8 | Future of Search with Kevin Gibbons

Alina Ghost

How do people search now, compared to what we may see in the future?

From Apps to augmented reality, Kevin Gibbons and I discuss the future of SEO.

About Kevin Gibbons

  • Co-founder of BlueGlass SEO & content agency with a range of clients, from start-ups to Expedia and River Island
  • Doing SEO since 2003
  • I invited him to come on the show as he caught my attention with his theory on how websites are plausibly not going to be a part of life in 10-15 times. Here’s his presentation.

What is the Future of Search?

With the growth of searchers’ shorter attention spans, Kevin makes a bold prediction that perhaps websites will no longer be needed in 10-15 years’ time. With the growing popularity of the below, the results do not require a click so it seems that things are moving towards websites being made redundant.

  • Single Answers. Google has been testing the search results by offering 1 answer without any other links to websites. An example of this was if you searched for a calculation or localised time, it would only give you 1 result, rather than 10 (or more with PPC.) Kevin writes about this in more depth here and we chat through it in more depth on the podcast. Kevin questions whether the searcher needs to see more than one answer but how far would Google go with this? Google is becoming a publisher if they do more of this and roll it out.
  • Voice Search. This leads on from single answers (above) because it’s offering one answer rather than 10 different ones for the 1 question. Identifying voice queries is hard but 1 in 4 searches are now done by voice. I recommend looking at keywords that are made up for 5 words or more (long tail keywords) and if they have filler words such as ‘the’, ‘a’ or ‘near me’ etc.
  • Feature Snippets. It’s a starting point for optimising for voice queries. Keep in mind that it’s easier to replace a featured snippet rather than trigger a new one. Think about writing around popular questions too, Answer the Public is a great tool for generating a list of questions for the topic of your choice. Prioritise the list by search volume and also where the featured snippets are.
  • Virtual Reality. Kevin saw Robert Scoble’s presentation on VR and did a write up which you can read here. He was able to ask the presenter why would he care about virtual reality, as an search engine marketer.  The reply was explained by taking the example of going abroad and not knowing where to go. When you use a VR set to look at the things that are available, such as night clubs etc, then based on the reaction of your eyes and facial expression it would give you options and help you choose your next step. As a marketer of a similar service it means that it’s your job then to make the customers’ eyes light up and basically market the client’s product. Thus, it’s relevant to search because it’s a way of being the number one choice but using a different medium.
  • Artificial Intelligence. Automatic re-purchases of product, improvements in customer service such as chat bots and optimising for supportive AIs in our day to day life. Kevin suggests that Google would like a home assistant to help answer your questions and aid you in daily tasks to make it more convenient and efficient.

It’s important to keep in mind where Google are trying to go. In no way are we saying that you should stop optimising for websites but it’s about understanding how not to be left behind. Google test organic listings constantly and have many algorithm updates so it’s very important to keep in mind the bigger picture and do your own testing.

It’s no longer about Google and desktop search any more. The future of SEO is about every way you can possibly market your product using search no matter where that search is made.

Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes

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