The Future of Local SEO with Digital Assistants and Conversational Search

By December 14, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments

Digital Assistants and Conversational search are paving the way for the future of technology.  Most of us are used to traditional search, where we grunt two words at a time in a choppy manner. However, conversational search gives us the expectation that digital assistants will carry a conversation with us, talking as we do.  With this change, however, there will be inevitable impacts on search queries.

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For example, when you utilize a digital assistant to ask a question, you are going to get an audible response.  A screen may or may not be used, as it will be optional to the user.  You can receive answers without having to look at a website.  Because of this, as an SEO, your opportunities of luring people back to your site are far fewer.  Once a question is asked, the answer is derived from a single source.  Any follow up questions will start over as a new search, and will be derived from whatever source the search engine deems appropriate.

When it comes to local search, however, digital assistants will not disrupt it much.  When people ask for a local restaurant they will likely end up going there, without any follow up questions needed.  If they do have follow up questions, it will likely be about that particular restaurant and the answers will be derived from the same source.  There is a catch, however, because in order to have the digital assistant pull information from your site, you must rank high enough.

Here are a few tips on how you can up the chances of digital sources selecting your site as a source for conversational queries:

  1. Optimize Location Data. Make sure your data is updated and consistent across the entire web.
  2. Speak the Language of Digital Assistants. Use schema.org vocabulary, or structured data markup in order for the digital assistants to be able to best understand and gather your website content.
  3. Google My Business. Make sure all relevant categories for your Google My Business profile are fully filled out.
  4. Cultivate Reviews. Just like users rely on reviews when making decisions, so do search engines. Make sure you are monitoring all reviews that come in for your site and addressing any negative ones or complaints immediately. Help increase your positive reviews by asking satisfied customers to provide them.
  5. Write in Conversational Tone. Write in a way that is geared first toward humans, not search engines. Make sure it sounds natural by reading it aloud first.