Digital Assistants; Why SEO is Changing… Again

February 10, 2016 | 0 comments


With the five major Internet giants investing outrageous sums to establish their proprietary DA’s, it’s beginning to become obvious that consumers are being nudged not so gently toward greater usage of them. This development is likely to trigger a whole new emphasis on providing relevant business information to the ever-present DA’s with your SEO setup, instead of merely strategizing to attract more visitors to your website by user interaction itself.

What are Digital Assistants?

Digital assistants are programs loaded on mobile devices, computers, and even cars which provide requested information to their users in a very convenient, conversational manner. Some of the most recognized of these are Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Now, and they literally take the place of a human personal assistant who would remind you of important dates, search for useful data, and take notes as needed.

The basic principle calls for an interaction between human user and machine without having to type in any kind of commands, but merely providing instructions in simple, non-keyword English. In effect, this technology leapfrogs over the command line interface of the past, and the graphical user interfaces still largely used today.

The goal of all this is presumably to help an individual become more organized, and accomplish more every day because many of the nagging little tasks are managed by the DA. While each of these DA’s has its own specialty, for example Google Now is great for conducting searches, most of them can handle basic communication tasks and various forms of information gathering.

The new optimization

Some of the traditional methods of optimizing your website have made use of SEO principles, pay-per-click (PPC), data and image compression, etc. All attempts to optimize your business website are worthwhile, because optimized sites are the ones most appreciated and most visited by surfers. Since the point is to attract visitors to your site by being found appropriately in, it makes great sense to implement whatever enhancements can be made to improve visual appeal, navigational efficiency, technical performance, and relevance of content.

While all these techniques add value to your site, there is a new optimization method that needs to be given some attention in light of the emergence of the powerful new digital assistants. Driving this need for reconsidered optimization is the dramatically increased capabilities of some DA’s.

Cutting edge interaction

Perhaps the most advanced voice-recognition digital assistant in the world is a prototype program, currently referred to as ‘Hound’ by its creator, Keyvan Mohajer, who is the CEO of SoundHound. Hound has been in development for the better part of the last decade, and its present level of capability far outstrips what you might expect from Siri or Cortana.

For instance, when asked to calculate the monthly mortgage of a $1 million home, Hound immediately counters with questions of its own – what is the term of the mortgage, and the applicable interest rate? When provided with these essentials, it responds with the correct answer. It can handle questions even more complex, and it’s safe to say that while Hound is still in a beta mode, it is by far the fastest and most versatile digital assistant currently in existence.

Of course, this will not be true for very long, since there are few secrets in the world of technology, so other DA’s will catch up and perhaps surpass the impressive achievements of Hound – and that is what will drive the new optimization.

How businesses can prepare

Given the fact that digital assistants will be enjoying a jaw-dropping upgrade in capability over the coming months, and that more and more users will be increasing their usage of them, businesses need to prepare for and capitalize on this trend. By planning now for dramatically increased popularity and usage of DA’s, businesses will position themselves to become beneficiaries of the giant leap forward in technology.

Optimizing for this looming scenario will involve strategizing to make your business information readily available to these DA’s, so that they can do the work for you of directing users to your website, and making your brand name more recognized. You may not immediately notice a difference if you ignore this DA revolution and continue your marketing strategies of the past to attract Internet traffic, but it will eventually catch up to you.

These advances in technology not only reinforce the great need to be search engine optimized, but also the importance of continuous upkeep with your business’ SEO strategies. Long-tail keywords or phrases will become more prevalent while searching itself will become more conversational. Utilizing images and videos in your content will also help your cause, for now. While these DA’s will bypass you to find you answers within content, they cannot yet widely bypass you to retrieve photos and video for you.

At some point in the near future, a great deal of the searches being conducted on the Internet, as well as a huge percentage of information being presented to users, will come from the vastly more intelligent digital assistants which are looming on the horizon. It is to be expected that soon after that, they will rival or exceed current search engines in popularity – and that’s something you’ll want your business to be ready for.

Justin Arcara
Justin Arcara
Justin is an entrepreneur, web developer, and the founder of Arca Interactive that specializes in website design. Arca Interactive builds high-performing, custom websites for local and national brands.



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