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What happens to SEO in a voice activated world?

Quite understandably, many businesses place a significant emphasis on Search Engine Optimsation. Being discoverable and closely associated with key search terms is the bedrock of many livelihoods. So what happens when, as ‘Highlander’ put it, “There can be only  one”? When searching with Smart Speakers and Voice Assistants it’s generally first or nothing, with no place for runners up. A concept which has caused many a marketer to break out in a cold sweat…but should it?
Well yes, and no.
It is still early days with this technology and people aren’t abandoning the ‘traditional’ methods served by SEO. Equally, the signs are that the trend for Smart Speakers and integrated voice assistants to become ever more ubiquitous will continue, with Apple, Google and Microsoft, among others investing heavily in technology and devices to try to claw back Amazon’s impressive head start.
It’s easy to see the implications for e-commerce businesses. Amazon Echo’s ecosystem integrating with Prime has huge implications for transactional processes. Equally you can see the voice app partnerships developed between Amazon and Uber or Dominos, for example, is a recognition by these brands that they need a foothold in a zero UI environment.
As for more informational search queries, and having extensively played with the Google Home device (and using Google here because of  their dominance in ‘search’) we found that the device tends to deliver information in a very “factual” way. It will answer a simple, factually based question with the simplest, most factually based response, with less sophistication perhaps than via mobile or desktop search. But as we keep stressing, it’s early days, and Google don’t tend to stand still for long!
So what does this all mean?
Simply, in an environment without a screen, and with only 1 response, there is no substitute for brand recognition and recall. Finding ways that your consumer will directly ask for YOU means things aren’t left to chance when searching a generic term. That doesn’t HAVE to mean £millions spent in brand advertising if you’re not a multinational powerhouse. Those timeless marketing principles prevail: how well do you know your customer? What problem can you solve for them in a voice activated environment? How can you integrate this, directly or indirectly, with the product or service you offer? Many businesses are developing voice based apps (known as Skills or Actions, depending on the device) to reach and nurture their customers in this voice activated space.
Tell us about your business and objectives, and let’s see how one might work for you.

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