The name Google always resonates with cutting edge Internet technology (one that usually slaps Webmasters in the face, of course). The search engine mogul is considered to be the ultimate powerhouse where search engines and algorithms are concerned. In fact, I’d like to call Google the ‘Transformer’ since they’re accustomed to changing their methods to ‘suit’ users (…Yeah right!). What has been plaguing my every dream and rendering me sleepless at nights is knowing that Google’s latest iteration of its search engine algorithm, ‘Hummingbird’, is marauding behind the curtains of my windows. Hummingbird is seen as a colossal leap with regards to how users are able to search for content and information in cyberspace. In fact, with the implementation of this algorithm came massive streams of traffic ( The Internet is now a massive doorway leading straight into the pits of penalties, ones that Google loves to inflict). With Google’s latest update, they’ve managed to implement a radical new concept called conversational search.
The Face behind Conversational Search
Conversational search, as you might have already been informed, is the type of search that allows proper interaction between computers and humans. I’m pretty sure about the aforementioned statement so don’t sit there and pretend that humans don’t speak to computers! While we speak gibberish to computer, they actually have their own twisted way of converting our language into binary code. Cool, right? The principle behind conversational searches is quite apparent and painless if you’ve been following me closely. If you’ve fallen asleep (highly impossible might I add) back track and read again. Where was I? …Oh, as I was saying: Conversational Searches include inquiries or requests. A simple example to quote would be a user receiving weather updates for the next couple of days when putting forth a question such as “What would the weather be like tomorrow?” to the search engine.
Not only does Hummingbird offer far more accurate results to search queries, it also simplifies the amount of effort that users have to invest when undertaking a search and this is where Conversation Search comes into the picture. By clicking on the microphone icon located to the extreme right of Google’s search box, users can now voice out their queries in the form of questions and Google will gladly speak to you back with the answers. The user experience of conversational search closely resembles a user’s experience when using Siri on Apple devices or Google Voice on Android devices. With the future of search engine queries resembling human conversation in natural language, the onus is now on SEO experts to explore new means to deliver optimum traffic to websites.
Like a said, Conversational Searches exemplifies human and computer interactions. In the illustration above, you’d ask the questions (please do so nicely to the computer) and they’d gladly provide the answers. What about traditional Conversational Searches? Oooh, this is my favorite part. Traditional (and might I add boring) Conversational Searches focused on using specific keyword to provide feedback. Way too often the user was bombarded with a bunch of ‘no good’ responses simply because the keyword was mentioned within their article. However, with the implementation of Hummingbird (Thank goodness), searches are more refined, accurate and the user tell Google exactly what they want and get better results. I sound as if I’m getting a little bit too techie so I’ll just lay the cards on the table. Users are now able to use long tail keywords (usually a phrase or sentence) to get the responses they need and quicker.
Why Align SEO Techniques with Conversational Searches?
Any new update to a search engine’s algorithm requires SEO experts to go back to the drawing board and revisit their strategies because of the impact the update is going to have on how SEO works. This is usually the hard part (going back to basics) but many search engine pundits have survived and you can too. In the case of Hummingbird, it’s no different. Prior to Hummingbird’s launch, Google released two major updates to its search engine algorithm which called Penguin and Panda (Google definitely has a thing for cute animals. Don’t ask why). Both updates laid emphasis on keyword-based SEO techniques and were the predominant driving force behind the majority of search engine rankings.
However, with Hummingbird’s advent, there’s going to be a major challenge for SEO experts and companies to realign their approach so that it synchronizes with Google’s attempts at popularizing Conversational Search among the public. Another key point that will immensely aid Internet users in pledging their allegiance to Conversational Search is the increasing adoption of smartphones and tablet devices amongst consumers.
Modern day mobile devices already offer tremendous support for voice recognition and highly intelligent personal voice assistants and the use of such features is only going to increase in the future. Also, Internet traffic from mobile devices is going to skyrocket in the coming days and voice based searches is going to play a critical role in bringing about this growth. Hence, it is an absolute no-brainer for SEO companies to shift their attention towards Conversational Search and see how quickly they can acclimatize to the new technology and overcome the hurdles it poses. The reality is, mobile devices play a vital role in how people search today. However, when all is calculated, people actually do less Conversational Searches with their mobile devices, especially if they’re screens are not one of those big ole thing (I’m referring to those huge phone screens, guys). While this is the case, Conversational Searches is just too sweet to beat!
How to Increase Web Traffic with Conversational Searches
Companies dependent on SEO for survival should tread cautiously when it comes to implementing SEO campaigns for clients making use of Conversational Searches. Without the right strategy, things can go haywire and you may end up sporting a sorry face in front of your clients. Understanding how the technology works and achieving a thorough knowledge on it is the first step towards harnessing its complete potential. Otherwise, you might end up losing out on vital aspects that are relevant for helping your SEO campaign succeed.
There are several tips that can assist SEO experts and companies to boost the traffic of their client’s website by capturing Conversational Searches. Some of these important tips worthy of highlighting includes:
- Keywords are no longer the magic word. Since users are more likely to ask questions instead of typing out their queries, SEO campaigns should spend more time in predicting the kind of questions (or long tail keyword) a particular website can expect from its target audience. This will aid in designing the site’s overall content so that it receives higher traffic when users employ Conversational Searches.
- Enhancing the design of your website to ensure that it works seamlessly across mobile devices. This will encourage users to make more inquires which will directly lead to a substantial rise in the number of users visiting your site.
- Don’t focus on the rosy side alone (always remember that the “seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake”). It’s not necessary for customers and target audience to always ask positive questions. Some of them might be asked in the negative. This means that you have to ensure that your website’s content is prepared to tackle any kind of question from the user, irrespective of its nature.
- Design your website’s landing page in such a way that it is capable of answering most of the questions posed by a user. This will be effective in gaining incremental traffic. Also, make a sincere effort to flesh out your site’s FAQ content so that all the relevant and essential questions from users are answered in that section. Creating high quality content will also aid in Conversational Searches.
As far as Google is concerned, Conversational Search was the next logical thing waiting to happen to cyberspace. There’s absolutely no doubt that it’s going to revolutionize the way Internet searches are conducted. The trick to make a successful transition is to ensure that you keep your approach simple, user-friendly and natural. Never compromise on the ethics of your optimization practices just because you find things difficult. Start thinking out of the box and you’ll soon find that promoting traffic through Conversational Search is a whole lot easier when compared to conventional search.