The search engine isn’t going anywhere, at least not anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean that Google and the other gatekeepers to Internet knowledge aren’t about to see some serious competition in the form of personal assistant apps such as Siri. Such services will act as middlemen standing between the user and what is found, very much in the same way as search engines.
The only difference – the one anyone who cares about search engine optimization ought to be concerned with – is that the metric for judging what gets found will no longer be which strings of keywords users enter to find the information they’re looking for, but rather a combination of what users ask their personal assistant apps and the techniques of the technologies themselves. In the next several years, every online entity from a part-time blogger to an interactive agency will be acquainting themselves with this new method of finding information, and how to plan their marketing strategies accordingly.
Since Siri is the only personal assistant app currently on the market as well as existing in a far from perfect form, little can be projected regarding the future of online marketing once such technology really takes off. But considering what we do know, the following is sure to reflect the final reality:
SEO and PageRank will matter less: Search engine optimization and the valuing of PageRank revolves around the understanding that human hands are doing the keyword typing and human eyes are scrolling down a list of results. Remove the human and these aspects of online business will lose some of their importance. Personal assistant apps such as Siri will use multiple online sources to find the information the user is seeking, and will only factor website popularity a little bit when presenting options.
PPC will lose virtually all profitability: This is just about the case anyway with the exception of certain rare circumstances, but prepare for pay-per-click campaigns to hardly make you any money. The more that people opt to surf the web hands-free, the less likely they are to ever actually click on anything. Thus, anything that depends on such clicks ought to be avoided at all costs.
Ratings and reviews will gain traction: Instead of relying on search engines which may be “infected” with SEO, personal assistant apps such as Siri will incorporate available ratings and reviews when users ask for certain businesses to be found. Instead of serving as merely an aspect of search-related marketing, ratings and reviews are set to become critical articles of whatever future e-marketing science that comes to replace SEO as we know it today.
However, there’s an argument to be made that SEO itself won’t change as drastically as some predict due to the advent of personal assistant apps. This is based on the fact that Google may very well simply insert their search engine into whatever personal assistant app they develop for Android. Since Android is the operating system far more than half of the world’s smartphones possess, it could very well be the case that the transition between SEO and personal assistant app search optimization is a mostly seamless one.
Either way, the bottom line for online marketers is this: the search engine currently represents the totality of all that stands between web-connected computer users and the information they want. In turn, SEO is pretty much the entirety of all e-marketing that focuses on ensuring that you are found online. When the search engine ceases to be the only tool for finding what we need, expect to re-write your playbook.
This is a guest post by Kevin Kaiser
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