, 74 percent of shoppers report that text-only search is insufficient for finding the products they want.
It is unsurprising that Gartner research predicts that by 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by as much as 30 percent. Through visual and voice search, marketers can engage more meaningfully with their audience at each stage of their purchase journey. This means moving beyond the static websites of old toward more interactive experiences that can be accessed anywhere, any time, on any device.
Search visibility still matters, but the concept of “rankings” is hard to pin down when we factor in the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the machine learning algorithms that fine-tune the search results.
Brands’ content must be relevant to a query, but those queries are getting more specific and contextual; relevance must be combined with usefulness at the moment.
Underpinning these shifts are two trends that are revitalizing the search industry: visual search and voice search. Though these are linked and can be grouped under the umbrella of “sensory search,” they are separate disciplines with different implications for search marketers.
For those that engage early by implementing technical best practices and adapting SEO strategies, they represent some of the foremost opportunities in digital marketing for the coming years.
For many years, Google has provided the ability to upload an image or image URL to generate a search engine result page (SERP) in the search toolbar within Google Images.
The next generation of visual search turns a smartphone camera into a visual discovery tool. It can use an image as a search query, which allows consumers to search for styles and objects that they would otherwise struggle to define. The most popular visual search technologies are Google Lens and Pinterest Lens, but Amazon, Bing and a growing list of major retailers are all investing heavily in this area. Visual search is also a building block for augmented reality and virtual reality interactions.
There is a growing swell of evidence to substantiate the claims this technology is taking off with consumers, too: